I know you missed my post terribly last week. My excuse is that my family came for the weekend, and I was busy preparing, entertaining and recuperating. It was a fun time, and it was worth it all, so your need for information got relegated to second place. The weekend bonus for me was that I received instruction about how to be a fairy from a 5 year old. That was the icing on the cake!
Ok, here is some magic for you.
I only got a tiny bit of feedback on my last post about making Facebook better, and that came orally rather than as a comment on the site. I was told that the person followed my instructions to the letter only to find that even more remote (and not too desirable) Facebook friends showed up in the place of all those she had designated as “Acquaintances”. Not good!
I promised you better ways to refine your Facebook feed, and it comes by way of a little piece of software I’ve mentioned to you in the past: Social Fixer (http://socialfixer.com/) It can be installed for the following browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera. It is not available for Internet Explorer, so if you are using that you may want to change to one of the others for accessing Facebook.
From the Social Fixer home page, click on the browser you want to use and then click “Install” when given the option to do that. When you first log in to Facebook using that browser you’ll see a setup wizard to help you with the confusing assortment they offer. A recent article at LifeHacker (http://lifehacker.com) suggests that you start out by disabling everything and save. Then you can go through them one at a time to choose what works for you. To do that using the Wizard, click on the “Minimalist Settings” instead of the “Recommended Settings”. Then click “Next”.
The next step of the Wizard discusses the icons that allow you to control the posts in your feed. Your choices are “Mark as Read” (hides the post, but it will show up again if new comments are made to it), “Mute” (hides post and also hides any new comments), “Mark Unread” (if you accidentally marked a post as “read” or “muted” by accident, this will undo that) “Add App” (more later on this—maybe) “Google It! (searches Google regarding the post), and “Show Debug Information” about the post. You are given the option to check the box to show these post action icons. Mine do show. You are also given the option to Display the “Control Panel” at the top of your feed. That makes real-time control of your posts easier, so I have chosen to show that. If you want both of those choices, check the box beside them. Then click “Next”.
The next step is one many of you will like. Facebook’s default view is to show you what they deem “Top Stories”. You may not agree with what they want to show you, but they have eliminated the option to just see whatever has been posted most recently. Here you can recover that option, and Social Fixer will override Facebook’s default for you whenever it kicks in again. If you want to see the most recent stories first, leave that box checked in the Wizard. You can also choose to hide the little triangle that Facebook uses to point out their “Top Stories” if you want. Then click “Next”.
If you are a gamer you may want to have those games put into their own Tabs. I don’t have this option checked, as I am not a gamer. Make your choice and click “Next”.
The next Wizard Option allows you to fix up your Chat to your preferences. Make it like you want and click “Next”.
If you don’t like the way the photos are shown in Facebook these days (Light Box, which overlays the page with a large copy of the photo along with comments along the side of it) you can disable it in this pane. I don’t mind that, so mine is unchecked. Make yourself happy and then click “Next”.
I don’t do themes, and these may not even work anyhow (according to Lifehacker). Maybe you like them. If so, give it a try on this pane and click “Next”.
You can disable many of the boxes in the right panel once Social Fixer gets going by clicking the “X” in the top right corner. You can also collapse the box by clicking the title. This just makes it smaller without removing it. You can expand it again at any time.
You may want to check the “Show Friend Tracker” box. This lets you know when someone unfriends you. It can be useful in letting you know what you’ve said that is so offensive that people are jumping ship on you. Sometimes Facebook unfriends people accidentally, and sometimes you are reported as being unfriended by someone when you actually are still friends. If you see that you’ve been unfriended, click on that person’s page to see if they have cancelled their account. If they do have an account, look at the Friend button on the top right of their Profile (or the below the large photo on their Timeline). If that is checked, you are still friends, If it gives you the option to add as friend, you’re out. Contact them to see if they did it intentionally if you care enough.
The next pane allows you to “Show image previews on hover” when you roll over a thumbnail. Kinda handy.
Next is a way to restore the old behavior of the “Comment” button. I really don’t remember what the old comment behavior was. However, when I look at my Social Fixer settings (more on how to do that later) I see that I have “Fix the missing cursor problem in comment boxes” checked. I assume that is what they are talking about in this pane of the Wizard.
The next box allows you to “Like” Social Fixer on Facebook and click Done.
Take a break, have some coffee, beer, whatever you want. Then come back and click on the wrench on the top right of your Facebook page, right beside the tiny photo of you. This gives you a drop-down menu where the first choice is “Social Fixer Options”. Click there and take note of the left hand column. First you’ll see “Popular”, and on the right when that option is selected you’ll see where you may have chosen to force Facebook to show your recent stories first. You can also see other choices you did or didn’t make and can change now if you want. Some of you don’t like the “ticker” in the right-hand column, for instance, and you can hide it in this window. Be sure to click “Save” (at the top) when you’re done and refresh your page to see the changes. Click on each of the items in the left column and refine your selections.
On the “Timeline” option you can change how you view the Timeline’s of others, but not how they see yours. If you don’t like looking at the Timeline, though, change your view of it there.
The most important option of all may be the “Filtering” option. Here you can hide all my pitiful dog stories if you want or any other of your friend’s irritating posts. If you want to hide all stories about dogs, for instance, click in the “Other” column and add the word “/dog” (without the quotation marks). Leave the forward slash before the term you want to filter. Then check “Hide” in the Action column. DONE!
If you just want to hide MY dog stories but not all stories about dogs, select my name (and MD, BFA, SJO, AH, MH, and anyone else who’s dog stories make you cry on a daily basis). To make multiple selections use the Command key (Mac) or Ctrl key (PC). Leave the Type column blank so that all kinds of posts will be included, and also skip the Application column. Put “/dog|dogs” into the Other column. The vertical bar ( | ) between the terms can be taken to mean “or”. You can add several terms with that bar between (e.g. /Judge Roy Moore|Roy Moore|Moore would cover all such mentions of the name). Then click “Hide” in the Action column. For more on filtering, check this link:
Social Fixer Feed Filter
To create another kind of filter you will need to click “Add New Filter at the Top” or “Add New Filter at the Bottom” and make your new choices there. You can delete filters or disable them without removing them in the last column on the right.
I just created a filter that hid the “Birthday Calendar”. I don’t participate in any of the apps where you have to allow third party access to my Facebook account, including the Birthday calendar. To create this filter I left everything in all columns blank except for the “Birthday Calendar” in the Application column and the “Hide” in the Action column. When I save and refresh the page I should see no more of those requests.
Any time you want to change your Social Fixer settings, just click that wrench, go to Social Fixer Options, and make and save your changes. You can disable Social fixer by clicking on the wrench and clicking “Disable Social Fixer”. For more on Social Fixer check out their FAQ page.
Ok, folks, that should be enough to entertain you for a few days. Let me know if any of this is unclear and I’ll try to clarify. Also let me know if I got it wrong—it is possible if not probable. ☺