There are two kinds of people; those who hate Facebook, but are on it anyway, and those who hate Facebook and actually stay off of it for months, maybe years. I don’t know anyone who gushes about how great Facebook is. Usually, it’s complaints about online drama. From that awkward, vague status someone posted that you ignored and thus got blacklisted for, to the friend you hardly see who constantly hogs your feed with inspirational memes, plus Facebook’s desire to switch layouts every couples months or so, it seems there’s a lot to hate about the largest online social network. But it seems very few can actually make the break for good.
So is it possible to take the good of Facebook and reduce or even eliminate the distractions, drama and dumbness? To open up your feed and not immediately want to smack either your forehead or that of someone else? Let me share with you seven ways I owned my Facebook settings like a boss, and reduced my aggravation to almost nothing.
1. Hide the ticker on the upper right hand of your screen.
Many times I found myself reading heated conversations between people I didn’t even know, all because someone I did know commented and it showed up in my ticker. “Why am I getting mad at you stranger with your own opinion I despise when I was just coming on to find a recipe I shared?!?” It was a huge distraction and I’ve never missed it. If you have a large display you’ll need to hide your whole sidebar.
2.Close your chat or restrict friends you can chat with.
In the same vein, I keep my chat closed. Several times I’d leave Facebook up and running and someone would try to chat and I wouldn’t see it and than I’d feel bad. Or, someone would want to chat and I couldn’t but I felt bad ignoring them. If I know I need to talk to someone, I message them and if they’re online and respond quickly, I can always open up chat. And if there’s some people you NEED to chat with, you can select to turn on chat for just those lucky folks.
You can access these settings at the bottom of your sidebar or at the bottom of the left side column.
3. Hide people who make your feed miserable.
All of us have discovered friends who, while we love them in person, are annoying as hell on Facebook. The best thing to do without unfriending them (which might make things even worse if you know what I mean), is simply hide them partially or completely from your feed. They will be unaware of you doing so except that you no longer comment on all their hourly political or martial rant posts.
If you visit their home page, you can click on the ‘Friends’ button to select your options. If you want to remove the majority of their posts from your feed, go to settings.
From there you can select what you’d like to see. If you want to follow your cousin’s photos but not read every status about what he or she ate you can. If however you find that too many annoying posts are getting through this filter you can take it a step further.
Click on the little downwards arrow to the top right of the status and you’ll be given an option to remove it from your feed. If you have small children who sometimes glance over your shoulder, it’s good to know you can hide that graphic photo of animal abuse posted by a well-meaning friend.
You’ll also be given the option to hide all posts from that person, or posts like it from other people. When I learned I could hide all Farmville updates this way, I almost kissed my computer monitor. Okay so I did….moving on…
4. Sort people into ‘Friend’ lists so you can hide them, but find them easier later.
Maybe you have a group of friends from your wilder younger days that you want to keep in touch with, but who’s daily status updates are no longer in line with your view of thinking. A great feature is to lump all those friends into one group.
Find the ‘Friends’ section on your left hand sidebar. When you hover your mouse just to the right of the heading, you’ll get the option for “More.” Click that to see all your groups of friends or create new ones. Facebook will have some lists set up for you, but it’s easy to make your own by clicking on the ‘Create List’ button.
The nice thing about lists is, once you’ve hidden these people from your feed, you can still easily find them again if a reunion or night out comes up. Just click on the list to see a feed of all the friends you’ve included. To add people to the list just visit the ‘Friends’ button on their homepage and select the list you wish to add them to from the drop down menu, then happily remove them from you feed. Avoid the sorority sister who blows up your feed with bathroom selfies without the guilt/awkwardness of not knowing about her last two divorces next time you hang out.
5. Prevent rude commentors by restricting who can view your posts.
Maybe you know people who feel Facebook is the perfect medium to make nasty comments about your daughter’s prom dress or spinach dip recipe. Let’s be honest, they don’t have the guts to say this stuff in person but online, anything goes. Or maybe, you had a great party but couldn’t invite everyone. If posting party pictures is going to upset some fussy family members there’s hope. Simply restrict who can view what you post.
Just click that little icon just below your name. Old school pictures? Just share them with high school friends. Or create custom settings so all your raunchy posts cannot be viewed by family members.
6. Get notifications via email or text to prevent you from checking Facebook too much.
Lastly, maybe the problem is Facebook is just too much of a time sink for you. I get it. When I’m tired and want mindless entertainment, I get lost on Facebook for a bit. And sometimes I need some help letting go.
The easiest thing to do is check Facebook less often, however, if you have a fear you’re going to miss an important message or posting on your wall, there are settings for that as well.
Click on that little gear and open your ‘Account Settings’. Then look left and click that little globe to change your ‘Notification’ settings.
From there you can choose what notifications to receive in your email or via text message. If you absolutely must know when you get a friend request, get it sent to your phone. Or get your Facebook messages sent to your Gmail account to keep yourself from checking both constantly. I especially like this feature during Lent or any time I go on a Facebook fast. I know that if someone is trying to reach me via Facebook because they’re unaware of my absence (or are just trying to lead me astray) I’ll still get the message and can respond.
7. Set a timer and stay off Facebook once time is up.
And if all else fails and you find yourself wasting hours on Facebook and walking away frustrated because someone wasn’t instantly converted by your witty, astute and yet concise comment, you can always take the nuclear option. (Calm down. It’s just a timer that prevents you from viewing certain websites after a given amount of time.)
If you’re going to spend time on Facebook, don’t close the window feeling worse than when you opened it. Take it a few steps at a time and within a short while, you’ll have a feed that’s sure to please. And if you’d rather not spend any time on Facebook, you can click it back to Jen’s for more statuses of the Quick Take variety.