How To Get The Facebook Feed YOU Want (Sort Of)

posted in: Facebook, Social Media 46 comments

Two posts about Facebook recently caught my attention – one about liking everything in the newsfeed for two days (and more, such as related news), and one about not liking a single thing on Facebook for two weeks. Most recently, someone tried hiding everything they saw in their newsfeed (yes, you CAN do that too!). All were social experiments to see how their Facebook feed will change, in an attempt to ‘figure out’ Facebook’s ever-changing, mysterious algorithm on what you end up seeing on your newsfeed.

I understand the theories behind these experiments, and even nodded along to many of their conclusions (basically, don’t like everything, comment more, and in that last one, hiding everything doesn’t seem to work so well). 

I say you do what works for you. Like, comment, hide, or just not log in to Facebook for a month. But please don’t make comments like (and I paraphrase), “Commenting is the new ‘giving a shit,” because it minimizes how important likes can be to someone. 

Here’s what I said on my personal Facebook page.

“I understand the theory behind commenting on Facebook posts, rather than just liking them. But I saw someone say, commenting is the new ‘giving a shit’, and that made me just a little mad. Know this now, Facebook friends (and Facebook pages that I do like), when I give you a like, it means I’m giving you a hug/ fist bump/ high five. I DO give a shit. I am not merely clicking away because it’s easy. I go through my feed, I click through to profiles, I read and peruse with time and care. So, by all means, comment away, but don’t dismiss likes.”

I mean every word. I do not like things willy-nilly. I do not do it because it’s easier than commenting. I comment when I have something to add to the conversation, or that I simply must say how gorgeous my friends’ kids are. And what do you know, I can still like and comment, yay me! I don’t want to comment for the sake of commenting. Some things just needs to be liked, because I do like (and LOVE) that funny status update, or that gorgeous sunset picture, or you sharing a link to a story I may have missed, or that hilarious cat YouTube video. 

I also hide things, but usually only when I am tired of seeing repeated postings of issues that I am either not interested in, or that I disagree with. Yes, I hide things I don’t necessarily agree with, but not immediately. It’s only after the 10th time someone has posted about the Israel/ Gaza conflict from an uninformed point of view, that I feel the need to hide that. Or if you’re a fan of Matt Walsh (the blogger, not the actor). I also hide people’s game updates, because I don’t have time for that. 

Do I miss things? Yes, because I only have so much time to be on Facebook. Do I mind? Sometimes. But it’s not the end of the world, I’ll catch up eventually. 

At the end of the day, I’m pretty happy with my newsfeed. I can’t control Facebook or its algorithm. I can control my own experience to a degree, and here’s how I do it. You can feel free to try some of my methods, or not at all. It’s how YOU want your newsfeed to look like. 

How-to-get-the-Facebook-newsfeed-you-really-want

Image via Pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, edited by me.

1. Click like when you really like something, not just because it’s someone you like, and you feel obliged.

2. Comment when you have something to add to the conversation, or you simply want to say, “I love your baby’s thighs because, BABY THIGHS.”

3. Do both, like and comment, why not?

4. Like links to stories only after you’ve read them, if you have time to read them. Or save them for later – Facebook lets you do that now! If you read it later and forget who shared it, that’s okay, not the end of the world.

5. Like videos only after you’ve watched them. 

6. If you’re missing updates from your friends or pages you like, go to their profile or page, and click ‘Follow’, or ‘Get Notifications’ respectively.

7. Create Interest Lists for the various pages you like, so you can check back on the Pages Feed (in the left sidebar), at your own leisure. I have several lists – one for blogs I follow, another for close friends’ blogs I really don’t want to miss, yet another for brands/ companies and lastly, one for news (such as Huffington Post, Mashable etc.)

8. Quit approving friend requests from people you don’t really know. Chances of you mutual interaction is usually low, in my personal opinion (and experience). 

9. Interact more with friends you really love. The more you like and comment on their posts, the more of their posts you see. 

10. Hide items you really don’t want to see, like if someone likes a page that you’re not interested in, or if a friend over-posts links to the latest panda videos, and you hate pandas (how could you hate pandas?!). 

11. Install an Ad Blocker so you don’t see all those annoying, irrelevant ads in your right sidebar. I use AdGuard AdBlocker, a Chrome extension. It applies to all websites you visit, and you can customize it accordingly. 

12. The most extreme thing you can do, if you’re really sick of someone’s updates, or you disagree on fundamental issues – unfriend them. Last resort. But do it if you must. 

This is by no means the be all and end all for getting the kind of stories you want to see. Facebook will insert things in there that they think you want or should see. The best you can do, is try different things to get the result you want. Or as close as you can get it. Good luck!

