While most people are blogging about the latest Facebook features I thought I would write about one that most of us missed. Or at least never use to it’s potential. So for now let’s forget about the new Facebook Camera App and rewind about 9 months.

So what is this great but old feature? Smart Lists. How was that for a build up? But that is exactly how Facebook released it. No build up and no fanfare. From what I could tell they added it as a response to Google+’s Circles feature but not many of us took much notice. Except “Smart Lists” is a big deal and I often look through my news feed and wish more people would use it.

So what exactly does it do? The lists feature is firstly a way to organise your hundreds of Facebook friends into categories and allows you to view custom news feeds from only those people. This is great if you want to stay up to date with your family but don’t want to jump around each of their profiles. But the often unused feature of these lists just happens to be the most important. Once you have lists created, Facebook creates a few for you already, you can actually send status updates that only go to those people. So instead of sending every thought that crosses your brain to every person on Facebook you could actually send it to those that it relates to. Unfortunately most Facebook users don’t see the point to this. But communications is all about context. It is about knowing your audience and how to communicate to them. Though unfortunately the broader our audience has become the more lazy we have become with that. There are, and I believe need to be, differences in how we articulate our words depending on w

ho we are talking to. It’s the nature of language. You don’t speak english to a native spanish speaker and vice versa. You also don’t use slang and inside jokes used with your high school friends when talking with your grandma. It just wouldn’t make sense. There would be miscommunications and people taking offence at things that had no intent of being offensive. Sound familiar?

Facebook and other social networks are taking away such a valuable skill in communicating. Though thankfully Facebook has designed a feature like “Smart Lists” to help. Now if only we could get more people to us it. Just start by making a list (https://www.facebook.com/bookmarks/lists), add friends to it, then try writing a status that would make sense to that specific grouping of people. Then repeat as instructed 🙂

“The caution that marks our speech must also mark our texting, our emailing, our commenting, our blogging, & our tweeting.” Tim Challies