What I appreciate most about the recent Facebook announcements is how each new feature fits together like a puzzle. In the past, it was not always clear that releases came together with a bigger picture in mind. But Smart Lists, Subscriptions, News Feed, Ticker, Timeline and Media Apps all fit together in a very clean, strategic way.
Facebook wants you to participate more with your friends in real time. To that end, they’ve partnered with several music, movie, TV and news services to integrate Media Apps. Users use these apps to express themselves in their Time Line.
Of course, this is lightweight information that Facebook does not want overrunning your News Feed. So they created the Ticker to surface these real-time activities and allow you and your friends to participate in them together.
Smart Lists are increasingly important in the new Facebook world. Now that some of your “lighter weight” activities that were previously buried are being surfaced in the Ticker, it’s important that you use Smart Lists to consciously share to the appropriate groups. Additionally, by labeling someone a “Close Friend,” you are impacting the priority of their updates in your News Feed and the stories they impact in your Timeline.
The addition of the Ticker and very social music and other Media Apps could cause information overload. It’s exactly why Subscriptions are now so important. You can easily adjust the amount and type of information you see from your friends in your News Feed and Ticker.
And, finally, the singular News Feed was created to give you the information you want, catered to your usage patterns. In order for Facebook to accurately determine what types of stories and from whom should go into your Top Stories area, you should use your Smart Lists and Subscriptions.
You see how it all fits together? Each new feature relies on and enhances the other. It’s like getting an incredibly complex puzzle. Looking at the pieces separately, their true value may not be obvious. But once they all come together, something amazing is created.
In the past, it often seemed like Facebook was creating the pieces without knowing how they would come together. This appears to be a much more focused Facebook.