In the second post about the ideal social network, I will be blogging about lists.
Twitter and Facebook both have lists systems to manage users friends and followers. However, these lists are too hidden, and should be more at the core of the social network.
Twitter does a really good job with lists. Users can create a public or private list of certain people, and categorize the list of people they follow. For example, I have a list for the tech blogs I follow, the local people, and the news sites I follow. This allows me to quickly see updates about the topic I want. Not much to complain about here.
Facebook, however, does not do such a good job. The lists are hidden in the settings for most users. Not enough people on Facebook realize that lists actually exist, and don’t use them. The list system should be more visible, like on Twitter. Users should be able to open a person’s profile, and quickly add them to a list from there. Same with pages. Facebook makes it really complicated to add a Page to a list. Users must create a list, and then when choosing who to add to the list, they must click on “multiple people,” and scroll down to the bottom to see all their Pages.
Users on Facebook should also be able to share a list of Pages with their friends easily. For example, if a user curates a list for local pages within a community, there is no way of sharing it. Users can feature lists on their profile, but it will only show friends, not Pages.
Facebook should also make it easier to share certain stuff with certain groups of friends. Currently, this is all hidden under the big “custom” section, and is too complicated for some users to use. Instead of seeing a list of “everyone, friends of friends, friends, and custom,” it should show a users friend lists instead, allowing a user to check off which lists they want to share a piece of content with.
If I want to filter my news feed by a certain list, it requires up to four clicks on Facebook, where on Twitter, it’s just two. Facebook needs to make accessing the lists easier.
The Ideal Social Network’s Lists
It should be easy to add someone to a list from their profile or page.
For more personal social networks like Facebook, it should be easy to share content with certain lists of people.
Lists should be easily shared with one another, or made private, if a user chooses
A user should easily be able to filter their updates from friends through lists.
The Ideal Social Network is a series about what I think a social network should be like, and why Twitter and Facebook fail to meet these standards. This is the second blog post in the series. Stay tuned for more.
Where is it?: Recent Activity is the last box in the left-hand column on your timeline/profile. If you have no recent activity, you won’t see the box.
To hide activity: Click on the x next to a post in the box, and click on “Hide all [story type]…”
To unhide activity: First, click the pencil icon in the top right corner of the box, then click on hidden activity.
Then a box like the one below should appear, Click the “x” next to the things you want to restore to your Recent Activity.
That’s it! Update 7 (December 15, 2013): With the addition of Facebook’s “Following” button on people’s profiles, some of the information below has changed. The below is outdated, but kept for reference
Event Activity Not Showing Up Under Recent Activity on Timeline: Report It
Update 6 (January 4, 2012): Some users are reporting that some of their recent activity is no longer showing up, like comments on other friends’ posts or event activity on Facebook Timeline. It appears Facebook has now removed the option to display such stories at all on Timeline. Some users (and I’ve tested myself now) cannot unhide their Event activity if they had hidden it in the past. From now on, stories such as commenting and event activity will appear in the News Feed and Ticker based on your friends’ subscriptions to you.
For example, if you go to a friend’s Timeline, you will not be able to see whose posts they have commented on recently. If you want to find out, you would have to go to Subscribed (at the top) and check “Comments and Likes.” From then on, whenever that friend likes or comments on something, it will appear in the Ticker (above the chat bar on the right side). Facebook recently removed the option to choose whose comments/likes you would see in the News Ticker.
It does not look like Facebook will ever restore commenting/event activity to Timeline. There is a glitch with Event activity that has yet to be fixed… Report It
Edit: I have been doing some testing and look at this:
And after switching to the new profile….
Alright, so event activity should appear on the timeline. We clearly have a problem now….
Update 5 (November 6, 2011): If you are using Facebook timeline, you can edit which types of updates you’ve hidden by clicking on the pencil icon to the right of the Recent Activity box as shown below
If you are looking to hide activity, simply click the “x” that appears when you hover over a recent activity story and click “Hide Similar Activity from Timeline.”
