Can Facebook pique your interest?


Nothing is truer than the old saying that the only constant is change. That must be Facebook’s motto, because in addition to the recent Timeline launch to brand pages over the next few weeks, they have also added “interest lists” to profiles.

What are interest lists?

My interest lists

Interest lists are found in the right rail on the News Feed.

Quite simple, really—they’re collections you can create and subscribe to in order to see and organize the Facebook content you find interesting. Sound a lot like Twitter lists? That’s because they are.

A number of articles have stated that this feature is in fact a direct challenge to Twitter. But I’m not so sure about that, especially considering that people use Twitter and Facebook in vastly different ways and for different reasons. According to a recent study, Twitter users tend to be “focused, no-nonsense information-gatherers.” Information seekers on Facebook, however, tend to be “considerably less intellectually curious.”

Why is this relevant?

Interest lists organize information by subject matter where as Twitter lists and Google+ circles organize people. For example, Facebook curates its own lists, such as one collecting the pages for all 32 NFL teams. Die-hard football fans certainly will be interested in that, even if few others are.

But will the average Facebook user start curating their own custom lists on Facebook? I’m not entirely sold. Perhaps in time, Facebook users will discover and adopt interest lists—but they aren’t widely promoted right now, leaving them to be discovered by happenstance.

How does this apply to my business?

For now, interest lists are only available to user profiles, but that doesn’t mean brands can’t benefit. If you and your company have a Facebook presence, you might consider starting a personal list of content relevant to and from your brand that others may want to subscribe to. Take for example my own list, “Social Media,” which includes information from Mashable, Facebook guru Mari Smith, and others— with Vodori added for good measure, of course.

While I don’t see interest lists being a “Twitter killer,” I do think that they offer a new and interesting way for Facebook users to find and interact with content relevant to them. And even though I don’t see list use becoming widespread, those looking for more than the normal random banter on Facebook may consider them a great tool.

Either way, it will be interesting to see where interest lists go. Do you see yourself using interest lists for yourself or for your brand? If so, how? Let me know in the comments below.

This post was originally written for the Vodori blog.

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