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FreePint BlogFacebook launches interest lists

Thursday, 15th March 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By James Mullan


Abstract:

Do you like to organise your friends into lists on Facebook? Yes, then you'll definitely be interested in a new feature launched by Facebook last week. The feature, called "interest lists", allows users to turn Facebook into their own personalised newspaper, incorporating feeds of subjects and topics that matter to that user.


Item:

Do you like to organise your friends into lists on Facebook? Yes, then you'll definitely be interested in a new feature launched by Facebook last week. The feature, called "interest lists", allows users to turn Facebook into their own personalised newspaper, incorporating feeds of subjects and topics that matter to that user.

The functionality is due to be rolled out to all 850 million Facebook users in the next few weeks so if you navigate to Facebook right now, you might not see it, although you can start subscribing to interest lists. There are a number of general lists already available which Facebook users can subscribe to including 2012 U.S Presidential Candidates, NFL Teams and many more. Users can also create their own interest lists, choosing the privacy settings for the list and recommending it to other users. Creating lists in this manner is very similar to how Twitter users create topics in real time (using hashtags) which other Twitter users can follow.

There have also been some comments that Facebook interest lists provide functionality similar to that provided by Pinterest, the pinboard like social photo sharing service. Its theme-based collections would appear to have a lot in common with Facebook interest lists, so it will be interesting to see how much take up there is of Facebook interest lists, given that Pinterest appears to offer something very similar.

The idea of turning a stream of news into a personalised newspaper is also very similar to the idea behind Flipboard. Flipboard is an application that has changed the way people read content by collecting the content of social networks and other websites (usually via RSS) and presenting the results in a magazine style format. Flipboard was designed specifically for the iPad's touch screen and allows users to "flip" through their social networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with Flipboard.

Does this development and the introduction of the Facebook timeline mean that Facebook is hoping to emulate the success of, and become more like, Twitter and other personalised news feed services? It certainly looks like it. What is also does is provide users with another way to view and manage content that is being created on Facebook and this can only be a good thing.

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James Mullan has worked in the legal sector since 2001. He is an advocate of social media tools and has been talking about how these tools can be used by information professionals and organisations since 2005. James is a Past President of BIALL and in 2009 won the Wildy-BIALL Law Librarian of the year award for his use of social media tools. Outside of work James is a keen runner and maintains his own blog called "The Running Librarian". You can follow James on Twitter @jamesmullan6 or friend him on Facebook.

James can be reached at james.mullan@freepint.com

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