Facebook introduces a real-time Live Feed

In addition to the News Feed, users can now check a Live Feed for the most up-to the minute updates

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
October 23, 2009 | Comments (4)
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/b69

I like the fact that when I sign in to Facebook, I see all the most important friend updates that I missed since the last time I logged in. Wouldn't it be just spectacular if, once I finished reading all those updates, I could switch to another feed for all the updates happening at this exact second.

With an update to Facebook taking effect early Friday, users are now faced with just that: two feeds on their home page. One is the traditional News Feed and the other is a new Live Feed.

According to Facebook engineer Raylene Yung, users who have just logged into Facebook will see "the most interesting things that happened in the last day" on their regular News Feed. Using previous interaction data, like how many times user comments on a friend's posts or how many times a user clicks the "Like" button, the News Feed draws updates that the user is more likely to want to see and, in turn, interact with again.

Live Feed

Once the user has caught up with everything on the News Feed, however, Facebook wants the user to click the "Live Feed" button to see what's going on in the network at that moment. The Live Feed will, as long as the browser stays open, perpetually update with friend activity in real-time.
live feed feedback
As always, users can choose what shows up in each feed by editing their settings.

Judging by the comments left on the blog post, users aren't too happy about the update, citing the confusion of having two feeds as one of the main deterring factors. In general, however, it appears to just be another case of Facebook change-a-phobia, where tons of users join useless boycott groups that eventually fade into nonexistence as everyone adjusts to the changes.

While the presence of two different feeds does confuse things a bit, it demonstrates that Facebook is trying to make its site more real-time (like Twitter) without borrowing all the unwanted noise that normally comes with Twitter feeds.

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Gary Silver
Gary Silver, on October 24, 2009

Keeping up with friends can be a full time job. I guess it's better not to have too many.

Gary Silver
Gary Silver, on October 27, 2009

Seriously, though, early on it seemed to me that one of the big benefits of sites like MySpace and Facebook was the efficiency it would bring to communication with your social network... a net time savings (no pun intended). However, it now appears that amount of time - and much more - is spent exchanging information one would have never thought of sharing before. // Live Feed may be a great feature for the application, but as a social commentary, it represents a new milestone in the ability to waste time in the communication of useless information... which, I guess, some will interpret this post to be :)

Ronny Kerr, on October 27, 2009

You're right that a lot of social network news feeds are about "the communication of useless information." Only every so often do I post a link to an incredibly relevant news bit or something else that isn't just a waste of time. But, on the other hand, day-to-day conversations in real life might just as well be considered a waste of time, except that we know that such conversations are important to building relationships in our social communities. Networks like MySpace and Facebook just take that fact of life online.

Gary Silver
Gary Silver, on October 27, 2009

Yeah, Ronny, but I see people for whom it's not just a straight substitution of offline for online, it's just facilitating an addiction. Hey, I'm not passing any value judgements on anyone else's enjoyment of time, and maybe Vator and theFunded are my own vices, but I'm just saying :)

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