Facebook is an ever-changing monster. Even for myself and people I know who work daily in a social media space, it offers frustration on a regular basis. Just when you think you’ve figured out how to navigate it, you realize that you missed some tidbit of news. And you wonder how you possibly could have missed it since you’re on Facebook multiple times a day. Unfortunately, it’s the norm, not the exception.
As ironic as it sounds, this article was inspired by a post I saw from a friend. She shared how frustrated she has become from learning how many posts she hasn’t been seeing. Not only was she missing out on news from friends, but it was happening with fan pages also. She was anxiously awaiting the upload of pictures from a mission trip her daughter was on but none ever showed up in her feed even though she had recently engaged with the page specifically for that purpose. There’s always content in her feed… just not what she hoped to see. Can you relate?
Me too. That’s the Facebook we all know and love, isn’t it?
It’s important to remember that Facebook is a business and their primary goal is to make money. It’s not about connecting people. It’s not about making sure you know the latest scoop about your friends’ new baby, love life, food preferences and travel. It’s not about offering groups for you to chat with like-minded people. It’s not even about giving you access to digital fan clubs for your favorite artists, actors, brands and businesses. Yes, those are options but they are spokes in the hub that makes the money-wheel turn.
Facebook regularly changes their algorithms and it can feel like no matter what you do, you’re missing posts. Seriously, I found out a friend had a baby and I didn’t even know she was pregnant. And I see names that I don’t recognize because someone got married and changed their Facebook name without either of those events landing in my feed. When I see these strangers in my feed, I embark on the “Who IS that?” quest for answers only to discover said missed wedding and name change to which I end up feeling guilty for not telling them congratulations. You’ve been there, right? Please say it isn’t just me.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to see your friends’ posts actually show up in your feed.
Thin Your List of Friends
Let’s start by talking about the obvious. Are those people in your feed really your friends or did you meet them just once at that event that one time and you decided to friend each other to stay in touch? I’m guilty of this as well and it can be difficult to cut ties. But in the grand scheme of things, you need to decide if it is more important to see what your REAL friends and relatives are up to or someone who you barely know. If you’re seeing their content, but not that of someone that matters then you might want to hit the unfriend button. I know several people who utilize Facebook’s birthday list as a daily prompt for updating their friend list. It sounds kind of mean to unfriend someone on their birthday, but it’s a pretty fool-proof checklist to clean up your list over the course of the year.
Identify Your Close Friends
Facebook has an option that allows you to see posts from your favorite friends at the top of your feed the first time you log in after they’ve posted something new. *Mind blown* I tag Scott, the girls and immediate family as my favorites and whenever any of them posts either on their page or a group we’re in together then I get a notification that they posted. To take advantage of this feature, go into their profiles and mark them as “Close Friends” under the drop down box labeled as “friends”. You’ll see a star next to their name in your friend list, too.
See Someone’s Content First
Along the same lines as creating a list of Close Friends, you also have the option to see people’s content first in your feed. Seriously, you see their stuff at the top of your feed! This is one of my favorite features. To incorporate this, go to the profile of the person who you want to
stalk hear from, click the drop down next to the box that says “friends” and select “see first” in your feed. This assures that you’ll see their posts before anything else.
In the day and age of people who are unfiltered with their shares, many of us have been happy to take advantage of the unfollow feature. There are some people who I am friends (or family) with who share without doing their homework first. They’ll either share incorrect political information or make comments that make my blood boil. By unfollowing them, we remain friends, but I don’t see their content in my feed. This leaves space for me to see updates from other people! Use the same steps as you did to See Someone’s Content First except instead of selecting “See First”, select “Unfollow”.
Facebook offers the option to create friend-specific lists. I have lists set up to help me identify why I’m friends with a particular person whether it’s an old classmate, someone from the blogging community, a marketing colleague, another board game fanatic or someone who lives nearby. You can assign people to more than one list.
While most people (including myself) utilize these lists to limit what is shared with whom, it does have another benefit. You can actually create special feeds that show specific people from within that list. And dare I say that for fear that it will jinx it, there haven’t been ads or sponsored posts mixed in when I use this “friend list feed” to view things.
As someone who works with brands on a daily basis – in addition to being a consumer on a daily basis – I feel compelled to follow every brand that I like, use and buy. But it isn’t always necessary, especially if they aren’t offering promotions, behind-the-scenes content or news of upcoming products. As an example, a couple weeks ago I was a fan of Folgers on Facebook. My parents drank Folgers when I was growing up and it’s still the top of the mainstream brands I purchase from the grocery store, but my last several purchases have been a hodgepodge of coffee beans from specialty stores, restaurants and store specials. Why do I need to follow them on Facebook? I don’t. Not only does following every brand under the sun make it harder for me to see what my friends are sharing, but it makes my feed feel even more commercial than it needs to be. With every second or third post being a sponsored ad, any brand fan page that drops in the middle of that pushes my friends’ content even further away. So lately I’ve been making a point of unfollowing/unliking brands where I don’t need to get day-to-day updates. I’ve even discovered several pages that I didn’t even know I was liking! So take some time to an audit of the pages you like then unlike the ones that don’t add benefit to your Facebook feed… and your life.
If you implement some – or all – of the suggestions, I’m sure you’ll start having better luck seeing what your friends are posting. If not, then just call them. I’m sure they would be happy to hear from you!
What’s your biggest pet peeve about Facebook?