How do you manage your Facebook newsfeed? Does it piss you off? Or you don’t care?

Alison
I am a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother to four - two boys, born December 2009, May 2012 and boy/ girl twins born September 2014. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world's biggest sports brands, I traded in launch parties, product launches, and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Aside from this blog, I am a contributing writer at Everyday Family. My writing has also been featured on Mamalode, Families In the Loop, andThe Huffington Post.
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  • August 23, 2014 J.Lee

    I feel a certain way about FB also. I’ve kicked all of my real-time friends off entirely. I don’t care that I’m not in the loop of every-little-thing that they think of all day because when we sit down for coffee or text or chat on the phone, we catch up. If they have an announcement, I’ll hear it next time, I’m good. And then I can really react in an appropriate way, not just flick past it while I’m bogged down with work or de-tangling pigtails. When I hear good news, I can respond in real time if I keep my friends real time.

    The very few people I keep on FB, I really have little to no chance of seeing/chatting with on a regular basis. Whether we are kept away from too hectic lives, time zones or just lifestyles that don’t mesh, I remain in comfortable contact with that small handful any way I can.

    This opinion is, however, (hi internet!) no judgement against people who love and prefer to communicate heavily in social networks. I am all for it. Do you. =)

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      I totally get where you’re coming from! I rely heavily on the Internet because most of my real-life friends live far away, and FB is a good way to catch up on each other’s lives, at our own pace, our own time. It’s also a way I keep connected to bloggy friends who’ve become really good friends. I just think that our individual experiences really depend on what we want out of it, and my suggestions are just one way to get there. But to each his/ her own, right?

  • August 23, 2014 alexandra

    I did the comment instead of like experiment and I may do it as a FB cleanse once a month. I saw changes the very first day. But what I also learned is to hit the get notifications, that’s something I had forgotten about. I feel caught up now and I know the not liking is tough, very tough, to break. For me, I had to go back to it. I feel it’s the only way to acknowledge that someone has made the time to leave a comment on my updates. But all these tips here, A, are great. GREAT.

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      I totally respect everyone’s way of ‘doing’ Facebook they way they want to, including holding back on likes and commenting instead. I only took issue with the fact that some are dissing the like button, when really, it does serve its purpose. I’m glad you’re getting the kind of feed you are! xo

  • August 23, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Got to be honest and tell you, I could take or leave FB. Your tips here are indeed spot on and so very useful, but like you if I miss something it isn’t the end of the world as we know it and I will either catch up (eventually) or the world will still go on fine if I don’t. Either way, I can live with it and that to be is the most important part of it, I suppose. Thank you though for sharing your thoughts and tips, too :)
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…Step into Summer & July GLOSSYBOXMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      You’re right, the world doesn’t start and end with Facebook. The way some people go about with the experimenting and the outrage at the many changes Facebook makes constantly, you’d think that was the opposite though! I’ve learn to ride with the wave that is FB, and just do what suits me. One can’t control everything. :)

  • August 23, 2014 Julia

    I read both articles and I tried to stop liking it lasted maybe 12 hours cause like you I generally “like” some posts but don’t really have anything of interest to comment, I comment on things alot too if I have something to add to the conversation. I like your list idea, I have a few lists but I should utilize it more.
    Julia recently wrote…Through His EyesMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      It’s just a matter of personal preference (and to an extent, habit), right? Lists are great, I use them all the time!

  • August 23, 2014 My Inner Chick

    **I mean every word. I do not like things willy-nilly.**

    This is why I dig you, Authentic Lady.

    You are the real deal. You mean what you say. You are not plastic. You read shit.

    I do not accept friend requests anymore by people I do not know. In my experience, these individuals will try to get on your feed to sell things or talk dirty!

    Luv U. xx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Behind the Mask 0f DepressionMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      Talk dirty?? Haha!! I cannot imagine daring to go there with you.
      If I request you as a friend, will you accept? :)

  • August 23, 2014 Greta

    I always feel compelled to comment on baby cheeks and thighs. :D This is good advice, though. You know that even if one way of doing things worked, FB will change soon enough and it’ll all be up in the air again. So you might as well use it the way that makes you happy!
    Greta recently wrote…Through The Lens Thursday: GreenMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      Yes, exactly! Facebook always finds a way to ‘beat’ us, so why bother fighting?

  • August 24, 2014 Amanda Jillian

    I’m trying to the not liking something but not because I don’t like it just because I want to actually talk with people not just be like oh cool like and move on. It’s very hard, I keep wanting to just like a post or pic/photo.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Please Don’t {The Dating Game}My Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      I think you can do both liking and commenting!

