Facebook is testing a new type of activity feed story which describes how two users became friends after attending the same Event. Automatically posted to the Recent Activity section of both users’ walls, the story says “[User X] and [User Y] are now friends after both attending [Event].” The story subtly encourages users to attend Events by implying these gatherings help them make friends.
The “friends after Event” activity stories follow a number of other changes to the activity feed this year. Facebook added Like this Page or Open Graph object and Unlike buttons to feed stories about Likes, and activity stories about comments began showing snippets of the comments themselves.
Facebook implemented a purely aesthetic redesign of Event pages in July, but otherwise hasn’t improved its Events in-house app in a long time. In fact, Facebook reduced discoverability of Events during the recent user profile redesign by removing the Events tab which listed RSVPs. Event discovery or deeper integration between Events and Places check-ins could be in store for the coming year in a similar way to how Page discovery and Places/Pages integration was a focus in 2010. The new activity story will help users become aware of Events, albeit ones which have already taken place.
Friends after Event stories appear instead of the standard friendship activity story when two users who RSVP’d positively to the same Event become friends shortly after the Event. Its currently unclear how long the window of time following the Event lasts. Friends can Like or comment on the story, allowing them to endorse the new friendship . When users see this type of story, they internalize the tie between attending gatherings of people and forging new relationships, inspiring them to go to more Events in search of these connections.
The increase in attendance to real-world happenings is one of Facebook’s great gifts to society. Therefore, an activity story extolling the direct benefits of getting out of one’s home and meeting other people at an Event organized on Facebook reminds users how the site has changed their lives for the better.
[Thanks to Brittany Darwell for the tip.]