Update 4: Facebook has brought back the Edit Options link at the bottom of my wall. If you have accidentally hid any type of activity on your wall, you can now un-hide it by going to the bottom of your wall, clicking on Edit Options, and clicking the “x” next to the type of story you want to un-hide. Note that the Edit Options link may take a while to propagate to all users once again.
Update 3: Speculation. Some users had reported that some links, such as YouTube videos, they were sharing did not appear on their wall, only on their news feed. These users had also reported that they had clicked on “hide all comment activity.” I believe that there might have been a bug that caused links to disappear when a person hid their comment activity. Facebook has most likely taken the recent activity options off for now while they sort out this bug and hopefully it will be back up soon. Can anyone confirm that they were not able to see their links they had shared after they hid all comment activity? Comment below
Original Post: It looks like Facebook has begun to roll out the “Recent Activity” options to its users. Facebook removed these options and defaulted all recent activity to “on” back in December of 2009. Take a look at what I found earlier this evening:
“Recent Activity” shows recent comments users have made on posts, and recent pages they have liked, as well as public events users are attending and other things. Back in December 2009, Facebook, somehow, decided that it would be always on, and if a user didn’t want a post to show up, they would have to manually remove it each time.
These settings bring more privacy back to Facebook! If a user comments on a friend’s status, and that status was set to friends of friends, by default, all* the user’s friends would see that they commented on that friend’s status, regardless of friendship, in their news feed. Now, users can set it up so that their comments aren’t shown in their recent activity.
I appreciate Facebook bringing back this option. It was annoying to have to go into my wall and remove posts that I didn’t want to show up in my friends’ news feeds.
To unhide a certain type of “recent activity” story on your wall, scroll to the bottom of the wall, click on Edit Options, and click the “x” next to the type of story you want to unhide.
This post has been formatted from its original version. Updates 1 & 2 have been edited into the story/removed.
*Note: Not all users are guaranteed to see the post, depending on each individual’s news feed settings.
So, I’ve decided to do a little blogging series called “The Ideal Social Network.” Through out the series, I’ll give my opinion on what the ideal social network would be like, and why Facebook and Twitter fail to meet these standards.
Because April 16 was FourSquare day (4^2 (four squared) equals 16), I will be talking about check-ins. FourSquare is a mobile application that allows you to update your Twitter and Facebook accounts with your current location. There are other services that allow you to do similar things, like Facebook Places.
The Idea Behind Check-Ins
Check-ins let your friends and followers know where you are in real-time. The idea behind this, is so that if a friend is near by, they can come meet you there in real life.
Here’s a video from when Facebook first released Places. It explains the original idea for creating such a feature:
People shouldn’t check-in to every place they go to. I don’t care if you are at the grocery store picking up something to eat for supper. I don’t need to know that about your life. (I have to admit I have checked in to various places like this in the past, and will refrain from doing so in the future).
Checking-in means you want to let your friends know where you are, so that they can come and join you, if they want. It should be done if you are at a coffee shop, a pub, or a community sports events, and similar events where you can meet up with your friends and have a good time together.
Some mobile applications, like Facebook Deals, allow businesses to offer the person checking-in a discount of some sort for sharing their location with their friends. It’s a good marketing idea, but sometimes it can just be “spammy”. If I were to get a deal, I would like to share that [I got a deal] with my friends to. So, if I’m using Facebook Deals, and I check-in and got a 20% discount, it should say in my friends’ news feeds: “(Matt) just got 20% off at [business name]” or something similar, not just “(Matt) is at [business name].”
The one pet peeve I have about check-ins is when people check-in to their own home. THIS IS NOT WHAT CHECK-INS WERE DESIGNED FOR. They were designed for businesses. This is a flaw in Facebook and FourSquare’s systems. Although allowing anyone to add a business to the database, there should be more of a verification process to verify the place being added is actually a business.
Check-ins on The Ideal Social Network
So, to recap, checking in on the ideal social network should only be able to be done from a social place, like a coffee shop. It wouldn’t allow you to check-in to a place that isn’t a business, like your home. Verification for new business would be a bit more strict than today’s check-in applications.