  • August 24, 2014 Kerstin

    I love that you wrote this. I have been getting all verklempt with what I should and shouldn’t do with my FB newsfeed – but I really do have the power to see what I want to see.
    I always want to see you, my friend (and I saved the article about how to save FB stories for later – for later ;) ) xoxox
    Kerstin recently wrote…Coming OutMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      I want to see your feed too, and I’m glad to say, I DO!

  • August 25, 2014 Tamara

    I pretty much live by this and I play by heart. I like what I like and I comment when I have something intelligent or funny to say. (read: not always)
    I will hide someone from my news feed if it would be too messy to unfriend them, even if I want to.
    I only had to unfriend a few people and I’ve only had to block one person.
    Tamara recently wrote…Becoming Neurotic for Ask Away Friday.My Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      It sounds to me like you’ve got your ‘formula’ down pat!

  • August 25, 2014 Kari

    I choose the Hide option as the last resort before unfriending.
    I have been doing that A LOT lately.
    I love this advice but I love you so I knew I would before I even read it.
    I SWEAR I AM NOT A CREEPY STALKER.
    Kari recently wrote…From Cali to Maryland. Flat Kari Gets Around. Wink Wink. Nudge Nudge.My Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      Bahahaha! I know you’re not, you’re just a sweetheart.

  • August 25, 2014 Rorybore

    I hope I never spend too much time worrying about what I see in my Facebook feed. That sounds glib and dismissive, and I apologize for that because I know it’s important for a lot of bloggers and their success; but honestly, it’s meant to be an entertaining distraction.. not something we all stress out about.
    Social media should be fun — not like math. ha!
    Rorybore recently wrote…4 Fill In Fun: Rainy Days Here to StayMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      I totally agree! Which is why when I read that comment (about commenting being the new giving a shit), I rolled my eyes, and thought, this is stupid! Why are people investing so much time into that? Just do what you will on Facebook, who will change things up eventually anyway. In a way, writing this post is sort of saying that, heh.

  • August 25, 2014 Sisters From Another Mister

    We are so on the same wavelength for The Crackbook .. imagine that ;)
    Sisters From Another Mister recently wrote…First time for everything #BlogustMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      Hah! Why am I not surprised?

  • August 25, 2014 Rivki Silver

    Such a good point – how could someone *not* like pandas?! My biggest complaint is that I’m missing posts from friends who I only stay in touch with via Facebook, and that I have to expend more effort to find them and keep them in my newsfeed. Thanks for the tips! FB has changed so much over the years; it’s crazy that we need strategies now to keep in touch with the people we want to!
    Rivki Silver recently wrote…Pushing the BoundariesMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      I feel that way too, so I look people up occasionally, if I happen to miss and think of them. FB will keep changing, we just have to roll with it.

  • August 25, 2014 Christine

    I love that you wrote this and I love when I see a notification that you’ve liked or commented on something of mine because it feels like a virtual hug. I started the comment only thing to see if anything would change in my newsfeed but frankly, I don’t think I’ll be able to stick with it. Because I like what I like and I’ll comment when I comment and I’m too stubborn to change. And FB will probably change their algorithm tomorrow anyways.
    Christine recently wrote…Green Blender SmoothiesMy Profile

    • August 25, 2014 Alison

      Yeah, I know myself, I can’t do the not liking and just commenting thing. It’s just not how I do FB. So be it! And you’re right, FB is ALWAYS changing things up anyway.

  • August 26, 2014 Ann

    OMG Ad Blocker? I LOVE you! As for Facebook, well I’ve given up trying to figure it out–because once I do, they will just go and change it again. I will like/comment/friend & unfriend because I want to.
    I’ve taken to looking up people I haven’t “seen” lately in my feed and sometimes that helps, but other than that I just go with what FB gives me; except I am definitely checking out that Ad Blocker!
    Thanks!
    Ann recently wrote…Fresh Brothers Pizza arrives in Newport BeachMy Profile

    • August 27, 2014 Alison

      Exactly, Facebook will just do what Facebook does best – change things up whenever they like. I hope that AdBlocker helps you!

  • August 26, 2014 julie gardner

    Here are a few truths about this whole “not-liking” trend and me:

    1. My Facebook feed wasn’t that bad to begin with

    2. I was wary instantly of the “don’t like” movement. I felt uncomfortable about the fact that now SOME people would *know* to “not like” and other people would have not heard about it. It felt a little high school-ish to me – as in, the cool kids do what’s cool (don’t like) and the not-cool kids have no idea they aren’t cool anymore…even though they are doing something NICE by liking their friends’ status updates.

