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Facebook Adding Overexposure Options

Extroverted Facebook users will soon have a new way to share their thoughts with passerby--an option to publish status updates not just to friends, but to everybody online.

A post on the Palo Alto, Calif., company's blog explained the rationale behind this new feature:

You may have some posts you want to share with a wide audience, such as whom you voted for or how great the weather is today. Other times you may have more personal updates like your new phone number or an invitation to join you at your favorite restaurant for dinner that are meant for only close or nearby friends.

To allow that flexibility, Facebook is rolling out a new option for users who have made their profiles viewable by everyone. A new lock icon in the Publisher, the "what's on your mind?" form, will allow users to choose a potential audience for each status update: everybody on or off Facebook; all of their friends and all of their networks; friends and their friends' friends; only friends; or a custom combination that includes some people and excludes others.

Brandee Barker, Facebook's director of communications, said in a call on Friday that users would be able to discover these new public updates through an upgraded site search, now in testing, as well as its home page's highlights section.

Note that since this new Publisher option matches a profile's overall privacy setting, the people in this beta test will broadcast all their updates to the world unless they choose otherwise by clicking that lock icon. When users who haven't made their profiles world-viewable gain access to this feature, as the company hopes to do soon, logic would dictate that their updates will remain no more public than their profiles--but this change has already been misinterpreted as "Facebook will make status updates public by default."

Facebook watchers are also wondering if this represents the site's latest attempt to one-up Twitter, which has drawn a huge audience by helping people broadcast their own public updates. For example, the social-media news site Mashable picked up on a new Facebook setting indicating that people could connect with your profile "as a fan"--which sounds just like Twitter's "follow" option.

The weird thing is, Facebook already has a mechanism for people looking to connect with fans: the public pages anybody can set up. Barker said the company had not yet decided if public updates would take the place of public pages, and that the new notification option spotted by Mashable was just a test and would likely be removed. (It's still in my own settings; do you see it in yours?)

Forgive me for being skeptical, but I suspect that the Facebook folks already have some definite opinions on that issue. The public-page option can be difficult to discover and tricky to set up (thanks in part to badly-written Facebook add-on applications that break on public pages). Letting well-known, expressive or exhibitionist Facebook users broadcast updates to the public at large without having to create a new public page on the site--and then hope users find their way to that alternate address--could be simpler.

If you're on Facebook, do you have any interest in this new public option? Is the prospect of being able to publish some updates only to a subset of your friends list more interesting? Or do you already feel overwhelmed by all of Facebook's privacy and publicity options?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 29, 2009; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Digital culture , The Web  
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Comments

Letting well-known, expressive or exhibitionist Facebook users broadcast updates to the public at large without having to create a new public page on the site--and then hope users find their way to that alternate address--could be simpler.

If you're on Facebook, do you have any interest in this new public option? Is the prospect of being able to publish some updates only to a subset of your friends list more interesting? Or do you already feel overwhelmed by all of Facebook's privacy and publicity options?
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I keep hearing how Facebook & Twitter are suppose to be so great for businesses in the area of marketing. And truly, that is entirely possible and is being effectively used by DC Area REIA [Real Estate Investor Assn,] BUT almost 90% of the matters that I have been working on as a Realtor are getting either dragged out due to complications associated with refi's, or investors current concerns that deals they jumped on at excellent prices [unless flipped] may now be complicated by dropping credit scores and increased lending standards. Virtually all Residential Realtors are loosing deals over decreased appraisal values, which has also become a major issue.

A number of years back, the CIA was scheduled to move to West Virginia and that didn't happen. Now the FBI Hq. is scheduled to also move to W. Va., namely to Winchester, and other BRAC [Base realignment] objectives are also near fruition, but will they really happen, in light of the history of the CIA getting out of such a move before. Supposedly yes -- ugh, but while following the jobs is good, the DC market is certainly not going to collapse, is it !!!

Now when either Facebook or Twitter find a way to allow one to target a specific geographic area, that will be nice --- unless you are on the receiving end. LOL

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | June 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Kinda seems, to me, that if you want to make information/material private, such as your phone number, you could always e-mail it to your limited e-mail distribution list. But then I have little inclination to have a Facebook page, a My Space page, a Twitter account, or much else beyond a website which, if people are interested enough, they could access. Much easier updating one thing, rather than many. And, it enables a person to make the most of that one item, rather than having to create multiple formats.

Posted by: Dungarees | June 29, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

As a web programmer, I know that to make what they have so far work smoothly is VERRY hard. I am amazed that anything works at all, and they are pretty consistent. I do feel like their vast array of options is probably sufficient, but they are still pruning, adding, and changing. I give them quite high marks so far though.

Posted by: andrewzboard | June 29, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

If I wanted the whole world to see my status updates, I'd get twitter. This is another instance of facebook watering down what makes (made) it good in an attempt to keep up with other social networking websites--e.g. apps mimicking myspace.

Posted by: logieberrie | June 29, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Uh, so does this mean my "news feed" is going to turn into a giant spam box? If so, DISlike!! Thumb down!! Close account!!

Posted by: chumbucket | June 29, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Can you pick certain lists to distribute to? That would be useful.

Posted by: RedBird27 | June 29, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

How many people in a day are going to post statuses to ALL of facebook? Suprisingly I think a good amount. Some people want the WHOLE world to know they are sad, or in love ... etc.

Leave the mess to twitter. It's good to have options. I like facebook the way it is

Posted by: NMR1989 | June 29, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Great, I am now going to be inundated with status updates from club promotors and small business "enterpreneurs" hawking their events, products and services.

Posted by: jabreal00 | June 30, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Why don't they change the name to reflect what it's become: "fecesbook".

Posted by: marc85 | June 30, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

You can share a news story from the Post on Facebook easily enough...why can't we do that for this article?

Posted by: DouglasSick | June 30, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Today's Non Sequitur cartoon captures an amusing side of the "friend-collecting" aspect of Facebook

Posted by: GWGOLDB | June 30, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I want them to make it possible to select WHICH people can see that you are ONLINE. Come on, it can't be THAT hard. I also want to be able to select which friends can see each other in my friends list.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | June 30, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

facebook is so myspace. the real new social networking platform is www.uandmeplus.com. way better than either.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | June 30, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

brucerealtor--I'm not sure that I would want you seeking a house for me if you honestly think that Winchester is in "West Virginia."

Posted by: swmuva | June 30, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

YOU Can Deactivate Your Facebook account. Start by removing every detail in Your account, then remove remaining entries line by line. When about thru entiry account, on bottom will come up selection that includes deactivate. if you latter change You mind, you can reactivate.

My experience is that FACEBOOK brings out people whom have disliked Yourself since Childhood. In sneering type of way & hundreds of posters you've never heard of.
ITS LOUSY CROOKED EASTERN EUROPEAN SCHEME. don't trust facebook. Its possible information is used in most sinester way.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.

Posted by: xxxTSxxx | June 30, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a great thing to have facebook become a competitor. There's more room for the comments, as your not restricted to 140 captions. GO FB.

Posted by: Atheistno1 | July 1, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

No thanks to the public updates. I use Twitter for that, thank you very much.

Posted by: wp11234 | July 2, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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