Keeping in touch + Facebook "Lists"

Since I live in a different city from almost all of my close friends and all of my family, I’m always looking for ways to keep up with their lives while we’re apart – whether that means Facebook, Google+, video chats, phone calls, email, or the occasional snail mail. Within the last few of weeks, Facebook began promoting the ability to “star your close friends”. However, as I often find with Facebook, it wasn’t exactly clear what starring would do. Many of you have mastered Facebook lists but for those who have avoided them here’s what you need to know!

How I use it

Previously, Facebook had “Smart Lists” which it automatically created for you based on info in your friends’ profiles such as current city, school, or employer. For example, if you have “Louisiana State University (LSU)” as your alma mater, it will pull together an LSU list containing all of your friends that also have LSU listed.

Recently, Facebook introduced three new list options for organizing your friends:

  • Close Friends – “Your best friends who should show up more in News Feed”
  • Acquaintances – “Friends who should show up less in News Feed”
  • Restricted – “Friends who can only see posts and profile info you make public”

For Close Friends, Facebook conveniently suggests the people you interact with the most and you can then choose to star them. Starring them adds them to your “Close Friends” list and friends don’t know they’ve been starred (that could be potentially awkward). Adding them to this list gives you the ability to share your posts or pictures just with that particular list. Have a personal announcement or family pics that you don’t really want to share with all of your co-workers and just your besties? Share with your “Close Friends” list. You can choose to view just your “Close Friends” list in your Facebook stream. Don’t really care about the boring posts from the girl who was in your third grade class? Click “Close Friends” from your home page and cut straight to the news that really matters to you.

The one annoying thing about this feature is that it automatically sends you email notifications. This, in my opinion, is NOT cool. I think this should be clearly communicated before people star away! While I do want to know the latest info on my best friends, I don’t need my inbox and phone to pile up with notifications every time they share a link or update their status.

Why I love it

  • control what you view in your News Feed – posts from Close Friends show up more, Acquaintances less. Or just go straight to the posts and pics from your Close Friends and skip the rest of the noise.
  • post updates to specific lists

How to get started

  • How to set up your “Close Friends” list
    • When you’re in your News Feed (“Home” tab), find “Friends” in the left column (if you don’t see it, click “More”).
    • Select “Close Friends”
    • Select “Manage List” (top right) then “Edit List”
    • You can then search for friends to star!
  • How to turn off the annoying notifications
    • Similar to above, from “Home” tab, “Friends” > “Close Friends”
    • Select “Notifications” and choose
      • On Facebook and Email
      • On Facebook (these are the red flags on the small globe at the top left when you’re in Facebook
      • Off


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