Facebook yesterday turned on a bunch of new features on its news feed (here is TechCrunch’s writeup of the new features). It looks a lot more like FriendFeed, even though Facebook claims that the FriendFeed team didn’t work on these new features.
What does it do? Now Facebook mostly displays items that got engagement. You know, comments. Likes. Tagging. Etc.
This makes Facebook much more useful because you only see the items that your friends have found important enough to comment on or “touch” in some way. Overnight my news feed went from something that looked pretty cold and lame to something that has tons of “warmth.”
I am SO GLAD I deleted most of the people I had friended on Facebook and went down to a core group of people because I’m getting some pretty good items there now.
But I notice it now has the thing that most of my friend’s hated about FriendFeed: there are people on my feed I didn’t invite all of a sudden.
Here’s how that happens. Let’s say I’m a friend of Maryam Scoble, my wife. I see all her items. That is cool. But it also displays me any of HER FRIENDS who comment on her items. I might not care to read her friends’ opinions on politics or whatever. But I can’t easily get rid of them.
Twitter, on the other hand, doesn’t have comments. So you can’t easily have a back and forth conversation about something like you can over on FriendFeed or Facebook. But it has a HUGE advantage: I only see items from people I invited to get on my home screen.
That is a HUGE advantage for controlling noise and for keeping yourself productive. Especially after you get Twitter’s new lists feature, which lets you split your contacts up into separate pages (I have a page of just Venture Capitalists, for instance, which is a completely different feed from my page of tech journalists).
This is the biggest difference now between Twitter and Facebook and is one that keeps rubbing in that on Twitter you should follow lots of people and brands that you care about, while on Facebook you should follow only people you REALLY care about because they will drag into your view all THEIR friends and that will make your feed noisier and less valuable. Hope your friends choose their friends carefully.