Facebook has more than 1.23 billion users (data from March 2014) and is one of the largest social media sites of the world but every time I am training someone on how to use it, I still get some very basic questions like how to stop receiving Facebook’s emails or comments of people saying that they barely use Facebook because they don’t want to post their daily activities.
I will show you 5 things you can do with your Facebook Profile to change the way you use and consume Facebook. You still can be in touch with your distant family and friends while checking the news and without being inundated with Facebook notifications every time someone like your friend’s photo. Facebook can be a powerful tool for your professional development as well.
1. Download your data – this is one of the best-kept secrets of Facebook. You can download all your data from Facebook with a click of a button. Go to your settings. Under ‘general settings’, at the very bottom, you will find the link to ‘download your data’. Click on it and voilà! You will have a backup of all your interactions, videos and photos shared on Facebook.
2. Decide when Facebook will contact you – under the same settings, go to Notifications (link on the left) and read every line. Click on the link at the right and edit them as you want. I decided to just receive my notifications via Facebook App. No more emails cluttering my inbox.
3. Segment your sharing with lists – lists exist for a long time on Facebook, but they decided to make it easier for us, users, on how to use them. The link to access it is on your homepage under ‘friends’. If you mouse over the word friends, a link to ‘more’ will appear on the right. Click on it. On this new page, you will have the option to ‘create list’ and also all the lists Facebook created for you, including restricted. I would use the restricted for everybody you have to friend but don’t want to receive your family updates, for example. Add work colleagues, clients and so on to this list.
Now you have to setup your Facebook to make sure the list is doing something for you. There are two ways to do that: going to each photo album, video and post you shared and changing the audience to your post to ‘custom’. Under custom, you have to decide who you will want to receive it and whom you want to restrict.
The second way is going to Privacy Settings and Tools under your Settings. The first option is ‘who can see my stuff’? The third option under it is ‘limit the audience for posts you’ve shared’. Please note that this option is not easily reversible if you change your mind later.
Remember that every time you are posting, you should verify to whom you are posting to. If, by any chance, you change it to public, the next time you will publish it will go public as they keep the last setting on.
4. Use Facebook as your News source – we all know how efficient Facebook is to keep us updated with family and friends but if you like some news pages, you will see how efficient Facebook can be to keep you informed about the world having everything in one place. Recently, Facebook added the ‘trending’ feature (still not available to all users). The idea behind is very similar to what Twitter did many years ago: ‘Trending shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook,’ explains Facebook on their glossary of terms. And it is a good way to keep up to date to what is going on.
I liked some key medias like The New York Times, Mashable, Calgary Herald and the local news Rocky Mountain Outlook and 106.5 Mountain FM. I also liked TED page and a few magazines like Today’s Parent. Based on that principle, I am following a few journalists – when you ‘follow’ someone, you will get all his or her public posts.
5. Get updates that really matters – Facebook’s social graph is ‘a global mapping of everybody and how they’re related’. In another words, Facebook maps your interaction every time you use the platform. So, if you don’t understand why you don’t see your best friend’s images that often, note if you interact with him or her, liking and commenting on their posts. This is how you show Facebook that ‘you care’. But there is a way to change this. You can go to your friend’s timeline and click on the friend button on the top, adding them to a list and getting notifications. If you click on ‘close friend’, you will automatically start receiving notification of everything they post and their posts will also come first on your homepage under ‘top stories’ (you can also sort your homepage view to top stories or most recent).