Facebook introduces new structured status updates to help users share what they’re feeling, watching, eating and more

Facebook is testing a new option in the status update box that lets users share what they’re doing in a more visual and structured way.

When users go to create a post, Facebook asks “What are you doing?” and includes a drop down menu of options, such as “feeling,” “watching,” “eating” and more, according to TechCrunch. These feelings or actions are then appended to the status update, along with an emoticon or link to the page users mention. This feature, similar to what personal social network Path offers, is a clever approach to get users to share their activity in a way that can be later used for ad targeting or indexed in Graph Search.

At f8 in 2011, Facebook introduced the concept of Open Graph applications, for which developers could create custom verbs and publish structured stories about what users did in their apps. Thousands of apps have integrated with Open Graph but few besides Spotify have taken off in such a way that truly builds a graph of users’ online and offline actions. Some users were put off by how many apps shared their activity without them realizing it and Open Graph got a bad reputation for “frictionless sharing.”  Now it seems Facebook’s taking matters into its own hands to accelerate the amount of Open Graph stories users create. The more users become familiar with this type of sharing on Facebook, the more comfortable they may end up being with third-party apps that help them tell similar stories.

Even if this doesn’t help the broader ecosystem, it helps Facebook collect important information while giving users new ways to express themselves and learn about things through their friends. Facebook says this information isn’t being included in Graph Search yet, but it’s only natural that it will one day. We can also envision Facebook using these structured status updates in new types of feeds that focus on a particular category. We’ve seen the social network adding features to its music dashboard and have wondered whether similar products could be made for movies, books or news. There are other interesting displays that could be created, such as a look at how your friends have been feeling lately. Based on these sentiments and a user’s Likes and actions, Facebook could recommend who to buy gifts for and what those users might want.

Images via TechCrunch