That seems to be the general consensus, anyway.
But most of us are still on Facebook, for good reasons.
Keeping up with friends who live far away. We’re a military family, so I get it. 6 moves in 7 years will do that to a person. But military or not, we’ve all got people we love all over the place.
Communicating with groups of local people for events. I do a lot of playdate-inviting via Facebook. My neighborhood coordinates group garage sales through Facebook. I sell stuff we don’t need anymore on Facebook (I never look at Craigslist anymore). Our class spouse club sends invitations to get-togethers and coordinates potlucks through Facebook. It’s convenient because most of us are already there.
Sharing photos with friends and family. It’s kind of the same as #1 but definitely easier to use Facebook for this than to email photos individually, or text everyone, or print and mail them. Let’s face it. Sometimes Facebook is convenient.
Participating in groups. I know people who have quit Facebook totally… except for groups. When we find a group we “click” with and learn from, that’s super valuable. And it’s fun to be part of a community we identify with. Kind of like my community of real homemakers making real changes (that actually stick). We have a blast on Facebook together!
Keeping up with brands, companies, and blogs we like. Sure we could use Feed.ly for keeping up with blog posts, but sometimes bloggers post “extra” goodies on Facebook. And we don’t necessarily want to sign up for email lists for every company we like, but “liking” them on Facebook still lets us keep up with their sales and promotions (if Facebook’s algorithm decides we need to see them).
You can also do cool stuff like following other people’s interest lists, and creating your own. Here’s my “Home – Organizing, Simplicity” list if you’d like to follow along with some of my favorite bloggers and pages.
So… maybe it doesn’t really suck. Not completely. There are great reasons to use Facebook.
But Facebook can be really, really, really annoying.
It hides things from people we want to see.
It shows us too much stuff we don’t care about. We get notifications for the most random stuff. We open the app looking for connection, and close it 20 minutes later still feeling disconnected.
We open Facebook looking for connection, & close it 20mins later still feeling disconnected. Here’s how to fix it. Tweet this.
I’ve fixed mine. Facebook actually doesn’t annoy me anymore. And I’m happy to show you how I did it.
How to Make Facebook Less Annoying (Without Quitting)
Declutter & Corral your “Liked” Pages
Once you “like” a page, it’s almost like it sinks into the abyss that is Facebook… how can you access it again without searching for it directly? And then, will you actually see updates posted on that page, or will Facebook decide you weren’t actually interested?
I found the unlikely spot where Facebook hides your liked pages from you, so that you can decide if you still like them or not, and how you want to see their content.
Click the little pointing-down arrow in the top right of Facebook on your computer’s browser (not in a mobile app). Then click “Create Page.” I know you don’t want to create a page. But that’s how Facebook hides this from you. Sneaky.
Now click, “Pages I Like.” Here, you’ll find the list of all the pages you’ve ever liked, and haven’t unliked.
For each page, you’ll have the option to unlike it in the drop-down to the right of the page’s information.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Unlike anything you don’t want to hear from.
- Do NOT select “Get Notifications” for ANY of them.
- Put every single page you like into an “interest list.”
I have several different categories I’ve created for sorting my liked pages. If it doesn’t fit into an interest list, consider why you actually want to like this page at all. Maybe unlike it, or create a new interest list.
View your interest lists by scrolling down and finding “interests” in the left sidebar.
Click “More” to see them all
Click the gear beside each one and select “Add to favorites” if you want them to be easier to find and read through when you’re in the mood to see that type of content.
Now they’ll appear at the top of your left sidebar in your browser, and they’re also easy to access in the mobile apps.
This is a very important step!
Whenever you’re scrolling through Facebook, in-browser OR in-app, if you see an update from a page – ANY page – click the down arrow in the top-right of their status update and “unfollow” the page.
You’ll still like it, and it will still appear in your interest lists. But now your feed will be reserved for actual people.
Declutter & Unfollow Groups
Groups are a little easier to find than the pages you like. Just scroll down and look in the left sidebar for the word “Groups” and then click the “More” beside it. You’ll see a list of all of the groups you manage and all the groups you’re in.
Leave the ones you’re not interested in.
Then, click the gear beside each remaining one, and turn notifications OFF (yes, even notifications when friends post).
Unless you’re in the group for news (I am in one for my son’s preschool class, and sometimes time-sensitive notices are shared there), there’s no reason to have notifications on. When you’re in the mood to see that group’s content, you can choose to visit it.
Just as with pages, you can also add your favorite groups to your favorites, and they’ll show up in the top of the left sidebar and be easy to access in the mobile app. Do this if you’d like, but I suggest limiting the number of favorites to fewer than 5, even if your total group number is larger.
And again, whenever you see a post from a group show up in your newsfeed, click the down arrow and unfollow the group. You’ll still be a member, and still be able to access the group whenever you need to, but it won’t “interrupt” your friends and family in your newsfeed.
And Now for Actual People
This is mostly why a lot of us are on Facebook, even if it seems like ads, groups, and random notifications have taken over. We’re really here to connect!
Go to your profile page in your browser, and click the “Friends” tab along the top, under your cover picture. You’ll see a list of your friends, and have the option to quickly unfriend anyone you want to. This is really nice, because Facebook used to BURY this option and make it nearly impossible to de-friend very many people at once.
