Tips on how to reduce noise on Facebook

I am annoyed with a lot of Facebook stuff lately.  Obviously there are a lot of big changes and the world is coming to an end.  One thing that I am worried about – as most people – is the privacy of my information.   That is why I am pretty much resigned to deleting really private information from my Facebook profile.  As the old Facebook proverb goes, “If you don’t want your Mother seeing it, then don’t post it on Facebook“.

The other thing that I am feeling is overwhelmed by all the noise, so I thought I’d write up some quick tips on how to combat some of the Facebook Overload.  Keep in mind that in order for you to get the best experience out of Facebook, you are going to have to make an effort to manage your stuff.  If you are too lame to take control of your information and the information that is presented to you, then don’t bitch about how you can’t deal with it.  Put up or shut up, people!

Here are some quick tips on how you can help eliminate some noise.

Tip #1: Use lists to filter the noise

Lists are groups that you can use to filter posts and also filter who sees your posts.  I have in the past spent quite a bit of time creating my own personal lists and using those when I am posting personal status updates vs public ones.  This was great.  I also used these lists for the privacy of my profile information – like who can see my phone number and home address or not.

In Facebook latest revamp, they completely redid Lists.  A lot of people didn’t use Lists because they were a) hidden b) hard to figure out c) hard to manage.  So Facebook came in and fixed lists by making them more visible and “smarter”.

Now you can take advantage of lists by adding in your close friends and your acquaintances.  When you click on the list on the left nav, you will get only feeds from people you have added.

But to take it one step further, you can use lists to set up privacy filters as well.  Like who will see what status update.  Just click on the button below your status update input and change the privacy of what list is allowed to see that post.  Easy.

One thing to note about Lists that is frustrating is if you ever entered Work data, the lovely people at Facebook have taken it upon themselves to outsmart you and create lists for everything.  This is fine, but you can’t actually delete the lists.  This is not so fine.  To combat this problem, I have simply removed my work history from Facebook.  See?!?  You hurt me, I’ll hurt you back.  You can’t have that data now, Facebook!

Tip #2 – Change your subscription settings

If you are sick of seeing updates Aunt Sally’s daughter’s friend that you met at a picnic once, then unsubscribe her feeds or limit them way down.  Mouseover the status and you’ll see a faint grey line.  Click on it and choose how often you want to see something.  Or totally unsubscribe yourself.

(*Note, no Simon’s were unsubscribed in making of this post)

Tip #3: Unfriend people

First off, you can just unfriend people from your Facebook.  Yeah.  This is harsh and most people are so ego-centric that they think the world would cry if they didn’t get updates about their stupid dog.  But really, I doubt anyone would notice.  I’m pretty sure that everyone has my feed hidden because I post so much that it annoys them!  To do this, go to their page and hover over the Friends box in the upper right corner.  Then choose Unfriend.  Ouch. It feels so bad, but so good.

Tip #4: Delete your Facebook Account

If you really can’t take all the changes, then why don’t you just delete your account?  You won’t really be missing much and think of all the time you can spend doing more productive things with your life…like hanging out in real life with your real friends?

There are two ways to remove yourself from Facebook.

The Wimp Method – Disable your account, but don’t delete it

This will save all of your profile info and your friends.  You can come back at any time and your life will be restored.

  1. Go to Account Settings (that little arrow by your name in the upper right corner) > Security Settings
  2. Click on the Deactivate my account link
  3. Get a guilt trip message (see below) telling you that your friends will miss you.  Ha!

Note:  With this method, you can come back at any time and reactivate your account by simply logging in.   Try it out for a while and see if anyone notices or gives a shit that you were gone.  It is like fake playing dead.

The Guilt Trip


The Hardcore method – Permanently Delete Your Account

After you disable your account, you can request that all your stuff be deleted by going here:

Anyone else have other tips for making your online life a little more manageable?