Facebook Changes? No problem.

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on October 3, 2011

in social media, Uncategorized

First of all, I am not complaining about the recent changes to Facebook. I am too busy trying to figure out where my friends are and who really is seeing my posts. No, seriously, I am an adult, a relatively intelligent adult. This is supposed to be intuitive. I certainly can intuit. And so my inner voices encourage me to go on.

This is not the article I wanted to write this week, but I just spent an hour on my Facebook page, trying to find my “old” Friends Lists. What I finally discovered was that now I have “Smart Lists.” They are actually in the same place as my old lists, but I didn’t know where that was. Now I not only have the lists of friends that I created for myself (i.e. members of my community, professional colleagues, etc.), now I have the lists that Facebook has made for me: friends from the same schools I went to, friends who live in the same city I do, etc. They have also given me new list options: “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances.” I still have to do research on these.

What good are these Smart Lists of friends? As best as I can figure out, now I can click on a list and see only the posts of the people on that list. While looking at their posts, I can post something that will appear on their News Feeds only. Facebook used to have a feature of Direct Messages which allowed us to send bulk FB messages to all the people on a list (limit 20 at a time). That has been replaced by this new list function—keeping all group activity on Facebook pages, although we can still send FB messages to individuals.

One of the other new features on Facebook is the live activity feed that appears in the right hand sidebar.  This is a real-time feed of what my friends are doing on Facebook. So and so and so and so are now friends. So and so commented on whatever. So and so likes something. You get the picture. Below that is the list of my friends indicating who is online and available for a live chat. This makes my page very busy. What I discovered today (as I was doing unplanned research for this article) was that I can hide this sidebar simply by clicking on the hide icon on the bottom of the panel. Great! I really don’t need to know what so and so is doing on Facebook at this very instant. And when I do want to know, I can un-hide this sidebar.

If you are on Facebook, you know what I am talking about. If you are not on Facebook, do not let this keep you back. Jump in and if necessary pre-order Facebook for Dummies (Fourth Edition) which is scheduled to come out November 2011. I’ve ordered my copy. I read the second edition cover to cover. Remember: we are adults, intelligent adults. We can do this!

What is your experience with the latest changes on Facebook?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF October 3, 2011 at 10:04 am

Thanks Susan! I am reminded – that just when we get used to a type of FB arrangement (and many other online communication tools) – it changes! At times it is frustrating and at other times the tool is much better. What comes to mind is that in this ever evolving electronic environment – Change is just around the corner!

Frank Koob October 3, 2011 at 10:34 am

A week before the “changes,” I had wished that when I read my newsfeed I would not have to scroll through all of the “who became friends, etc.” nonsense. And lo, it happened! That is a blessing. A quick scan down the right side bar list takes care of it, and hovering my cursor over an item brings up more if I am interested.

CHRIS NUNEZ October 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

G’morning Sr. Susan. What I’ve realized is that the scrolling column on the right side (as you’re looking at the screen) has a little verticle gray bar and if you slide it up and down, if you stop on one conversation, it will link you up to a third person, not on your list of FB buddies, but the one on your page, and show you their conversation.

I’ve said many times, that the secret service would have loved to see all the persons we’re connected with, if this had existed in the first half of the 20th century. We actually don’t need an intelligence agency anymore — just subpoena to go into a person’s site. It’s a mixed blessing and requires vigilance on the part of the users.

Susan Timoney October 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

The changes have me thinking a lot about the interface of private and public lives. Many have asked me to “hover over their name” and “unsubscribe” so that their posts on other pages are hidden from the feed. It seems almost impossible to protect one’s privacy, for example, now when I am on the Washington Post site, I can see what all my Facebook Friends have read and shared with others. It seems we need to be ready to accept that our private lives are becoming more and more public.

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