I’ve spent the last few days learning how to hack, tweak and manage my newsfeed so I get more of the things I actually care about, and less of the things I find annoying and unnecessary.
And there’s a lot of unnecessary stuff. Like the “A Boy Walks into a Restaurant – What Happens Next Will Change Your Life” articles that do not change my life. Or finding out my Game of Thrones warrior name.
I am friends with people I hardly know who share all the little details of their lives. Sometimes they’re fun to read, but most of the time I don’t care.
The bottom line is, Facebook can be a drain and a time suck and I completely understand why people would want to give it up.
On the other hand, I love reading about my girlfriend completing her first half marathon. Or watching a video of a friend performing his original music. I love how, with a single Facebook post, my sister and I were able to collect over 50 boxes worth of relief goods in two weeks for the victims of last year’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
What a phenomenal thing.
The fact is, there is no better way to stay connected to friends, family, acquaintances, news and trends.
I, like many of you, have connections from here, there and everywhere (high school in the Philippines, college in Washington DC, a stint in Chicago, jobs with 7 different companies and now, California suburbia), so Facebook, for me, is a good and necessary thing.
We can teach Facebook to show us only things we want to see. Facebook wants us to. We can very easily unfollow people, hide posts, block things and customize our feed.
So let’s get our Facebook news feeds under control.
It’s SUPER SIMPLE, I promise. Are you in?
Cleaning Up Your Facebook News Feed
Right now, Facebook is showing you things it thinks you want to see based on your previous behavior and interactions – comments, likes, shares etc.
You need to tell it what you want to see, and what you want to hide.
1. GET RID OF STUFF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE
To the right of any status update, you’ll see a little arrow with a drop down menu of options. Use this to tell Facebook what you no longer want to see on your feed.
You’ll see the same options with your friends – you can hide their posts or unfollow them without having to “unfriend” them.
2. CHOOSE THE THINGS YOU WANT TO SEE
Manually create Close Friends lists (here) or choose to get notifications whenever your friends or a brand/community page share an update. This way, more of the stuff you care about will appear on your feed. And on that note, continue to like, comment and share the things you really enjoy.
3. BLOCK THE DISTRACTIONS, IRRITATIONS & SPOILERS
Here are a few more options for getting rid of more distractions and annoyances:
Block annoying things (Facebook Setting): Block apps, app invites and event invites from certain people by adjusting a few settings (here):
Don’t Get Sucked in By The Articles, Videos & Links (Get Pocket App). Download Pocket as a browser extension, and on your mobile device. You can easily save all of the content you want to read to your account to access later from any device. All of those articles you see on Facebook that you normally click through on? Just pocket it and read it later. I use this EVERY day.
Block Specific Subjects & Spoilers (Rather Extension for Chrome): Election time posts can be particularly aggravating. As are spoilers for sports or TV shows. Download Rather, a free Google Chrome extension that lets you block certain keywords from appearing in your feed. I tested this out during the Spain-Chile World Cup disaster of a match, hiding any mention of Spain, Espana, Chile, and World Cup. The app did a nice job hiding any game references with approximately a 1/2 second lag time. Tip: If you want to avoid spoilers, divert your eyes for a second or two before you read your newsfeed.
There you have it – the easy way to clean up your Facebook account without quitting it completely.
And if you need one more reason to freshen up your feed, a study just came out claiming that the things we see on our Facebook news feed rubs off on how we express ourselves (negative things on or feed influences negative posts and vice versa), so in our crazy world of stress, work and life, the little things we can do to make our environments even a bit more more positive do make a difference.