A Guide to Facebook’s Recent Changes
If you’ve been on Facebook in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably noticed some dramatic changes in your newsfeed’s layout. What with the ticker, revamped friends lists, subscribe button, and more, Facebook has been rolling out new features at a dizzying pace– it can be hard to keep up. Here’s a guide to get you up to speed.
1. There’s no longer separate feeds for “Top News” and “Recent News.” Instead, all stories will show up in a unified newsfeed, but top updates will be designated by a blue upper-left corner. If you haven’t logged in to Facebook for a few days (gasp!), you’ll first be presented with a list of the top stories since you last logged in. Otherwise your newsfeed will display stories in chronological order. You can tell Facebook if you disagree with its ratings; just click in the top left corner to mark or unmark an item as a top story. Taking a cue from Twitter’s timeline, a refresh button at the top will update automatically to show you when you have new stories.
2. A new real-time “Ticker” will show you all of your friends’ activities, live. All “lightweight” activities (liking a status, joining a group, listening to a song, etc.) go to the Ticker. Click on a story in the Ticker to see a pop-up with more details and to interact with a post without leaving your current page. Also, when you are using an app or playing a game, a special app ticker will appear showing you updates relevant to the game or app you are using.
3. A number of new features have been added to Friends Lists. First, everyone has three default lists: Close Friends, Acquaintances, and Restricted. Add someone to “Close Friends” to ensure everything they post shows in your newsfeed. If you want to limit the updates you get from a person, add them to Acquaintances. Finally, friends in your “Restricted” list can only see posts you make public– the perfect spot for parents, old teachers and employers! Facebook has also added “Smart Lists,” which take information that you’ve added to your profile to create lists of friends who go to school or work with you, live near you, or are family. For example, if you list “New York, NY” as your current city on your profile, a list called “New York Area” will be created for you, which initially will include all friends who also list New York as their current city. You can manually add and remove friends in smart lists. You can also merge lists, so your old lists can transition to the new smart lists with ease.
4. You can now “subscribe” to a person or a fan page’s public updates, and people can subscribe to you, all without adding you as a friend– if you allow it. This sounds like a feature geared more towards public figures than the average Facebook user, but if you want to opt in, you can do so here. When you subscribe to someone, you can choose what kind of updates from them you want in your news feed. Since you are automatically subscribed to your friends, you can go to their profile, click the “Subscribed” button in the top right and filter the updates you see from them as well.
So, what do you think of these changes to Facebook? Love them? Hate them? Let us know in the comments!