Facebook seems to want to get us chatting more with one another through their Facebook chat. Not only has it been available to us on the right-hand side at the bottom of the sidebar where we can choose to show online or offline to our friends as well as minimize the chat feature if we choose.
Facebook even allows us to see the amount of people in real-time who are coming and going online through a fluctuating number that displays when the Facebook chat feature is minimized. However, now you are able to see the faces of the friends who are online regardless of the minimization for the online friends now displayed on the left-hand side menu bar just outside of your newsfeed. There is also a search feature for you to find other friends who happen to be online too.
It is odd to duplicate a feature on Facebook especially when they are in the same location just on opposite sides, but perhaps they do not want to rid the ability we have to minimize, instead they want us to still be able to see who is online and connect with each other through their chat feature and perhaps since many of us do minimize we tend to not use it as often as Facebook would like, since “out of sight, out of mind” might be applicable here. Therefore they have added a feature embedded on the left where it is less intrusive but still in our face to remind us of the feature.
Of course seeing faces may even encourage us to want to chat with some people we may have forgotten about or didn’t realize we were still connected with on Facebook. This is all speculation as to why Facebook added this secondary part to the Facebook chat feature but whatever the overall reason, it is surely to get us chatting more on Facebook chat.