It showed up in a drop-down menu inside the new Facebook Timeline feature, then like a phantom, disappeared from view, but not before reporters spotted it, armed with a screen shot on Burberry's new Timeline page. Now Facebook has come clean with the official introduction of Interest Lists.
The social-watch speculation of late has been on the direction of Facebook development, and just how the recent set of new features (like "Subscribe" and the rest) are getting more Twitter-like, and how the 8-times-larger Facebook entity (Facebook has 800 million subscribers, to Twitter's 100 million) will affect the growth of Tweets going forward.
Think Personalized Newspaper
But the company is putting a "personalized newspaper" spin on its new service, stating: "Interest lists can help you turn Facebook into your own personalized newspaper, with special sections -- or feeds -- for topics that matter to you. You can find traditional news sections like Business, Sports and Style or get much more personalized -- like Tech News, NBA Players, and Art Critics."
There is even a Facebook blog post today on how to "curate feeds" around a particular field you may be tracking, centered on the people, and public pages, with updates added to your Interest List, that can also be shared.
Some are commenting that the new Interest Lists from Facebook is similar to the Cold Brew Labs Pinterest (pinboard-like) social photo sharing service, for which you still need an invitation to join. Its theme-based image collections have a lot in common with Interest Lists and has the stated mission: "...to connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting."
A Facebook and Pinterest user, Rebecca J. Rose, commented:
When I saw it for the first time, I thought I was on Pinterest! I like it a lot though... way cool! I used to make my own lists manually with my pages I liked such as news, children, etc.. but it got too time-consuming to add a page to my list every time... this is so much better, I love it! :)"
The point here is, Pinterest may have identified a great niche with its pinboard-like approach to sharing social images, but once on the radar, watch out -- the gorilla in the room may just like the color and size of banana you're eating.