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It turns out that the Circles capability in Google Plus isn’t new, it’s just promoted and designed better than the corresponding capability in Facebook. In fact, you could argue that Facebook allows better segmentation than Google Plus – if you can find it.
In Facebook there are two ways to segment your posts, and similarly filter the posts you receive:
- You can create groups in Facebook and invite friends to join. You can also just add friends to a group without their consent (though they can leave the group). In this case, posts to the group appear on the wall of group members only. You can even make private or secret groups to prevent non group members from finding those posts.
- Lists are actually pretty powerful in Facebook, and I suspect underused. You can create your own list of friends (lists aren’t shared, nor are they visible to your friends).
So using lists ends up working very much like Google Circles, it just requires a little more effort. In fact, Facebook goes one step further: when you customize who will see your posts, you can also explicitly exclude friends or lists of friends. A perfect approach for college students whose parents have friended them.