Making Facebook Work for You :: Volume Two

Wherein I build upon my previous Making Facebook Work for You post and share another tip for controlling content on Facebook.  We all appreciate having a little more control over what we see and how we interact with people and content on Facebook right?  So let’s grab a little bit of it.

My first post was all about the list-y goodness.  And I’m still a BIG fan of lists.  It is the single easiest way for me to keep up with everyone I want to connect with and organize the content that comes through my News Feed.  So if you haven’t made friends with listing, I would highly recommend it.

Today I want to share a tip about interacting with Pages.  This is something you may have discovered on your own already but it’s one that is relatively New to Me.  And it’s worth a share because the dynamic for what we see on Facebook has changed a bit with the implementation of Timeline.

Have you noticed that some Pages you’ve liked don’t seem to appear in your News Feed very often?  Do you ever feel like you’re missing posts from people (or Pages)?   You may find yourself wondering “Hey, I haven’t seen any posts from So-And-So lately”.  Only to wander over to their actual FB page or profile to see they’ve actually been quite chatty and you’ve just missed seeing it.  

Or maybe you run a Facebook Page and have noticed a downtick in interactions with your Page? 

It’s not just your imagination.

You see, the gurus at Facebook have developed some pretty smart programs that influence what we see in our News Feeds, especially with regard to Page content.  Generally speaking, while most of us don’t really know *exactly* what factors dictate what we see or *precisely* how it works, we do have a decent idea of what makes News Feed content tick.   The best information we have indicates these programming formulas and algorithms are designed to work in a way that builds upon how we interact on Facebook.  With What and With Whom.  And How Often.  And in What Way.

And in this context, “interact”  means “like”, comment, tag, post on walls, and all that other fun stuff we users of Facebook do.

These programs have figured that what we interact with MOST is what we would want to see more of, right?  Makes sense.

This works on an individual level and on a Pages level.

And it’s not necessarily anything New New, especially with regard to our friends lists.  We’re kind of used to it by now.  This kind of “interaction based” organization of content is actually the driving force behind that “Top Stories” option for the News Feed.  It’s FB programming trying to show you what they THINK you want to see because the posts are getting a lot of interaction from others you know or maybe you yourself have interacted with said person before.

{Incidentally, as an aside, hopefully by now you know that you can control this setting too.  FB has finally responded to complaints about that and there now (again) exists the option to choose “Most Recent” instead of “Top Stories” for the viewing of your main News Feed.  YAY.  And Hooray.}

This means you’re likely to see posts from your BFF in your News Feed more often and more regularly because you’re likely to “interact” with her posts more regularly and more often.

And that part is great.

But it’s (more than) possible that your friends list isn’t filled only with people you interact with regularly and consistently.  You may have many more acquaintances, community connections or even gaming friends that aren’t as near and dear to your heart in a personal way and so you’re not posting to or with them as often as BFF.

Like Dear Sweet Aunt Edna for example (who is super hip and with it and therefore has a FB profile herself now).  Dear Sweet Aunt Edna is certainly dear and sweet and super hip, but maybe she’s not a person you interact with regularly.  And so it’s likely she (or anyone else who you don’t actively engage with on a regular basis) may not appear in your feed when she posts.  Still, she’s someone you don’t want to ignore or pass over when she finally makes a post about something.

And this is true for Pages you have liked too.

And what you see from Pages in your News Feed is even more rooted in interactions.  It’s all about “EdgeRank“.  Which basically means: The Pages you interact with regularly and consistently are likely to appear in your News Feed more regularly.  Whereas all other Pages are likely to fall off your News Feed map.

So a page that is like your BFF (one you “interact” with via likes, comments, and such) is more likely to appear in your News Feed when they make a new post, whereas The Useful Page But One You Don’t “Talk” To is likely to fall away from your News Feed.

