As I start to look at Facebook more as a social tool to evaluate rather than a personal one to use, there is one thing that really starts to jump out at me. As of the writing of this post I have over 1100 Facebook “friends”, but I have a secret and so do most of you. According to a little non-scientific study I conducted of all the friends that most people have on Facebook they really on value a few. I asked several of my friends of the “friends” they have on Facebook how many of those people do they actually communicate with on a regular basis. The responses were almost identical, most answered that they really only communicated with between 10 and 30 people. There were a few outliers but those were the super social people. The truth is that while most of us have a lot of connections on Facebook, there are only a select few that we truly value. Facebook does try to do this for you automatically but it doesn’t work very well. This is where what I am calling “Friend Focus” would come in. Friend Focus would allow you to focus in on the people that you really care about and it would put their info above everybody else’s in your News Feed. As it stands now I often times find myself missing updates and info from the people I really want to keep up with because there is just too much noise in my news feed. Some people will say you could do this yourself by simply removing people from your friend’s list but that would take to long and defeats the purpose. From my perspective, a feature like the one I am describing would be much better because you might still value those other people for networking or social gaming reasons but you need a way to filter.
It doesn’t have to stop there though, how often have you wanted to put up a status update but didn’t want everyone to see it. You wanted to put out a message to just a small set of people that you trusted. You can already do this by selecting customize through the share button and then going through quite a bit of work to pick the people you want. The problem here is that it doesn’t save. In this case since the functionality already exist they just need to make it simpler to use and more intuitive. It could be pre-populated with the group of people you already created for your news feed and then allow you to create multiple groups based on a particular topic or area. This would allow you to communicate Mafia Wars or Farmville stuff only to the people that were playing it and really cared. I think it would go a long way towards de-cluttering everyone’s News Feed.
So what do you think guys, does you agree with me that Facebook needs a “Friend’s Focus” feature? Do you think there is anything else they could do to take it further than what I have mentioned in this post? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments.