I have noticed comments about the quality, or lack thereof, of posts on Facebook. Over time I have used a combination of Facebook and browser tools to improve the quality of posts I see in my Facebook Newsfeed. This is the first article, which describes how you see posts that you want instead of what Facebook, and their advertisers want you to see. I know that I get tired of seeing posts with links to articles such as “A List Of 21 Things That We Want You To Scan Over While We Display Ads On The Side!!” or “Take This Quiz To Find Out What Kind Of Advertising We Should Push Out To You.” The information in this article is current as of August 2014.
The first tip I have is how to use a Facebook feature to filter out posts based on your interests. The Facebook home page for each user shows posts that are selected from your friends, and pages you like. If you have a large friend list and a large number of pages you like, not all of your friends posts are going to be displayed in your Newsfeed. You can click on each friend to see their posts but this will take time and goes against how easy it is supposed to be to see how your Facebook friends are doing.
Facebook added in a feature that allows you to group friends and pages together so that you can see posts for a common theme. Some of these Lists are created automatically, such as one that pulls all your friends from your city into one list. When you click on the list for your city, in my case for San Diego, you will now see a subset of posts from your friends that live in the same area. If all of your friends live in your city, this doesn’t reduce the posts. However, you can create a custom list with a smaller set of friends. With the reduced set of friends and posts, the Facebook algorithm selects more posts from fewer people in order to make sure you have things to read. This means you are seeing more of your friends posts in one place without having to click on each friend to see what they’ve posted.
Custom lists are setup in the ‘FRIENDS’ section on your Facebook Home Page. Look for this section on the top left side of your Home page. The figure below shows what my ‘FRIENDS’ section looks like.
Find the section, hover the mouse pointer over the word ‘FRIENDS’ until you see ‘More’ on the right side. Hover the mouse over the ‘More’ until a hand appears. Click on ‘More’, that will bring up the screen where custom lists are created. See the figure below that shows the ‘More’ link.
After clicking on ‘More’ you will go to the screen that shows all of the lists for ‘FRIENDS’. The figure below shows what my Facebook ‘Friends’ screen looks like. If you haven’t created lists before you will see the Facebook default lists for Close Friends, Acquaintances and Restricted. To create a new list, click on the ‘+Create List’ button.
When the button is clicked, a dialog box will be displayed in your browser, see the figure below. Type in a name for your list and then type in the names of friends or pages that you would like to have as part of the list. As an example, you might have a list for people you know from work, another list might be for friends from school, another list might be for your church or for a club you belong to. I have a list for friends and pages for the neighborhood I live in called ‘Local’. Another list I have is for people who were associated with a company I used to work for. Each of my lists has a theme and a subset of my friends and pages that I like.
When adding in people, you can start typing the name and have a list of friends and pages displayed for selection. Either type in the full name or select the person from the displayed list, as shown in the figure below. Repeat typing in names and selecting until you have added in the people for your list. If you forget someone you can add it in later. Once you have the name and Members for the list, click on Create.
Once you have created the list and added people and pages for that topic, the list will now show up under the FRIENDS area. If there are new posts to that feed, it will show up as a number next to that list name. When you click on a list, it will be bolded and the posts associated with the people and pages in that list will be displayed in your newsfeed. For example, I have a list of friends associated with a comic author and his creative pursuits, Inktank, see bolded name on the left. When I click on that list I see their posts along with posts from the page of the author, Barry T. Smith. If I find someone new to the Inktank community I can add them in a box where the people and pages are listed, see area on right of the figure.
Now when I click on the ‘inktank’ list I will only see posts from that group, either people or the pages, or items they have shared from their friends, pages or games. Since the list is smaller than my regular newsfeed, I see more of the posts from the people on the list. Instead of having to click on each person I can click on the list and see a collection of posts that are together. This gives me more control over what I see and when I see it on Facebook.
Using lists helps me filter and see more of my friend’s posts, including friends who might not post that often. I also have friends that appear in multiple lists. This increases the chance that I will see posts from people who don’t post often.
Lists can also be used to send out posts to a specific group without spamming everyone that you are friends with. When you are viewing the posts for a list, click on the ‘Update Status’ text box. You will see the list name next to the Post button, this indicates who will see the post. In the figure below I clicked on the Status box in my Family list so now it is showing that the post will be shared only with people in my Family list.
If you click on the status box on your home page, the default is to publish your posts for everyone to view. You can choose a list to share with. In the figure below I have started a status update and started selecting a list of friends to share the post with, in this case the Family list. However, understand that even though you only share a post with a select group of people in that group, you can choose to share the post with others. Remember, whenever you post something on the internet it can be shared with people that you do not expect.
Using lists is helpful in managing the post content you see and has helped me in seeing more posts from my friends than I did with just the regular Newsfeed.