This means the onus is on the Pages and Brands you like to create engaging content to keep you interacting with their Pages so that their content shows regularly in News Feeds..  Which is good.  More engaging content is good.

But I’m a Page lurker.  And I suspect there are many more like me.  I don’t necessarily post on pages, but I *do* want to know what they are saying.  So I’ve been missing content from Pages I have liked.  Bummer.

So. What is a Person (Who-Doesn’t-Want-To-Post-On-Pages-All-The-Time-In-Order-To-See-Them-In-Feed) to do?

Here are two ways to Manage Pages (and friends) content.

One solution is:  The lists (trust me: you totally want to make friends with lists).  This is an especially  great way to solve this problem for keeping up with individual friends or groups of friends.  Lists will help ensure you see anyone you want to see.  And it’s the best way to make sure you’re keeping up with posts from BFF and Dear Aunt Edna or any of the other people you don’t interact with regularly but who you still want to pay attention to.

And this is how I chose to keep up with Pages I was interested in before I discovered this New to Me thing.  I had created a list called Pages.  And added all those Pages I wanted to “lurk”, quietly following their content.  And all was well and merry.  Worked beautifully.

And then one day…poof!  My “Pages” list was gone.

Only it wasn’t.  It was just someplace New to Me.

And this is where the second solution lives:

Now there emerged an Interests List.  This is a new-ish feature from Facebook.  You’ll find it in your left sidebar.  You may need to click “More” to reveal it.

And Facebook placed my “Pages” list there.  Look! Yay!


You can build and use your interest lists much like you would any other list.  Only it’s most valuable and useful for organizing the Pages you’d like to keep up with.

You can create different Interest Lists for different Interests.  I’ve created one for my “favorite” pages.  It includes business connections, scrapbooking and storytelling related pages, and a few other uplifting pages.  And by clicking “Manage lists” you can further control what content you want to see from your Pages.

You can create any of your own pages here:

Simply click “Add Interests” to create a new Interests List.

To add Pages to your Interest List go to any Page you’ve liked (or do this when you *first* like a page) and hover over “Like” (or “Liked” as the case may be).  There you can add the Page to a specific Interest List.  You can also decide to show this page (or not) in your News Feed by (un)checking “Show in News Feed”:

You can also add any page to an Interests list this way.  Under any cover photo, toward the right of your screen you will see the “Like” and Message Interface.  Next to that is a wee “gear”.  Click on it and a drop down appears.  Here you have the option to Add to Interest Lists as well:

With your Interests Lists YOU are in control of what you want to see and how you want to organize it.  You can be sure to keep up with any Page you hope to follow regardless of how often you actively “interact” with it.

Recently during National Scrapbooking Day, I found my Interest Lists to be invaluable.  I was able to keep up with all the News from my Favorite Pages and didn’t miss a thing.  And I make really good use of it when hoping to find a little inspiration in just a few clicks from one of my favorite uplifting pages.

I hope you will find this useful in your own Quest to Control Content.

(Here’s a link from FB help that further shows how you can control what you see in your feed: How do I control what I see in my News Feed?)

Making Facebook Work for You

Otherwise known as: How To Best Control Your Content on Facebook.  OR:  How To Best Navigate Recent Changes To The Facebook Feed.  OR:  How To Show Your Facebook Feed Who Is Boss.  OR:  How To Spend More Time Organizing Your Facebook Than You Really Want To But So That You Can See MORE Of What You Want To See And Less Of What You Don’t, All The While Protecting Your Privacy As Best As Possible.

Whew?  Whew!  Goodness I am a master of run-on sentences even when speaking in Topic Headings.

ANYway.  I’ve been seeing a lot of…unhappy and some grumpy (and some giggle-worthy cartoon commentaries)…in my Facebook feed since Facebook rolled out their latest changes to the masses yesterday.

