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.
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?