By Brigette Flood

Facebook must have recognized – or come to terms with – some of its own negatives after the launch of Google+. It’s been adding features that seem directly influenced by functionality users have been enjoying on the new Google+ playground.

Is this “me too” factor giving Facebook an out of the blue wake up call similar to the one MySpace suffered? Hard to imagine fickle winds of the end users could push its 730 million fans elsewhere, but when you’re number 1, the goals is to remain there.

I’m not sure how many people are actively engaged on Google+ these days. The uptake rates were reportedly high, but I don’t hear many people outside the social media world talking about it. If nothing else, we have Google+ to thank for the improvements to Facebook. Big plus!

So what are they? Recent updates to Facebook are two new list-related features designed to make it easier to share posts with small groups of people who belong to the same family, city, workplace or school you do, and to help separate your best friends from your not-so-best friends.

Although customizing your friend lists isn’t new (I always wonder who has that kind of time, and I work in social media), now Facebook creates automatic “Smart Lists”, based on your profile information. Smart Lists help people who are overwhelmed by status updates and/or cautious of posting because there are too variables in that ever-growing friend list. Now you can have Close friends and Acquaintances listed separately. The difference is in the amount of postings you see. Be warned: people can see which list they’re on. Isn’t that so Facebook, to give you a tool, but then make your use of it public?

To find your smart lists, look on the left side of your Facebook profile page. There’s a new section titled Lists, with auto-populated categories underneath it, including things like Close Friends, Classmates, Co-workers.

The improvement was rolled out on Facebook, but we definitely have Google+ Circles to thank!

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.