And I totally understand the frustration and the “Ugh. Another change to get used to” or the “Boo on you FB! Stop messing with my FB” sentiments.   I do.  I really really get it.  Because about a month ago, when my feed and content magically changed overnight,  I realized I was unwillingly part of a “test group” of Facebook users for these new changes to the feed and format.  And I really was not a fan of the changes.  I sent emails and “feedbacks” and I never send emails and feedbacks.  I even joined a group of fellow annoyed “testers”.  I’m usually really laid back about changes to Facebook.  But that’s how irritated I was with these changes at first.  Especially because when my feed changed initially..there were no listing options.  None.  Just the annoying mush of a single feed with Facebook determining what content was a “top story” and not discriminating between content I am interested in and content I am not interested in.   And that ticker.  Blugg.  I was so frustrated, I thought to myself (more than a few times) “That’s it! I’m done with Facebook.  It’s Google + all the way for me now”.

And while I do love Google + and Twitter and Flickr and Tumblr and Pinterest and this blog, I still have love for Facebook in ways that I don’t for other platforms so far because of the options for keeping up with family and friends across the globe and interacting with all of you and with others who share love for scrapbooking and storytelling.  It’s been a good intersection of personal and business for me.  I have time and connections and interactions invested there.  So I wasn’t ready to just shun the BookFace just yet.    I wanted to try to make the changes work for me.  At least as much as I could.

And I was able to do just that.  Finally Facebook brought back the listing feature and with it came a bit of control over content that I had lost.  And now, apart from that Stalker Ticker (which I loathe with a fiery passion), I have been able to get to a place of actually not hating the NuFB (as sweet Christine called it today).

In fact, I think I have more control over my content now than I ever have before.  And I rather like that.  And I’m feeling laid back again.  Because every little thing gonna be alright.

Soooo.  I thought I’d take a little time to share what little I have figured out and what adaptations I’ve made in the past few weeks in my Facebook experience with the hopes that it may help others adjust or customize their FB feeds too and bring a little bit of the happy back.   Please keep in mind, this is what works for me.  There may be other (and better) ways to Make Facebook Behave.  I know some prefer to make use of third party applications or browser boosties to make the best of their FB experience.

But here’s how I am doing it.   And it’s all about the Lists.  You may be familiar with lists because it’s not really *that* new, but it has been generally underutilized for a lot of people.  I went list crazy when they were first introduced and then was in list withdrawal when they temporarily disappeared and now I am living happily ever after with Lists again.  And find them even more crucial than ever before since the rollout of NuFB.

Lists can be a fabulous avenue for controlling content and seeing what YOU want to see when YOU want to see it.  I have made good use of my lists to keep up with my different “circles” of friends and contacts.  And once you are familiar with this organizational option, it’s really quite simple to use and modify.

Here’s the Listy Lowdown:

When looking at the “home/news feed page” you will see “Lists” in the left sidebar. If you’ve not made any lists before, you will still see a couple of what FB calls “smart lists”. They include any family you’ve listed, and “work”  or “education” you’ve listed and two new ones “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” — seems they are kind of mimicking the idea of circles in Google + but that’s neither here nor there.

ANYway.  Next to “Lists”,  just to the right of it, you will see “More” — click on that.  If you don’t readily see it, be sure you are hovering over the word “Lists” (hovering is the key to getting the most out of FB apparently.  They like The Hover).  And it will list any lists you have.  And you will see a button for “Create a List”.  You can create a new one…call it anything you like.   And then add people (or pages!) to the list.   I have a list of scrapping friends, military friends, church friends, and I made one called Pages that I am beginning to add pages I like to keep up with on. (this is important to me because they have done away with the default “pages” list option for now and I still want to keep up with pages I’ve “liked”).

Then when you have your list..you can click on it in the sidebar and the center feed area will show the “feed” of that list. And all the stories will show in chronological order. As far as I can tell so far, there is no top stories mumbojumbo in the individual lists.  There is also no ticker in the right sidebar (so far) when viewing a list.

