Dec. 22, 2010 at 11:04 AM ET
Sometimes when Facebook comes out with something new, it immediately attracts the ire of its users, like when it made the News Feed font smaller or when the News Feed morphed to the oft-times confusing "Top News" vs. "Most Recent" streams.
But Facebook's latest additions will probably not stir up that kind of drama, because it actually makes sifting through the News Feed so much easier: filters in the form of a drop-down menu below the "Most Recent" tab that allows users to view only Status Updates, Photos, Links, Pages and Games, depending on what they choose. They can also choose lists of friends, if they don't feel like going through every Facebook friend. Unfortunately, the choice doesn't stick once you move from the page, which is kind of annoying, but at least when I just want to skim through Status Updates, I can do that easily, or when I want to see what new photos people are uploading, I can do that too.
Right now, it looks like Facebook is just starting to roll this out, so it's not site-wide — yet.
Inside Facebook breaks down the benefits of each filter, but the stand-out is the Status Updates, which is a streamlined way to read what your friends are up to without the sometimes annoying clutter of photos, links and who needs what on Farmville. It's the original News Feed! Thanks for bringing that back, Facebook.
Inside Facebook compares it to Twitter, which I can sort of see, but it's so much cleaner, with no links or photos that can pop up on the same page, which new Twitter does.
But I do see Inside Facebook's point with the Pages filter, which does seem to serve as a kind of RSS feed reader for businesses, people and organizations that you do tend to follow in that way. They usually get lumped in with all my other stuff, so it's kind of nice to have it separately. I have a whole new appreciation for it now.
I like the way Inside Facebook puts it:
As more news sites like CNN and The Daily Beast use Facebook to distribute newly published articles, the Pages feed could serve as new form of RSS reader, but which includes the opportunity of discussion and quick sharing.
Venture Beat also puts an interesting spin on it:
The new filters attempt to turn Facebook into something more than just a way to keep up with your friends. For example, much as Facebook aggregators Flipboard and PostPost allow you to do, you can filter by Links to see those posted by friends and, in essence, turn Facebook into a Twitter or Digg-like content discovery platform.
How will you use the new filters?