Last week while I was working, I saw the sun set over Portland with one of my closest friends, right at the moment he posted a picture of it to Facebook. At four AM this morning, I had a groggy conversation on Facebook with a friend who couldn’t sleep and was watching the first boats come into her corner of Puget Sound.

I’ve got around a thousand contacts on Facebook but there are about 30 people for whom I’m almost always the first person, no matter what hour of day or night it is, to see their new status messages and shared links. I’m able to post comments on messages from those friends, family members and key professional contacts consistently and in a high-profile way thanks to a new iPhone app that delivers push notifications when selected Facebook contacts post anything. It’s called FavFriends and I like it a lot.

FavFriends is an independently developed iOS app that costs 99 cents and is super simple. It’s also very useful in helping me keep up with my highest-priority people on the world’s biggest social network. I’ve been testing it for a week and it’s now on my short list of must-have apps. The web is a busy place and I love making sure I see news from a particular group of people in my life. You might feel the same way.

Right: Marie Deatherage isn’t just a key leader in the non-profit technology community, she was also the officiant that married my wife and I when we eloped. Names of the non-faved deleted to protect their feelings.

It couldn’t be simpler: you scroll through a list of your Facebook friends and check off who you want to get push notifications from, then when you click on those notifications the app opens up the Facebook page in question inside its browser. The app was a little buggy at first (that appears to be fixed) and its logo seems to scream out “copyright violation,” but whatever – it’s a great little app.

No matter what the social network, my philosophy is generally the same: oversubscribe to maximize serendipity, then segment based on priority and have the highest-priority streams of information delivered through the interface most-likely to interrupt whatever else I’m doing when someone important to me says anything.

I am, though, going to try to remember not to leave my phone flat on the table next to my head while I sleep. Being woken up before sunrise by the vibration of a Facebook status about boats on the water was fun this morning, but I don’t want to make a habit of it.

marshall kirkpatrick