However, since making Facebook less annoying, I’ve actually welcomed lots of new (and old) friends back into the mix. I think at this point I would probably only unfriend someone if they were super annoying on my Facebook timeline or if we actually parted ways on bad terms. Maybe I’ll change my mind later, but for now, I’m pretty much fine with being “friends” with anyone I’ve ever had a positive in-person relationship with and who I wouldn’t hide from if I ran into them in Target.
Here, you also have the chance to add friends to lists, just like you did with your pages. A while ago, I tried making lists for close friends, acquaintances, people I met in each of our different duty stations, friends from college, friends from high school, and so on.
But it got complicated. So I gave up on that. But you can do it if you want.
Now, I just unfollow people. A lot. If I don’t feel like we “match up” at this stage of life, or I don’t want to spend a lot of mental energy and time (Facebook time is actually real time you can’t get back. Did you know that?) keeping up with someone, I unfollow.
It’s okay. We’re still on good terms. Maybe they unfollowed me too… I don’t know, and don’t really mind if they did. But if I post a throwback photo from high school and want to tag them in it, I can. If I’m curious what they’re up to, I can click over to their timeline and comment on how cute their dog/baby/house/manicure is. But they won’t show up in my news feed.
Which leaves more room (and time) for the people I’m actively choosing to interact with right now. Facebook shows me more posts from the people I want to see, and nothing from random acquaintances or old co-workers who didn’t turn out to be long-term friends.
How to leave more room in your Facebook newsfeed for the people you’re actively choosing to interact with right now. Tweet this.
Do check to make sure you haven’t hidden anyone you wanted to see updates from though! You can do that by clicking the gear next to “News Feed” in the left sidebar, and selecting “Edit Settings.”
Now you’ll be able to see everyone you’ve ever hidden, and click a little x to unhide them if you want to see their posts again.
Remember though, you WANT to keep all pages and groups hidden at this point, since you’ve made it easy for yourself to find those things when you want to consume that type of content.
Hide Content Types You Hate.
A couple of friends asked me how to hide videos and games. Most of the games will let you hide them one by one with the little magic down arrow (more on this below), but there’s another way to do it too. And if there are other types of content that annoy you or that you don’t care about seeing, there’s a way to keep from seeing those too.
There used to be a way to control this for individual friends, and I can’t find it anymore, so I think maybe Facebook removed it to keep you as annoyed as possible. But if you do use interest lists for reading your pages, and if you choose to use friend lists to view your friends’ posts, this will help!
Go to your interest list or friend list, and at the top right of the timeline section, click “Manage List,” then “Choose Update Types…” (the ellipses is there because Mark Zuckerburg wanted to say “Choose Update Types if You Really Have to, I Guess.”)
Uncheck the types of statuses you don’t want to see anymore. This won’t affect your main newsfeed, sadly, but it’ll work out well for whenever you’re viewing interest lists or friend lists.
Use Facebook and Maintain Non-Annoyance
Now when you use Facebook, you’ll see your friends and family members – the ones you haven’t unfollowed – in your news feed. You won’t see any pages or group posts. If you missed a few, you can unfollow those as they pop up.
You’ve removed notifications for all groups and pages too, so you will only get notifications about people liking and commenting on your updates, or on threads you’re following in groups.
I’m taking back my Facebook newsfeed and making it work for me again. Here’s how. Tweet this.
If you were tagged in something and no longer want to receive updates about it, click the down arrow in the top right of that status, and select “Stop Notifications.” (You can also remove yourself from being tagged in a photo if you’re not crazy about the picture.)
If you commented on a group post a while ago to put in your two cents, and you’re “over” the thread but it will not die, do the same thing. Heck, you can even immediately unfollow a post if you want to, right after you comment. People can tag you if they really want you to see something.
Whenever you see something annoying in your news feed, click that down arrow to see if there are options about it. I got tired of seeing my friends’ Runkeeper logs, and sure enough, there was an option to hide all Runkeeper updates.
You can do the same thing with other apps that post to Facebook – Foursquare, DietBet, Candy Crush and all of those games, and so on.
If you have a friend who shares a certain page’s statuses really often, and you don’t want to see those statuses either, you can click that magic down arrow, and select “Hide all from Save the Super-Sad Himalayan Koala Bears Fund” (or whatever the annoying page is). You’ll still be following your friend, but you won’t see those shared status updates.
And when you’d like to engage with a group or see what your favorite businesses or bloggers are up to, you can visit the specific group or click through to your interest lists for whatever types of pages you’re in the mood to see at the moment.
Voila! Facebook. On your terms.
You might not want to do all of this in one sitting. But if you spend even 15 minutes today sorting your liked pages into interest lists (freeing you up to unfollow them allllllll from your newsfeed as they pop up), you’ll be on the track to loving Facebook again.
And when you’re ready to get the rest of your life to line up with your priorities, find out how to spend less time doing the things that don’t matter and more time doing what you care about. (It’s simpler than you think.)
PS If this post has helped you make Facebook a bit less annoying for you, I hope you’ll share this post with your Facebook friends so they can benefit too.