You have probably noticed a new link (now a button) on the far left when you log in to Etsy's homepage. I'm not really sure what its proper name is, but it reminds me of several things... a whirlpool, a tornado, hypnotism glasses, that weird circular thing that James Bond likes to walk through... Whatever you call it, this button leads you to your activity feed.
This is something totally new for Etsy in the past few months, and I personally LOVE it. Every time someone adds an item in your shop to their favorites, or shares your item in a treasury, or makes a purchase, that activity shows up in your activity feed. It helps me see which items are "hot" with potential buyers. It's free market research that automatically pops up without me having to do anything!
In addition to activity related directly to your own shop, your activity feed also shows the activity of people that you've added to your "circle". The benefits of using circles are harder for me to understand. I think the idea is that circles allow sellers to help promote each other because any item I "favorite" will show up on the activity feed of anyone in my circle.
Here are some helpful posts from the Etsy forum about circles:
The Unofficial Etsy Forums also had some interesting discussions about Circles:
Circles and Friendship (The thread isn't as negative as the title makes it sound.)
I'm still debating about whether or not I like the circles feature, but it definitely has potential.
How have you been using Circles and the Activity Feed?