Messenger Now Using 'Conversation Topics' to Stimulate Chatter
When you're with someone you know, it's not that hard to think of things to talk about, and if you've called them, or vice versa, there was a reason behind it, even if it was just to check in. With Messenger, or any form of online chat, you have a list of those people in your face the entire time, silently beckoning you to start a conversation, but not telling you how.

If you have something to tell them, that's fine, lead with that, but beyond that, it gets more difficult. 'hi', 'hey' or 'hello' tend to leave you adrift almost immediately after you've said them, and 'let's talk' is a bit too on the nose. Well, what if Facebook could actually tell you what you ought to be talking about, so you don't have to think about it?

Seemingly that's a feature that they've been incubating, as a few users have noticed a 'Conversation Topics' header. Friends show up beneath it as they normally would, except with a little note about something they did recently that you might want to ask them about. In a similar fashion to Favourites, Conversation Topics have their own little designated area on the home screen, but whether it randomly selects people who have checked-in recently or only picks from your top friends is unclear.

It doesn't just stop at check-ins, though. Music streaming, events and may well extend to other kinds of Facebook activity. This kind of follows on from the recent addition of new friends to the Messenger bar, encouraging you to chat with people who are new to your friends list, and now you have a better reason to do so.

This could also be characterised as a way of making Messenger more of a place to hang around, rather than just on in the background. If you have a more condensed, streamlined feed of what people are doing, you won't have to scroll through the normal News Feed to find out, which means you'll be using it more for keeping up with general news. This is probably a convenient coincidence rather than a specific aim, but it fits Facebook's current directive pretty neatly.

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