You can also “filter” the content of your lists. When you are looking at the feed of any list you have created you can click on the “Manage List” button in the top right corner. From there you can indicate what kind of updates you want to see from people in this list (Games, Updates, Photos, etc.) by clicking on “Choose Update Types”.

Here’s an example of one of my custom lists:

You can see in my sidebar the first several lists that I have and how my “Pages” custom list looks so far.   When I am viewing this list..I see the feed only of the people (or pages) I’ve included on my list. I have set the content to show only the updates and photos.  But you could easily create a list of friends you like to play games with (if you’re into the game-y stuff) and include the Games information.  Or you could limit it to updates only.  Or you could include everything.  It’s all up to you.

A couple of handy listy notes:

* You can create a custom list for any subset of people in your friends’ list that you want: scrapping friends, gaming friends, pages, what have you.

* You can modify your list at any time by clicking on the list name and then the “Manage List” button.

* You can add people to multiple lists (for example I have my mom in my family list and my fellowship list)

* When you add a person to a FB profile “smart list” –which is any list that FB has started from the information you’ve shared in your profile (work, education, family relationships and NOT a custom list you create) it will send a “notice” to the person you have added asking them to confirm/respond.  When they do, the “relationship” will be reflected on their profile too.   I learned this through trial and error.  If you prefer not to approach things this way or make an imposition on the friends you add to these FB generated lists, you can simply create your own custom list.  Custom lists are for you only.  They don’t “ask” your friends to confirm the categorization of your list.  The exception is the FB generated “Close Friends” list and the “Acquaintances” list.  You can seemingly add people to these lists without their notification.

*If you make use of the FB generated “Close Friends” list, FB will automatically send FB notifications (though I think this is only via FB itself and not email) of posts your besties make.  You can turn off these notifications if you prefer via the “Notifications” button for the Close Friends list. Simply uncheck it if notifications like this bother you.

*FB has also created a “Restricted” List.  I have not made much use of this feature (since I have tailored my privacy settings pretty specifically and don’t really feel the need to block people) but it is a handy one.  This is what FB says about its “restricted” list: “This list gives you an easy and private way to limit what you share with someone—without blocking or unfriending them. They won’t see the list name or be told they’re listed.”  SO you can list individuals here and their placement on the Restricted list will prevent them from seeing your updates unless you remove them from the list or specify a different list to receive the update.  And it may be a friendlier alternative to unfriending anyone who is especially annoying to you.

*when you are viewing one of your custom lists you can make a Status Update and it will share with only those on your list.  Woot!

*when you are viewing your regular News Feed or your profile itself, you can choose who sees an update or upload or what have you by clicking on the little “gear” and utilizing the drop down options.  You can choose to share with any list segment you’ve created or the usual generic “Friends” or “Public”.  Your default (as in you don’t pick anything specific) will share with whomever your privacy settings are set to share with.  For me this is also pretty specific, for some this is “public” (but really..please please please…unless you are a public celebrity of some sort and you want everyone to see everything, your privacy settings really shouldn’t be set to “public”).

Neato right?!


This approach does require a bit of extra work for organization from the off and maybe it feels a little unintuitive at first, but if you’re like me and really value control over your content and want to be sure you’re keeping up with everything you want to keep up with, you’ll probably find it worth your time.  If not, then I imagine you probably weren’t fussed about the changes to begin with (woot!).

The foundation for all of this is, of course, the privacy settings.  I really encourage you to set your privacy settings to a level you are comfortable with.  I am pretty stringent with my privacy.  I try to control as much as possible.  You may be more loosey goosey.  Whatever approach you take, just be aware of your options and know that generally speaking FB’s default way of doing things is NOT in an opt-in kind of way.  Your profile is pretty public-y by default vs. the other way around.

So check this often.  Because there are little changes that happen here and there that may compromise what your preferences are.

Hope this is helpful in some small measure!  Hope you have a Happy Wednesday!!!