Facebook’s next attempt to make you share every possible thought that runs through your head is Facebook Lists, a public version of the venerable organizational tool. Rolling out to users today, it builds on traditional Facebook statuses with a new custom layout. However it’s not just sharing your grocery list on your wall.
Instead, Facebook is hoping that you’ll use Lists in a similar way to how Buzzfeed grew its traffic: as a conversation starter. For example, you could start a list of “The Best Tom Hanks Movies” and give your preferences, with the expectation that your friends and family will see that and weigh in with opinions of their own.
Alternatively, you could theoretically use Lists as a way to generate suggestions or even poll your Facebook friends, though there’s still a dedicated Facebook poll feature too. If you had a few ideas for places to go on holiday, though, you might throw those together into a list. Then commenters could give advice on where they’ve been, things they’ve done there, and the best hotels or AirBnBs to stay in.
There’s support for customizing how each Facebook List looks, too. You can change the background color, for example, and choose between a numeric list organized in order, or simply bullet-points. Up to five entries in each list will be shown at first glance. Any more will be hidden under an expanding menu, opened with a tap or a click.
As you’d expect, there’s control over whether Lists are visible publicly, limited to just friends and family, or only available for a certain subset of people to view. You’ll be able to share other peoples’ Lists to your own wall, too.
Initially, only Android users will be able to actually create Lists on their smartphones. iOS users will be able to see other peoples’ Lists in the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad, but initially won’t be able to make their own. That’s likely to change in due course, mind. Facebook says that it’ll be rolling the new feature out from today, though don’t be surprised if you don’t see it on your phone initially.