How to filter Facebook: Don’t miss the Good Stuff (and remove the Bad)

[Tallulah does it again – this time revealing Facebook’s many options of how to engage with friends and remove those “stories” that annoy you]

I have a confession to make. The one time I actually remember many of my Facebook “friends” exist is on their birthdays when Facebook reminds me to wish them a happy one.

The combination of Facebook’s EdgeRank (ensuring you only see posts from people who you interact with regularly) and life in general (introducing you to many, diverse, people over its course) means one often ends up with an eclectic collection of Facebook friends who you never see nor hear from.

In some cases it’s just as well. EdgeRank has done you a service by filtering out all the posts about obscure hobbies you couldn’t care less about. In some cases, though, the formula gets it wrong. I might not care much for philately, nor comment on stamp-related posts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the person who makes them or want to hear their other news.

Luckily there are ways you can tailor your own News Feed, albeit obscure ones. Follow these steps and your Facebook experience will become instantly more interesting.

REMOVE THOSE YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE

Someone annoying you? Or just plain boring? There are a number of ways you can ensure you never have to see another post from them again

Option 1: Defriend

Facebook unfriend

Click on the person’s name or go on a search for their profile

On the top right of their profile you’ll see a little button saying “Friends” with a tick. Click on it and go down to the bottom where it says “Unfriend”. Click on it. Hasta la vista, baby.

Option 2: Remove posts

Sometimes you don’t want to take measures quite that drastic. You want to remain friends with someone but possibly never have to hear from them again. Or perhaps you don’t mind hearing from them as long as it’s not inspirational pictures with cheesy quotes. There are two ways to go about removing the posts without removing the person.

· The first is to follow the above steps but instead of clicking on “Unfriend”, click on “Show in News Feed” to deselect it. You can also go to “Settings” just below that to select exactly which updates to not see (for instance you can choose to see life events but not photos or Farmville invites).

Facebook hide story

· The second is done from your News Feed the instant you see a post you don’t like. Hover over that post and you’ll see a little down arrow in the right hand corner. Click on it, then click on “Hide…” The post will disappear and in its place you’ll see this:

Facebook hide story

You can click on “Change what updates you get from <name>” to select exactly what updates you’d rather not be subjected to.

Option 3: Add to a list

The third option is the most complex but probably the most effective. Facebook categorises those who you add as “Friends” into lists – or types of friends. This is mostly to aid you with privacy (for example you can share posts with all your friends EXCEPT people from work). It’s also useful in aiding you to filter.

Facebook has a cleverly hidden tool that automatically adds people who you never interact with to a list called Acquaintances. The easiest way to access this tool is to delete a post from your News Feed following the previous instructions. You’ll see that after you’ve hidden the post you get offered the chance to “Organize who you see in your News Feed”. Click on that and it will take you to a wizard that will show you all the random people you never speak to and let you add them to this list in bulk.

Facebook Friend

You can also do this manually, and create your own friends lists:

Go to your Facebook homepage (you can access this easily by clicking on the Facebook logo), scroll down until you see “Friends” in the left-hand column. If it’s not there, click on “More” and it will appear.

Hovering over “Friends” will bring up a clickable “More” next to it. Click on that.

You will be taken to a page where you can see all your lists. Facebook will have automatically created a few for you based on who you interact with and where you work. You can click on any of them to edit them. Adding people to Acquaintances means you’ll see less updates from them.

Facebook Friend

Every list has management options on the top that allow you to choose who’s on your list and what updates you receive from the list. You could, for instance, create an entire list of people with children and select to never see photos from them.

ENSURE YOU SEE THOSE YOU DO WANT TO SEE

If it’s very important to you to see every update from a person or Page, you may want to consider adding them to an Interest list. However, there are other ways you can tell Facebook that you’re interested in a certain person’s updates.

1: Add them to a close friends list

Following the instructions above go to your Friends Lists. Click on Close Friends and then go to Manage List on the top right. You can add all the important people in your life to this list by going to “Edit list”. You’ll also see, beside Manage List, there’s the option to get notifications whenever someone on that list posts something new, just in case you’re not staring at your news feed 24/7. Just a side note, if you get arrested for stalking I will deny all responsibility.

2: Make sure you’re subscribed to all their updates

There’s no quick and easy way to do this I’m afraid. You’ll have to go to the person’s Facebook profile and click on the button that says “Friends” on the top right. Make sure “Show in News Feed” is selected, then click on “Settings” below that and select “All Updates”.

3. Interact with their posts a lot

Facebook Friend

Lastly, the best way to ensure that EdgeRank works in your favour is to make sure you always like and/or comment on those posts you appreciate seeing, whether they’re from your friends or from brands. It’s the easiest way of telling Facebook “I like what I see, please don’t hide it from me”.

clip_image001Tallulah is the social media manager at ITWeb. She likes long walks along digital highways, Instagrammed sunsets and insightful Twitter conversations. She tweets as @tallulahlucy.

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