Facebook Releases Friend Lists

    December 19, 2007

Facebook’s been challenged by something of an identity crisis as both traditional social networkers and true professionals have tried to use the site.  Now, to reduce the odds of a mix-up ("My boss is here?  But it’s strip poker night!"), Facebook’s unveiled an organizational tool known as Friend Lists.

On the Facebook Blog, Mark Slee gives an amusing (if irrelevant) 220-word summary of his company’s history, and then explains, "The new Friends page lets you create named lists of friends that you can use to organize your relationships whichever way works best for you.  These private lists can be used to message people, send group or event invitations, and to filter updates from certain groups of friends."

These benefits are, to be honest, somewhat limited – maybe you won’t accidentally invite your boss to strip poker night, but if he (or she) is your friend on Facebook, he (or she) will be able to see any pictures that are posted.  Still, the "private lists" aspect is nice, eliminating the need to tiptoe around names for less-than-close associates.

Also, Slee hints that some much more interesting things are on the way.  "Expect to see lots of new Friend Lists features in 2008 that will give you more control over the information you share on Facebook and who you share it with," he writes.  These could turn Friend Lists into the genuine "LinkedIn Killer" that Nick O’Neill has foreseen.

In the meantime, we can only comment on the odd timing of this release – the week before Christmas is not often filled with news items.  Still, Friend Lists will receive even more attention as a result, and anyone who wants to take advantage of the tool should have more downtime than usual to sort out their friends and colleagues.