Cleaning Up Your Facebook News Feed

By now you are already suffering from all the junk that can clog up your news feed on Facebook. Everything from FarmVille and Bejeweled to endless likes of photos and other content.

Did you know that any photos or articles that were “shared” with you by a friend who “liked” it exposes your comments to public view, searchable by all of the search engines? Imagine making a comment you thought only a select group of folks were going to see only to find out that it has been indexed and is available in full view of the entire world.

Are you nervous yet??? I am. One of my serious fears about this social network experience is losing control of my content. For this reason, I try to subscribe to the rule that everything I post should be written as if the entire world will see it. Sometimes, I forget that rule. Fortunately, it hasn’t bitten me in the posterior… yet.

One of the things you can do that can help is to put your friends into lists. Granted, you probably already have your friends in the already defined Family, Close Friends, and Acquaintances lists, but the full News Feed is totally unfiltered and Facebook has not seen fit to give you filtration controls over it. There is a workaround.The first thing you have to do is to setup a new list that will contain ALL of your friends. Finding out how to create a new list is something that Facebook has buried in their UI (user interface). Why, I don’t know. You have to hunt for it.

To create a new list, go to your Facebook home page. Look in the navigation bar on the left side. Near the very bottom you will see FRIENDS. If you don’t see FRIENDS, you will likely see MORE with a downarrow next to it. Click it. Now you should see FRIENDS. Hover over FRIENDS with your mouse and click MORE that appears on the same line. Your lists will then open and you will see a button at the top labeled “+ CREATE LIST”.

Create a NEW list for all of your friends. I named mine “All Friends – Filtered.” Now you have to populate the list with all of your friends. Easy, right? Not so much. Facebook does not give you a “Select ALL” option when you open your list of friends. They want you to select each one individually. Who designs this stuff???

Not to worry. Some brilliant coder (and there are so many!) wrote an extension to the Chrome browser that will automagically select ALL of your friends for you. Go to this link to install the “Add All Friends” Chrome extension: http://www.chromeextensions.org/other/facebook-add-all-friends-to-invite/

One you have this extension installed, click on your list to open the empty feed. At the top you will see a button labeled “MANAGE LIST.” Click on the button and select “EDIT LIST”. Your Friends List will popup. Select “FRIENDS” from the button. Now scroll down the ENTIRE LIST of your friends to ensure they are loaded in the popup box. Once that is done, click on the “ADD” button that was added to your Chrome toolbar when you installed the “Add All Friends” extension. You’ll see that all of your friends are now selected. Click “FINISH” to save the list. Now you’re almost done.

Go back and select your list again. This time from the “MANAGE LIST” button, select “CHOOSE UPDATE TYPES.” Now click on any information you want to include/omit. Checkmarks will appear or disappear next to the specific update type.

You’re all done! Instead of using the News Feed to see all your friends, use your new “All Friends – Filtered” list. You can also move the list up in your navigation panel on the left of your home page. Is it easy? No, of course not.

To move your new list up to the top of your navigation list, first hover your mouse over the new list name in the left navigation menu and click the pencil. Now click “ADD TO FAVORITES.” Your list will now appear under your favorites near the top of the navigation menu. To move it higher, you need to highlight the list again, click on the pencil, and click on “REARRANGE.” You can now move your menu items up and down the list. Be sure to click “DONE” at the bottom of the list in order to save and lock the arrangement.

Now you’re done. Finally. I hope you find this a useful way to filter and control your full news feed. Remember to add your new friends to this list as well as to any other lists you may be using.

As for me, I’m thinking about moving to Google+. 😛

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Becky says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  2. Rob Alfieri says:

    You’re so welcome, Becky. I know it’s a PITA, but at least it can provide some relief until Facebook sees fit to “make it work.” 😀

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