New Facebook Feature Brings Back the Worst Part of High School

two girls telling a secret behind another girl's backAs strong and as mighty as they may seem, we now have proof that Facebook must be threatened by Google+! Otherwise, why would they be taking a direct cue from the new social network that, let's be honest, is still in its infancy? Lately, Zuck & Co. seem to have a new feature premiering on the site just about every week, and the latest -- which will be live for most users by the end of the week! -- will reshape your Friends List. It kiiiiiinda feels like Circles on Google+ ... with a dose of Mean Girls.

Here's the deal with the "smart lists." Facebook will automatically create some of them, based on your work, school, family, and city (based on your location). Then you can go in and manually change these. Funnnn, one more thing they do that we have to fix, right? Blah!

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But you can create your own lists as well; each gets its own news feed a la Circles. But the second "layer" to all of this, if you will, is that if you set up a "Close Friends" list, you'll see everything they post in the News Feed, while an "Acquaintances" list only shows you what Facebook deems "important" (like relationship statuses or location changes). Finally, people you add to a "Restricted" list will only see your public posts (another feature added recently). (I swear, sometimes I think they are just rolling out all of this new stuff to confuse us even more!)

But overall, it seems like this is the kind of development that will either really improve the Facebook experience OR encourage us to act more like catty adolescents. What I mean is ... who knows what kind of "personalized" lists people are going to come up with and how they'll use them? You know, say someone who you thought was your closest friend throws you in a generic list of "Acquaintances" instead of "BFFs! <3"? Or what if you find out a co-worker sent out a status update to one of his Facebook cliques lists that -- oops! -- doesn't happen to include you, and so you were left in the dark about happy hour? Ick! This feature seems like it has the potential to become very slam-book-ish insanely fast! (Remember those?)

I get grouping people by work or location, but I don't like feeling forced to categorize and label friends in other, inane ways. The good news is if you don't want to use Friend Lists, you don't have to, says Facebook. Whew! Still, guess we don't have very long to wait to see if this new feature will really do much of anything for people who try it, other than make them feel they're back in their high school cafeteria trying to "fit in."

Do you think you'll use this new feature?


Image via studiostoer/Flickr

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