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In Facebook, when user JohnDoe views a post which has been added (by JohnDoe or by one of JohnDoes friends) on JoeDoe's Timeline, what is the point of JohnDoe's user interface displaying both:

  • a friends drop-down menu icon above the shared media (text/picture(s)/video(s)), just to the left of the poster's name and post time, allowing JohnDoe to control the visibility of the post (which can be set to Public, Friends, Only Me, a predefined Custom List or Smart List of friends, or any Custom list of friends).

  • a Share button below the shared media, which allow the post to be shared with the very same group of people (and thus seems as though it achieves the same thing).

What I could gather is that, by sharing, you are posting the same thing to your timeline one more time, perhaps at a later date. I don't understand the need for duplicating the post on one's timeline in this manner, seems a bit like spamming to me. Perhaps someone can explain.


NOTE: I've also noticed that the share button I mentioned also allows you to share a timeline post to someone as a private message, functionality which the friends drop-down menu of a post doesn't allow you to achieve. Perhaps this is one of the differences that could be pointed out.

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The visibility of the post (the first control) is very different from the act of sharing the post (the second control).

The visibility controls who can see it. You could make this public, but that doesn't mean the whole world somehow magically learns of its existence, it just means that should someone not in your friends list should come across it, they will be able to see it.

The sharing action pushes that post out to whomever you sharing it, for example a group, or a specific friends timeline. As you point out, sharing you own post on your own timeline may not be much use, although of course if the original post is from a long time ago, it may be very useful as the shared version of it will be current in timelines. But since the sharing option includes all those other places too, the option is very useful even for your own posts.

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