    3. I still felt compelled to not like something and haven’t liked a status since.

    Isn’t that stupid-sad? I think my own freeze on likes is because I took a look at myself and my “liking” actions and decided I’d probably been too free with my likes (is that a thing? It shouldn’t be). But now I have grown self-conscious about it when what I wanted to be was simply more like you: intentional.

    Bottom line: maybe we’re all taking Facebook a little too fucking seriously. Sheesh.
    I mean, I began this comment by saying my feed was pretty good already.

    I love your tips for normal, SANE management of our experience.
    Thanks for writing this. Alison. You’re the real-ist. For reals.
    XO

    • August 27, 2014 Alison

      We are taking Facebook too fucking seriously! It’s ridiculous. I hope that by writing this, I have shown that it is ridiculous. That we can make our social media experience the way we want. Liking, commenting etc. Just do whatever YOU WANT.
      Love ya!

  • August 27, 2014 Jessica Dimas

    OMG thank you for this!!! First of all, I totally agree with you; when I “like” updates, it’s cause I actually agreed or loved what they wrote/shared. And I comment when I can’t contain the thought in my head and feel like they MUST know. Not all status updates need a comment, you are so right.

    And I had no idea about being able to make lists!! Omg! I never see updates from some of my favorite blogs so I’m sooo happy I know about that list now. You are awesome, thank you!
    Jessica Dimas recently wrote…The Blogger’s Digest #53My Profile

    • August 27, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad to help, Jessica!

  • August 27, 2014 Nina

    I saw those articles, too. (Maybe from your fb feed actually.) I tried to not press like for a bit and maybe lasted through two FB visits. It’s so ingrained in me. Like you, I meant it, and it’s just not natural for me to see big news or something sweet from one of my friends about their kids or something and NOT show that I’ve seen it and enjoyed it. I can’t stop!!! I like your tips and never think to click the “get notifications.” As for unfriending . . . I agree that’s for extreme cases, especially when “hide” is an option, too.
    Nina recently wrote…Announcing My Newest ProjectMy Profile

    • August 27, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad you feel the same way, Nina!!

  • August 28, 2014 Rebecca

    These are the greatest laws of Facebook- and I agree! Don’t dismiss the likes! I totally hide radical views or anything I find intolerably annoying…like game requests lol
    Rebecca recently wrote…List: 6 Reasons Why I Won’t Blog For FreeMy Profile

    • August 28, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I hide the game requests too!

  • August 29, 2014 Stephanie Sprenger

    This was so helpful and interesting, Alison! First of all, I hadn’t thought of doing so many of these things. I also had no idea that you could “save” things for later- that may have changed my life. :) Also? I really do need to stop approving those friend requests from bloggers I’ve never heard of. Ugh. Thanks for this !
    Stephanie Sprenger recently wrote…That Was EightMy Profile

    • August 29, 2014 Alison

      I get those requests too, from bloggers I don’t know/ don’t read. I accepted a few some time back, and just ended up er, unfriending them, because I couldn’t bring myself to like/ comment on their status updates, because I DIDN’T KNOW THEM, and it felt weird. Reading/ commenting on blogs is totally not the same as connecting on a personal Facebook level. But I guess some bloggers consider them the same thing. And you’re welcome!

  • August 29, 2014 Roxanne

    I rarely comment on Facebook statuses unless I really have something to add to the conversation. So, I agree. “Likes” mean a lot. It’s not about being too lazy to comment. It’s sometimes just a thumbs up, a high five, a pat on the back. Sometimes it’s a source of comfort if the status is about something sad. Sometimes it replaces that awkwardness when you want to say something, but can’t quite find the words.

    I love all your suggestions.
    Roxanne recently wrote…Friends and the seven-year-old.My Profile

    • August 29, 2014 Alison

      It’s always nice when someone agrees with me, heh. :)

  • September 2, 2014 Andrea

    I love FBs new save feature! I use it to go back to articles I want to read, just not right now. I also use the “I don’t want to see this” feature quite heavily, hide all ads in my feed when I see them, and only comment or like those things which I really do enjoy or when I have something to say. I don’t know if it really helps my feed or not, but I’m not complaining, either. I never got into the habit of using interest lists, so I got rid of the ones I made.
    Andrea recently wrote…So I’m An IdiotMy Profile

    • September 2, 2014 Alison

      You’re basically using FB the way YOU want, which is what I’m advocating! Yay!

  • September 21, 2014 Adrienne

    I’ve been meaning to come back and check some of these items off my list. Thanks for the tips! It was my Sunday morning coffee project. ;)
    Adrienne recently wrote…Call For Guest Bloggers! Looking for Your Homeschool Mom ConfessionsMy Profile

    • September 21, 2014 Alison

      You’re welcome, and yay!

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