Everyone loves to complain about FaceBook’s ever-changing look and options. However, I believe they’ve done something right this time.
I’m not sure how long this feature has existed, but it blends well with how I like to use FaceBook. As many know, I’m a big fan of Friend Lists and also of Groups. Of course, this is more from a geek/security viewpoint than really much functionality. The lists are handy to filter-in or filter-out viewership of a status or photos or whatever. I believe the FB-Team has finally gotten that combination of privacy and easy-of-use in a way where more than those employed as security-analysts can actually use it.
But this “new” feature is in Chat. Now, I am not a big fan of chat, IRCs or anything like that. I tried Trillian years ago and it just became overwhelming with so many people seeing you on (or hiding yourself and not being able to talk to the few you’d like to). So, I just quit doing the IM-thing all together, and resolved to send text messages for my quick-talking needs.
All that said; FaceBook now allows you to limit who is in your chat-zone. You can turn on Chat to a limited number of friends or exclude certain people from your friends list. This is done in the “Advanced Settings” of the Chat add-in found in the lower-right corner of the PC web page. I honestly don’t know how to set anything properly in the app or mobile versions because they are quite stripped down (on purpose? who knows?)
Anyway, for me – this allows me to create a short “list” of people with whom I wouldn’t mind chatting with when I’m online. And of course, if I’m feeling xenophobic (like I do at times), I can still turn the thing completely off. List-management for chat is an added “safety” feature that I like. Now if they would only let me see a dynamic aggregated list of people based on my News Feed settings; I’d love to better filter whose games and photos barge into my feed. ;-)