How I took back my Facebook News Feed, part 2 of 2

I am seeing a lot of Facebook Page updates, but not much of it is interesting to me and I’m missing out on the stuff I want to see.

By: Joel Kramer

After I organized my friends and family into lists to control who’s updates I see most frequently, I still had a problem with the content that I am seeing from Pages.

Even though you and I may not share the same point of view, we probably both have similar experiences with Facebook posts being shared from Facebook Pages. Someone we actually know and/or care about is constantly sharing Facebook page posts about politics, religion and science news. There is probably a fair amount of ecards and lol cats, too.

Note: if you are that person, we know where you stand, already.

Additionally, chances are you’ve “liked” a few hundred Facebook Pages because you wanted to share your penchant for unrated films, tortured artists, and bands you used to listen to before they were cool. Maybe your friends asked you to like their Facebook business page for their photography, home business and hobby page. (I’m guilty!)

Now your Facebook News Feed is cluttered with updates from Facebook page managers trying to “engage” their community.

Facebook Page engagement

Not everyone is good at it.

There is probably a lot of junk you’ve “liked” which is just noise. Over 144 million people like Facebook. On Facebook.

Facebook is popular on Facebook
Facebook is popular on Facebook

Too much noise, not enough signal
I am seeing a lot of Pages updating, but not much of it is interesting to me and I’m missing out on the stuff I want to see.

Facebook is using algorithms to determine what to feed to you in your Facebook News Feed. The algorithm is secret, but you will see a mix of content based on what you like, and content based on what other people like. A post that is popular among other users may slide into your News Feed because it seems to be trendy or hot and you just might be interested. There is a good article on this at TechCrunch: The Filtered Feed Problem (TechCrunch).

Now you’re seeing self-promotion posts mixed in with content you’d like to see about the friends you’ve sorted into your Close Friends.

Unfollow noisy Pages
The easiest way to clean up the noise stream is to just unfollow the things that are not interesting. If you see something you keep visually skipping over, just unfollow the source, right from your News Feed.

There is a little grey down arrow in the upper right corner of the post. You can click the Unfollow option to stop receiving their updates in your News Feed.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.41.08 PM

Unlike uninteresting Pages
Point your mouse at the Page title and a little preview will pop up. You can click the Like button to see an Unlike option.

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Get Notifications for important Pages
I have some pages that seem to get lost in the noise. If my favorite small venue has an update, it’s just not popular enough and doesn’t have the performance metrics for Facebook to feed it to me. So, I turn on Get Notifications.
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Now I see their updates in my Notifications area.
Facebook Get Notifications

Tell Facebook what you don’t want to see
Facebook allows you to flag content as annoying so that you can keep it out of your News Feed. Some of the most spammy pages, or the most emotionally charged political/religious/newsy stuff I see falls into this category. If you’ve read my previous post about how I manage my friends, you know that I don’t mind someone having a different point of view, I just don’t want a picket banner in my face when I’m just trying to congratulate them on their engagement or like their vacation photos. I use this feature to flag content from Facebook Pages that I think are just overbearing and divisive in their message and it affects my ability to just enjoy my friends life events.

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When you choose not to see the content. Facebook will replace it with this little grey box.

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You can add some reasons to why you’ve asked not to see it.
Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.41.46 PM

Affect on my Facebook News Feed
By adding the most interesting pages to my Get Notifications list, and unliking the most noisy and uninteresting pages, I’ve managed to get a Facebook News Feed which I actually am interested in reading.

I still have a problem with my friends and family sharing things meant to annoy people they disagree with. This kind of content comes from so many places that it’s difficult to flag it all as “I don’t want to see this, it’s annoying or uninteresting.” As a result, I’ve moved those offenders (even family) into Acquaintances just to make my Facebook time less annoying.

How I took back my Facebook News Feed, part 1 of 2

It seems that, for some of us, the privacy of our keyboard is like a confessional of our deepest held misanthropy.

By: Surian Soosay

Alexis Ohanian, a Reddit co-founder, shared a sentiment about Facebook that fits my own experience: “Facebook makes me hate the people I know…” Continue reading “How I took back my Facebook News Feed, part 1 of 2”

Get the Picture yet?

Today, I had my first annoying and somewhat scary experience with Facebook.

Today, I had my first annoying and somewhat scary experience with Facebook. I’ve been playing the wildly popular Mafia Wars by Zynga on Facebook. The concept is to do various criminal jobs and rob and attack other people in the game so that you may accumulate items and advance to higher levels where you can do more of the same.

When you attack or rob someone, you can cause them to fight back, ask their mafia to attack you, or put you on a hit list where anyone can attack you for a reward. It’s all part of the fun of the game.

Someone in the game crossed over the boundary into my real life; at least my “real” Facebook life. The person sent me a menacing message on Facebook about my behavior in the game.

Continue reading “Get the Picture yet?”

early game preview

An early preview of things to come. Still working on a lot of the UI mechanics before trying to clean it all up and present it nicely.

Yii framework is working really, really well.

I hope to have a functioning game in early September. Lots to do after that, but my goal is to have it basically working before Boston Indies next month.

My Facebook game, making headway again

Some people know that I’ve been working on a web game that I plan to integrate with Facebook. The initial prototype took a few weeks of halfhearted hacking and thrashing around between PHP and MySql, getting used to LAMP style programming again. I got a working proof of concept up and running and started making notes of what really needed to be done to make it work. Then, I admitted to myself that I was making a giant mess that I would not be able to build on for very long.

I looked around for a PHP framework to make things easier. Something scalable and lightweight, but sensible and clear. I found the Yii framework after peeking at CakePHP and CodeIgniter. I chose Yii because it seemed to make sense to me at first glance. I was able to get my model defined and had CRUD stuff up and running in no time at all.

Continue reading “My Facebook game, making headway again”

Currently Reading: Developing Facebook Platform Applications with Rails

I have a project for Facebook which I’ve done a little work on. But, at this juncture I need to decide whether to proceed with Ruby or PHP. PHP is the sanctioned tool for Facebook – since they seem to have abandoned all other development tools. Ruby on Rails is the most beloved tool of the web. Every developer turns into a poet and philosopher after getting RoR on themselves.

developing facebook applications with rails
Developing Facebook Platform Applications with Rails

So, I got the beta PDF of Developing Facebook Platform Applications with Rails from Pragmatic Programmers. So far, the book is a pleasure to read.

Continue reading “Currently Reading: Developing Facebook Platform Applications with Rails”