Friends Lists in Facebook

To celebrate my first blog post here, I thought I would introduce a feature on Facebook I am very vocal about – Lists

  • So what are Lists and why should I use them?

A very valid question. Why use them? If you’ve set your privacy settings to ‘Friends Only’ why bother over complicating it – Why should I go to all the trouble of dividing all my friends up when I’m happy with it just the way it is! And you would have a very valid point. Facebook is intensely complex to begin with, why go looking for trouble. But Lists do add some incredibly useful functions which can put you firmly in control of what other people can see, but more importantly what you can see. Lists are simply a very handy way of organising your friends and Facebook have been kind enough to set up some groups to help you on your way (4 or more, depending on what information you’ve shared).

  • Where are they and how do they work?


To start using lists simply click the ‘Friends’ link down the left hand side. This will take you to a long list of…well…Lists, as shown below:



I did say the number of starting Lists would depend on what information you have entered. As you can see in the picture above, Facebook has included a List based on my geographical location. This is called a Smart List but we’ll come to that later.

To start using a List, all you need to do is click on any of the ones graciously created by Facebook or, if you don’t see a List name which suits your needs, simply create one by clicking the ‘New List’ button at the top. A good List to create is always ‘Work’ – trust me on this one! But a List is no good unless you start adding people onto it and that couldn’t be easier to do..



As soon as you click on a List, Facebook will try to help you fill it as much as possible by suggesting who it thinks would be a suitable addition. It doesn’t always get it right but it’s the thought that counts. The other simple way of adding a ‘Friend’ to the List is to simple type in that persons name with Facebook showing you the available options as you type. It is that simple.

  • So what does Facebook say about each of these Lists and what can I do with them?

The great thing about this group is that it will send you a notification every time they update and prioritise their posts on your News Feed. I’d recommend keeping this List small otherwise you will be inundated with Notifications all day, everyday. Keeping it small also ensures you get all the important information about the important people in your life as it appears.

Does exactly what it says on the tin but also very handy at reducing the pointless ‘chat’ that seems to dominate your News Feed. If one of your ‘Friends’ is all too eager to share their culinary exploits (“I just had Weetabix for breakfast”) or share their love of film (“I’ve just watched The Inbetweeners Movie so here are YouTube videos of all the funniest bits”), you can drown them out with this simple list. You will still see their posts if Facebook deem them to be relevant to you, but for the rest of the time you can happily avoid the endless/pointless posts

I don’t think I need to explain this one but I can think of a number of news stories which would justify it’s use. It’s a kinder way of blocking them without actually blocking them.

You can add Lists, delete Lists and constantly update Lists. You have complete control over them and, with them, you have complete control over your Facebook ‘Friends’. To see what the people in the List are doing just give it a click. You can even choose what type of content appears by clicking the ‘Manage List’ button at the top and choosing ‘Choose Update Type..’ so that it will only show Photos or Status Updates.

  • But you told us they are useful

Yes I did, and useful they are. Here are a number of different ways that I have used Lists in the past:

  • I wanted to share pictures of my children with members of my family, so added them to the Family List and posted an Album of Christmas memory. When I uploaded the images I set it so that only individuals in that List can see them
  • There was a recent accident in a nearby town, Lincoln, early one morning. To find out which roads to avoid, I clicked on the Lincoln List so that I could see what people were experiencing before I decided which way to go. Amazing how many people stop in the middle of busy traffic to update their Facebook Status!
  • I tend not to use Facebook Chat much simply because I found it a little overwhelming; everyone, and I mean everyone, is on Facebook all the time. Everyone can then send you Instant Messages. Have you ever tried juggling 20 different conversations on Facebook? I struggle with 1 most of the time! So I created a Messenger List so that I can restrict who sees me online and who is able to Instant Message me.

There are a million and one other things that you could use lists for but hope that this have given you an brief overview of what they can offer. Over the coming months I hope to share some more of Facebook’s features so everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures that it can bring, safely.


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