Sep 17, 2014 · 2 minutes

Facebook is taking a break from its efforts to become more like YouTube and Twitter to focus on facilitating the rampant over-sharing that made it so popular in the first place. It is said to be working on a new application called Moments which will allow people to share photos, status updates, and other miscellaneous tidbits about their lives with small, specific groups of friends.

Moments is the latest of Facebook's attempts to change the way people interact with its service. It is following Paper, a mobile application that makes sharing a story to Facebook more like blogging, and Mentions, the app meant to help celebrities interact with their fans.

It's also a tacit recognition of the fact that some Facebook users don't want their conversations to be shared with all of their friends, let alone made public to anyone with a Facebook account. That's a problem for Facebook, which has been trying to emulate Twitter and its all-too-public network in recent months, as I explained in a blog post about the company's awful parroting:

Twitter users are comfortable with the service’s public nature. Most know that their tweets can be seen by anyone, and many are starting to learn that things posted to the service can be grabbed by any writer looking for some story fodder. Using Twitter is like standing in front of an open window and doing jumping jacks in an open kimono, and its users are fine with that.

Using Facebook is like doing those jumping jacks with the blinds down. Some people — and Facebook itself — are able to peek inside, but as long as Facebook’s users have control over who can see through the cracks, they accept that as a risk of doing those jumping jacks in front of a window instead of somewhere a little more private. Facebook changed that when it made new profiles public by default, and now that people have noticed that their dangly bits were in full view of anyone passing by their digital window, the company has had to close the blinds again. Making it easier to close those blinds, or at least making it so fewer people can see through them, might help Facebook convince its users that all of their inane status updates won't be turned into fodder for journalists looking to tap social media's constant conversation for a quick story. (Assuming the app isn't killed before it's ever made available to the general public, of course.)

Put another way: Moments could be a chance for Facebook to remind its users why they signed up for its service instead of sticking with Myspace or abandoning it in favor of newer networks. It's not about videos, or the news, or helping celebrities chat with their fans. It's about sharing things with the people who are close to you without having to worry about them being public.

Facebook might never allow Moments to see the light of day, but it should. I imagine many of its users would like to see something from the company that doesn't force them to download a new application, use up increasing amounts of their data plans, or involve filling the skies with drones. Sometimes it's good for a company like Facebook to just be Facebook for a little while.