When you join Facebook it all seems so blissfully easy. You supply your email address, let it magically hook you up with everyone in your contacts list, and voila! Instant social connectivity is yours. Before you know it, however, your news feed is clogged with notifications from games your friends are playing and posts from retailers you “liked” in order to claim some special offer, your photos are being commented on by your cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and you have more than a hundred “friends” who you couldn’t point out in a mostly empty room. Where did it all go so wrong?
Have no fear. Taking control of your Facebook account is a fairly easy proposition.
Even if you haven’t played Family Feud in over a year, the application continues to have access to your personal information until you disconnect it completely. Review the list of your approved applications by clicking on App Center on the left-hand side of your Newsfeed, then select My Apps at the bottom. You can delete using the X button that appears when you hover your cursor over one or modify how the application interacts with your Home Page by clicking on Settings under each listing.
If you are already relegating the daily flood of Facebook notifications to your junk mail folder, turn off the ones you don’t want to see. In the upper right corner of your newsfeed select the drop down arrow and choose Account Settings. The menu on the left includes Notifications which takes you to a list of all notifications available divided into categories such as Groups, Events, and Other Applications. Turn off what you don’t want to be bothered about and turn on notifications for the updates you don’t want to miss.
Does that distant acquaintance you didn’t even like in High School really need to know about your daily life? While it’s easy enough to hide their posts from your wall, sorting your friends into groups to limit who sees your posts can be a hassle, particularly if you’ve amassed a sizeable “friends” list.
You’ve likely seen people post “I am cleaning up my Friends’ List. If you’re interested in sticking around, send me a message.” If you elect to try this, re-post the message regularly for a week or two. Even with this precaution, surely there are people important to you who may miss a message like this.
Another option is to review your friends list and delete people one at a time. For those with a swath of names to sort through, FacebookDeletes (http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/43404) is a script you can download that allows you to select the friends you want to keep and then delete the rest, page by page.
Anyone who still yearns for the old, pre-Timeline “classic view,” you’re in luck. Social Fixer (http://socialfixer.com/) promises to fix your Facebook woes and customize your experience. Hide posts you’ve already read or change the layout, color and look of your Facebook window. Use Advanced Feed Filters to control what shows up on your news feed and or group together certain stories and updates under separate tabs for better organization. Easily hide posts by who posted it, type of story, or even by key word. The Friend Tracker feature alerts you when someone un-friends you, so you can demand re-entry into their social circle or breathe a sigh of relief that they saved you the trouble.
From your Facebook main page, click on the arrow next to the Home button in the upper right-hand corner and choose Privacy Settings. The Default Privacy setting controls which posts others can see, provided you don’t add a custom modifier when you’re posting a picture, web link or status update. If you choose “Friends” for this setting, “Friends of Friends” will still be able to see posts their friends are tagged in. To limit that default setting, click on Custom and UN-tick “friends of those tagged.” Even if you default to Friends, you can customize the privacy setting a particular post. Also review each of the individual settings on Connecting and Tagging. Click on “learn more” if you’re unsure of what something means – Facebook Help Center is full of useful information.
Photo used by permission dullhunk