Sunday, May 27, 2012

How to Tune Up Your Facebook News Feed

Is your news feed a long list of crap you don't want to dig through to find the few posts you actually want to read? You may have too many friends but it's more likely that you're not filtering anything at all. As much as we complain that Facebook does or does not let me see things from our friends, you do have quite a bit of control over how much or how little someone gets into your News Feed.
The News Feed is where most people spend their Facebook time. It is the list of stories that your friends and followed companies publish, and Facebook curates this list for you using a lot of math to determine what might be important.
Facebook does a decent job of deciding what's important and what's not, but your help is necessary. If you have a friend who posts mostly crap to your news feed, you can tell Facebook to filter out anywhere from some to all of their posts. Just hover over their message in your News Feed and watch for a downward-facing arrow to appear on the upper-right side.
You'll see that you're subscribed to the person who posted the message and now you have a bunch of choices about what you get to see.
If you are totally annoyed with a single piece of content (because perhaps it's that irritating photo that 16 other people already posted), you can click Hide Story. That removes the single story from view. Not to worry, Facebook will let you undo any of this if needed.
If you think the story is a piece of spam (and this applies more to companies in your News Feed than your individual friends) you can Report Story or Spam. That will also Hide the story like above, but be a little cautious, because it does something else under Facebook's covers. If the same story or individual or company gets too many Spam reports, Facebook will start throttling down the number of stories that person or company gets into News Feeds.
You have the option to receive All Updates, Most Updates, or Only Important Updates so Facebook knows how much to show you from that person. No more complaints that Facebook only shows you some things from a friend. You can demand that Facebook show it all to you.
Additionally, you can Unsubscribe from that person's updates altogether (without unfriending them). That means you remain Facebook friends, but absolutely no stories from them will appear in your News Feed. For that friend who posts nothing but cute cat videos, you can Unsubscribe and not see this anymore.

Depending on what the post was, and how it was published, you may see one or two other choices in there as well. If the post was a photo, you can ask not to see Photos anymore, but still get everything else. Or if your friend posted from an iPhone, you can ask that you never see their iPhone-posted content again. Not things I would use terribly often, but could be of use if you really want some advanced News Feed management.
So now, if you are tired of seeing Yahoo News in your News Feed, or you'd like fewer updates from that girl who uses Facebook a bit too much, you know how to get there. This is a great way to build a news feed without constant posts from people who annoy you.
Try it; I guarantee you'll feel like a Facebook pro.