Have you seen your Facebook news feed lately? I mean, really take a good, hard look at it? What do you see?
Whenever I browse my news feed, I notice several trends:
* I have more Likes of businesses and personal interests than I do Friends.
* Updates are negative, offensive or just plain depressing. This is true for both business updates and those from personal contacts.
* I see fewer and fewer updates from family and friends who have either gotten too busy to post updates, lost interest in Facebook, or found another way to connect with their friends.
* There are more updates from businesses promoting their products than there are updates from my contacts.
The reason I joined Facebook in the first place was to stay in touch with friends, former and current co-workers and old classmates that I had not seen in a while. Little did I know my constant Liking of companies and news organizations would develop into an avalanche of information that I am now trying to dig myself out from.
Obviously, in my line of work as a writer, I do a lot of reading and research. So it’s important for me to follow multiple news organizations covering the latest trends in the industries I cover – real estate, health and fitness, writing, and career development, as well as current social and political news. Naturally, my news feed is filled with updates, almost to the point that updates from my friends and family are getting buried in the “noise.” If it wasn’t for Facebook’s practice to list posts from my family and friends when I first open the platform, I probably would not see their updates at all.
The only problem is I wind up scrolling through my news feed twice – first to browse the updates from my personal contacts, then a second time through (after selecting the Most Recent in the News Feed menu in the left side bar) to see stories in chronological order. Going through the feed twice is a bit of a pain, but the news junkie in me wants to be sure I don’t miss any potentially important news items.
Add to that the retailers I have Liked over the years, and I’m overloaded with advertising and new product offers. It has all gotten to be too much, so now I am taking steps to declutter my Facebook news feed. Here’s how.
Problem 1: Too many angry, offensive posts from friends. They mean well, but let’s face it, you aren’t going to see eye to eye with everyone you know. And people are free to express their different viewpoints. But if someone posts mean, spiteful memes about others, shares articles from questionable sources or spouts angry rhetoric, you don’t have to put up with it.
Solution: Hide their posts. The next time you see their update, roll your mouse over the upper right corner of the text box. A little downward arrow will appear. Click on the arrow to display a menu of options. You have the choice to Unfollow them, which means you will no longer be connected to them, or Hide Posts, which means you will still be connected but won’t see their updates in your news feed. Or you can go to their page, click on the downward arrow on the Following button, and select Hide Posts. It will accomplish the same thing.
Problem #2: Declutter the advertisers and news sources in your feed. If you are like me, you probably Liked quite a few businesses for their products and services. It may have been awhile since you Liked them, which means it might be a good idea to review your list of Likes to see if you still want to follow them.
Solution: Unfollow or hide posts of businesses. Much like you did for your list of friends, you can also hide posts from businesses you know longer support or haven’t posted updates in a while. An easy way to do this is to go to your profile page. Under the main menu by your profile photo, select the More option. On the menu that appears, select the Likes option. It will open a page with all the businesses you like. As you scroll down the list, you’ll notice that each business has two buttons: Liked and Followed with a check mark next to each. Selecting those two buttons will remove the check mark, and you will no longer be getting updates from them in your news feed.
This process isn’t all that time consuming, maybe 15 minutes depending on how long your list is. But by going through this process every few months, it will feel like you are decluttering your closet or cleaning out your book shelf. You’ll feel lighter and freer and open up space in your news feed for things that are most important to you, things like updates from your Facebook family and friends.