Thursday, February 10, 2011

A feature suggestion to Facebook: Let my friends tag their messages, we have multiple interests.

I am a voracious user of Facebook News feed, where I receive messages from selected friends and updates from groups and pages that I like. Anyway, I believe that this service is currently working like old black and white colour TV. I can either decide to receive messages from a given friend (white colour), or decide to not receive them (black colour). Surely, Facebook is adopting quite sophisticate ranking algorithms for deciding whether messages coming from a specific friend that I like a lot should have a better position than the messages from a friend that I like a bit less. Nevertheless, there is no explicit way to differentiate among different types of message produced by a specific friend. This world is not having multiple colours, but just two.

In reality, people have multiple interests (or multiple colours). I could be very much interested in following all the messages coming from my friend Alice about latest cool technological gadgets, but not very interested in getting all her messages about recipes. Anyway, Mandy can have a lot of interest in recipes and zero interest in all the Alice's postings about gadgets. Alice has multiple interests and they should be expressed by the way of multiple colours. How to solve this problem?

How about to adopt a social solution? Let anyone posting a message annotate it with one more more tag ("recipes", "gadgets", and so on and so forth). Let anyone receiving a message express a like for that specific tag. This combination can be used by Facebook ranking algorithms as a powerful signal for expressing my willness to receive more and more messages about a specific topic (and less messages about a topic that I never liked).

How to create new topics? Well again a social solution. First, suggest a list of popular topics "as a I type", because I am lazy and I want to reuse meaningful tags already produced by my social graph. Second, simply allow the creation of new tags when no satisfying match is found. Each tag is a new colour and this world can therefore become a full HD colour TV.

How to select the topics that I like? Well again a social solution. I should be simply be allowed to "Like" that tag and this is an explicit signal to Facebook.

So Facebook can I have this feature?


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