I’m pretty much writing this post for my future self. Just like other areas, our digital lives need a good scrub and purge every once and a while. I used to put up with a lot more noise in my email Inbox and my social media accounts, especially Facebook.
A funny thing happened on my journey towards a more minimalist life: I don’t have as much patience for noise anymore. Not just in my house or my car, anywhere.
Now I try to flee cluttered (with physical, visual, and emotional litter) places to find quiet, or I drown out noisy spots with things I do care about. In short, I don’t feel I should have to “put up with” annoying messages, things that make me feel anxious or guilty or uncomfortable for no reason, or just shiny stuff that distracts me for a moment and pulls me away from more important things.
These “important” things may not necessarily be that serious or even driving my life or my business in some way. It just means they are intentional things I want to do/see/read and I enjoy them.
We all have to deal with unavoidable discomfort and hard choices. So why force ourselves to confront a million little – possibly stressful – things every day when we don’t have to?
Of course I don’t apply this same impatience and ruthlessness to every single corner of my life. When I’m at the park with friends and our kids, hanging out with people I love, enjoying an activity, or working hard on a project, I don’t let the little things get to me. If I don’t have time to do the dishes or clear off the counter before writing an important email, I’ll let it go. For the time being, that is.
On Facebook, you will see ads and sponsored posts from companies you didn’t ask to see. They will take up space where you wish you could see a friend or author or news outlet that you actually want to hear from. Unfortunately there’s no way on Facebook to completely streamline your newsfeed and eliminate all distractions and advertisements. However, you can greatly cut back on unwanted content in a few steps and with a few minutes of work. You might even find that the advertisements you see are more relevant because they often look to your interests and other pages you like to target your account.
Note: This process might take a few minutes longer than a few minutes, but give it as much time as you can or break the task into smaller chunks if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It will be worth it in the end.
How to streamline your Facebook friends list >>>
First, go to this page to view your entire friends list on Facebook. (Here is the url text: https://www.facebook.com/search/me/friends)
From this page you can choose to do what you wish with each friend connection you have on Facebook. Please note it’s not in A to Z order. I believe it’s in some wacky order based on how recently you became friends with them on Facebook and how often you interact with their content.
If you hover over the “Friends” box next to their name you can unfriend, add them to a list or ‘get notifications’ so their posts and activity will show up in your newsfeed more often. From this page you can also easily send a message.
If you don’t want to unfriend someone but don’t want to see their posts all the time (or ever), there’s an option for that! Next time you see an update from that person, click the little down-arrow and select “Hide post” to see fewer posts from that person, or select “Unfollow” to stop seeing any updates from them all together.
How to streamline your Facebook Liked Pages list >>>
There are a few ways to find the pages that you like. I first found this page that allows you to only see which pages you like but you have to click through each image to the actual page if you want to unlike, unfollow and/or change your relationship with the page. That would technically work but take a lot of time.
The two ways that actually work are as follows:
Go to your profile. Now click View Activity Log. It is a button in line with your profile photo and name. Then on the left side of the page click Likes and then Pages and Interests.
You should see a not-very-pretty but functional list of pages you’ve recently liked. You can hover over the page name to change your relationship with this page. This shows the pages you’ve liked in most recent —> least recent order, so I found scrolling down (and down and down and down) and trying to work backwards made the most sense for me. Pages I liked in 2012 are probably less relevant to me now than a page I liked yesterday.
Another way I found that is similar but a little prettier is to to go your profile, click the “More” dropdown menu to the far right (on the same level/line as your profile photo) and then click “Likes.”
(If you don’t have this as an option, click “Manage Sections” at the bottom and check Likes)
You should see a list of all the pages you’ve liked and a drop-down menu for each page to change your preferences. Again, I scrolled down, down, down to the bottom to manage my pages because I typically want to keep following the pages I’ve recently liked.
UPDATE: This is totally diabolical but in addition to clicking “Unlike” on each page, you also have to click the “Following” button so you’ll unfollow the page. Because otherwise, you’re STILL going to get updates from that page. So basically it looked like this next to pages I “Unliked.” Okay so basically it’s giving me the option now to re-like the page. But what is that check mark next to Following mean? It means YES, FOLLOW. WHa??? Ugh.
Screen shot below of what it SHOULD look like next to a page that you do not want to follow:
I am cleaning up my list of liked pages gradually but if you have a block of free time and want to tackle it all at once, go for it!
On the flip side, you might be frustrated that the things you do like and want to see updates about aren’t shown on your feed very often. This tutorial from Tidy Mom might help.
Just like with your friends, you can also stay liking a page but unfollow their updates by clicking the arrow next to a recent post and selecting “Hide” or “Unfollow” … But don’t worry Bunmi I’d never unfollow you because you’re too funny. 😉
What’s on your public profile? >>>
Also, as a bonus tip, here’s how to see what a specific person or the Public (that is, anyone who is on Facebook or anyone on the internet anywhere) can see on your Facebook profile. Click on the little ‘lock’ icon with three lines next to it when you’re on your personal profile. Then drop down or open “Who can see my stuff?” and click on “View As” under “What do other people see on my timeline?”
If there are personal photos or posts marked as ‘Public’ that you’d prefer stay among friends, you’ll have to individually change the privacy on each post or photo.