I have been playing with lists on Facebook lately. Initially I considered them reading lists (a way to aggregate stuff from a selected several sources in the same page), and they are, but you can use them also as distribution lists, and this is much more interesting. Thanks to lists I think I have solved one of my long-standing problems on Facebook: multiple languages.
I don’t have a huge number of friends on Facebook, I have tried to keep my social graph consistent, and while I cannot say I know personally every single contact I have, I can say in most cases I’m connected to people I know of. Overall I’m pretty happy with the content I find on my Facebook page, my real problem is posting: considering that about 20% of my connections are not Italian, which language should I use?
My solution so far had always been posting everything in English (wrongly assuming that all my Italian contacts can read some basic English). This approach kinda works as long as I’m posting original content, but it did prevent me from re-posting all the interesting stuff I found in my stream which is in Italian. And with 80% of my contacts being Italian it’s a lot of stuff.
So I finally decided to go through all my contacts and manually create a list of my Italian friends, so now I can easily post in Italian for my Italian friends and in English for everyone else.
The UI to do this could be much easier, and probably Facebook could be doing this automagically, but still, it’s a nice step forward.