Facebook started rolling out Interest Lists this week to users around the world.  An Interest list is basically a personalized news feed created by a Facebook user on any topic they want to follow.  Facebook users can create and subscribe to any of these Interest Lists they like such as on on sports, recipes, social media, or just about anything else they want.  Many people believe that this is Facebook’s most recent attempt to take Twitter down a notch, by allowing people to create feeds on popular topics and then have others “follow” the list…just like on Twitter.  Obviously with a much larger installed base there will be more conversations and more options on Facebook than there can be on Twitter.

Another reason that Facebook introduced Interest Lists is because most people’s news feeds are becoming increasingly clogged up with information they may not care about.  This is a result of more companies taking advantage of Facebook’s Open Graph.  The good news is that this is great for businesses on Facebook as this is a way to get people to see more of your content which is the goal of every business.  The bad news is that while it has always been the case that content is king, most businesses simply vomit out information without much thought.  With this introduction…which is definitely B2C focused, brands are going to have to create better content.  That will be good for all of us!

Personalized Newspaper

In a recent blog post, Facebook explained Interest Lists like this…

Interest lists can help you turn Facebook into your own personalized newspaper, with special sections—or feeds—for topics that matter to you. You can find traditional news sections like Business, Sports and Style or get much more personalized—like Tech News, NBA Players, and Art Critics.

Interests feature public figures and Pages related to a particular topic, and are put together by people like you. The top stories from each interest appear in your news feed so you can scan interesting headlines or click through to read more posts.
In the coming weeks, you’ll see the Add Interests link in your left-hand bookmarks. When you do, you can subscribe to lists on almost any topic. For example:

  • If you love football, subscribe to the NFL Teams interest list for a gridiron-focused feed. No need to check on each team in the NFL, your favorite athletes’ profiles, and ESPN.
  • If you’re into politics, subscribe to the 2012 US Presidential Candidates interest list to see updates from all the campaigns, or get posts from major newsoutlets like CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and the Wall Street Journal.

Don’t see a list for one of your interests? Make your own lists to organize your favorite content or help others discover new topics. Just go to the Interests page, and click Create List. Choose to let others subscribe to your new list, or keep it private.

I put together my own Interest List of Social Media Influencers, which is a feed of people who I think have something valuable to say about social media.  You can subscribe to it here.  Social Media Influencers

In the end, it really does not matter why Facebook rolled this out, because the net result will be better content curation by individuals and brands.  It will also make it much easier for all of us to get the information we are looking for without having to wade through a trough of branded vomit.  How is that for a visual?

Let me us know what you think of the new Interest List feature and how you will be using it.



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