Like many people, I have a real love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s as addictive as it is infuriating. But I got so fed up with the relentless landslide of crap being forced into my eyes by people I hardly knew that I was on the verge of Facebook Suicide (as in delete my account forever, not actually top myself).
But when I thought about it, I realised that although deleting my account would free myself from the digital headache which Facebook had become, I would also be throwing away a lot of things I genuinely liked, such as staying in touch with family and sharing photos. The reason I’d had enough of Facebook is because it had gotten overgrown, like a garden which had been left to do it’s own thing, but rather than give up I decided it was better to do a spot of gardening.
Here are some tips in case anyone wants to do some Facebook pruning of their own. I must say that since I went through this exercise I have found Facebook infinitely more enjoyable.
Have A Friend Cull
You do not have as many friends as it implies on Facebook. All this does is create a huge amount of noise. Think about all those Notifications, Birthdays, Event Invites, App Invites and so on. Free yourself – get rid of the people you don’t really want to know about. It doesn’t mean you don’t like them or you’ll never speak to them again. Plus it’s unlikely anyone will even notice. Or if they do notice it’s unlikely anyone will care. Or if they care it won’t matter because they won’t mention it.
Hide People From Your News Feed
Even after a Friend Cull there will still be people clogging up your News Feed, like a relative who you can’t un-friend or a person you genuinely like but don’t want to be constantly reminded about their obsession with [insert blank]. The easiest way around this is to hide people from your News Feed. You can do this by hovering over the word ‘Friend’ on a profile (see pic) and un-checking ‘Show in News Feed’. Alternatively, click on the small drop-down arrow on articles in your News Feed, select ‘Hide’ then select ‘Hide all stories from xxx’.
It’s often the same people who send you App or Event Invites. Fortunately you can block these by going into Settings -> Blocking. There are options to block apps, restrict users or block them entirely. This cuts out a lot more noise.
You can control notifications for a mountain of stuff, far more than many people realise. Simply go to Settings -> Notifications and decide both how you get notified and what you get notified about.
Set Close Friends
The tactics I’ve mentioned so far all focus on ‘turning down’ the unwanted noise on Facebook. An alternative approach is ‘turning up’ the noise made by the people you really do care about. These people may include close family members, particularly funny friends or anyone you are stalking. Here’s a screen shot of how to do this taken from a Facebook help page:
Lead By Example
You will get out of Facebook what you put into it. If you make your status updates interesting you will get far more interest in them. If you make them funny, you will get more amusement out of them. This isn’t rocket science. Put some time and effort into the content you create. Set the standard you want everyone else to follow – share cool stuff and cool stuff shall find you.
Take A Break
Too much of anything is bad, so another method of making Facebook less-shit is to take some time out. Resist the temptation to log into your account for a set amount of time and go and enjoy the real world, with real people having real conversations. Contrary to what you may have heard, the real world isn’t that bad.
Still Thinking About Giving Up?
If you’re certain you can’t live with Facebook any longer then it’s at least worth downloading a copy of your Facebook data.
To do this, go into Settings -> General Account Settings and click on ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’. You will receive an email to say the download has been initiated and another one to say when it’s ready (I tried this myself and it only took a couple of minutes). What shocked me was the sheer volume of data Facebook had for me – 156 MB – and it was a zipped file! Nonetheless, by downloading your data you can take a copy of all your posts, photos, videos, messages, chat conversations and profile information with you when you leave, or if you just want a copy of it. You never know, this might come in useful one day.