Groups and Lists – What’s the Point, Really?

Just yesterday I was logging onto Facebook, and was immediately greeted with a suggestion to use groups. “Hmm,” I wondered. “Groups have been on FB as long as I remember. Why would they be promoting them again?” I decided I would much rather pursue other interests at that time, so I X-ed out of it and moved on.

Later on in the day, a friend of mine sent me a text about an unfortunate mistake he had made earlier in the day. He had decided to create a group, as FB suggested. Unfortunately for him, what he actually wanted to create was a list, to include people that he didn’t necessarily want to share all of his profile information with. Tragically, he proceeded with the group, including a not-so-flattering name, add members and submitted it. Before he even KNEW what happened, FB sent an auto-email out to all the members he added. It was at this moment he realized what happened. “Shit,” he thought. “It’s sending them a notification that I added them to Group Not-So-Flattering.”

My poor friend spent the remainder of last night doing damage control. No, he did not mean to offend anyone. He just wanted to organize his friends into different areas of visibility of his page. And when FB says, “Hey organize your friends this way,” well shoot, why not? Well this is why not.

Facebook is now under fire for this change to groups. Multiple blog posts and news articles are arisen from this change, and what I am wondering is why aren’t groups and lists the same thing? And really, what IS either of their functionality? The only way I have found lists relevant is to do what my friend was trying to do – hide certain aspects (tagged photos, videos, etc) of my profile from certain viewers. So then, what are these new groups? What are they for, really?


Image found on

In an attempt to discover their usefulness, I created a group of my girlfriends from my undergrad school. I added 8 girls (without their consent) to a closed group. I did appreciate that FB’s automatic privacy setting was closed, but really, why can’t members have a choice to be added or not? And then I posted on the group “wall.” It’s been about 24 hours since then, and I haven’t heard a response from any of my friends. Oh, and thanks FB for letting us share documents. Like I would put any type of valuable document out there. How do I know it’s protected?

So I am back to square one, wishing that my dear friend hadn’t created a group when he wanted a list, and I had continued to X out FB’s suggestion to the “new” group method. Because really, I still don’t see the point. And I’ll probably disband my new group by the end of the week.


~ by julieesmer on October 18, 2010.

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