Demystifying SharePoint My Site (Social List)

This post is regarding the “Social List” which you might have noticed in your SharePoint My Site. I’m purposely using the term “might have *” because not everyone will have payed attention to that list in the SharePoint My Site. That being said, the purpose of this post is to make you understand what the “Social List" is in your SharePoint My Site and how it works.

Let’s begin with where you find it.

Go to your SharePoint My Site, Site contents and take a look at the items there. You should be able to find the “Social List" as shown in the image below.


What’s a social list?

It’s a default list that’s present in your SharePoint “My Site” that displays all the content you’re following.

The url for this will look like:


At times you might see some weird issues while opening your SharePoint My Site and the error will say something about the follow feature/social feature not working.

Remember in scenarios like that , the culprit could be the "Social List." For some reason if this list gets corrupted, then you might face issues while opening your SharePoint "My site.

Feature that activates this list

A hidden feature named “Social Data Storage" in your SharePoint My Site takes care of turning on this list. Hence if this feature is deactivated then you won’t be able to find this list in your SharePoint “My Site” and will end up facing problems while accessing the My Site. I’ll discuss in detail about this feature later on this post.

What’s present inside the “Social list?”

Well, if you need to take a look at what’s present inside this list , please use "SharePoint Designer" and try to open it.

This is what you will find inside the “Social List.

Social list


Social Data storage feature

As mentioned earlier, the Social data storage feature takes care of turning on this list. The GUID of this feature is “FA8379C9-791A-4FB0-812E-D0CFCAC809C8”.

While troubleshooting “My Site” or “following” issues, please make sure that this feature is activated on your My Site.

Since this is a hidden feature, you need to use a tool called “SharePoint Manager” from Codeplex or PowerShell to check if this feature is activated in your My Site.

Using SharePoint Manager

  1. Install this in a machine which has SharePoint on it and expand the My Site web app.
  2. Expand the sites option.
  3. Search for the problematic user’s My Site.
  4. Expand the list of features.
  5. Look for a green plus symbol next to the feature.

Check the screenshot below:



Using PowerShell command

Try running this command,

Get-SPFeature -Site | Sort DisplayName | FT DisplayName,Id


As you can see in the screenshot above, the first result is for a corrupted “My  Site “and the second result is for a healthy “My Site.” You can see all the features activated (mainly the social data storage feature) in the second result.

Things to know:

  1. There are certain features that get activated in a user’s My Site only when a user tries to visit his My Site for the first time, during this process SharePoint will trigger the “My site instantiation process” which will create the user’s My Site. In addition to that there are few other features in your My Site which don't get activated until you start using it (Ex: Your My Site Blog). The feature related to the My Site blog won’t be activated in your My Site until you start using the blog in your My Site.

  2. A user cannot follow a site, a person, a tag or a document without having a My Site set up for him first. If you try to do it, SharePoint will throw an error stating that you don’t have a My Site yet and will prompt you to create one.
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