How I Made Facebook Lovely Again

Oh Facebook.

You temptress. You instigator. You heartbreaker. You are so freaking addicting and maddening all at the same time. You define paradox for me. 

Here’s what we all know: You either control Facebook or Facebook will control you.

With more than 1600 virtual friends… let me be the first to admit that Facebook was starting to drive me nuts. Literally, I felt as if I teeter tottered on sanity. It was just too much.

But in the past 3-4 months I’ve been able to do a couple simple things that made Facebook much more enjoyable.

Here’s how I made Facebook lovely again

  1. Manage your subscriptions – I accept friend requests from just about anyone. But here’s a little secret. If I don’t actually know you I don’t want to see every one of your status updates. So I mark you as “Only Important” on my subscription settings. So when I see someone pop up on my timeline and I don’t really know them, they get marked as “Only Important.” Over time this makes a massive difference! Conversely, if someone is in my family I mark their updates as “All Updates.” But most of my actual, in-real-life friends are marked as “Most updates” and that works just fine.
  2. Manage requests – Oh baby, event notifications and game requests will drive you batty. So I kill them all. I’ve never played a single game on Facebook and I block ’em all. I also found that all the game requests were coming from a very small minority of my friends. So not only do I block that specific game, but if you request I play a game I also mark you as “block game requests from this person.” Oh, sweet sanity!
  3. Hide updates from Yahoo, USAToday, and any other site that shares my friends browsing activity – This is your next sanity finder. All you have to do is click the little dropdown on that block of links and mark the “hide” button. That makes it all go away and I never see it again. (I couldn’t take a screenshot to show you because it’s all gone!)
  4. Turn off all notifications – If I want Facebook I go to Facebook. Head over to Notification Settings and turn them all off. I never want to get an email from Facebook. No direct message notifications, no friend requests, no tag notifications, nothing. Also, scroll down to Other Applications and turn all of those off.
  5. Close the tab – I know it’s tempting to keep Facebook open all day. That way when a notification pops up you are able to get right there and see who liked your image or who commented on your status update. Close the tab. The coolest thing will happen! You’ll get your life back and enjoy Facebook even more when you want to. In other words, I don’t let other people’s use of Facebook interrupt my life.

Taking these measures of control and getting the settings just right has truly made my use of Facebook lovely again. And that’s a sweet sane victory!





6 responses to “How I Made Facebook Lovely Again”

  1. Traci Smith Avatar
    Traci Smith

    Love this post! Can you explain in detail how to block game requests from a specific person?  I, too, find that 2 or three people send me a zillion game requests. Thanks again for a great post.

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      @576361cae7e34062ff7e807819b2dfa4:disqus Check out the thumbnail I posted. If you go to the app/game request itself and click on the little “x” in the upper right corner of the app, you’ll see the dialog I posted. Block both the game and “ignore all game requests from _____.” 

      I found there were about 20 people who sent all the request. I ignored them all and poof, I almost never get one. 

  2. btheninger Avatar

    I categorize my friends into groups, so the ones I want to see their lives more closely, I can easily find and follow their updates. 

  3. Tim Schmoyer Avatar

    You’re a nicer person than I am. I set it that you can’t friend request me (you can subscribe to my public stuff if you want) and I unfriended a ton of people because they then automatically stay subscribed to my public updates (they don’t count toward your subscriber number, though, because they didn’t publicly subscribe to you). Made Facebook more manageable for me.

    BTW, what’s the threshold of what Facebook deems as an “important” post?

  4. Matt Cromwell Avatar
    Matt Cromwell

    I’ve been experimenting with a lot of these settings for a while. It’s hard to strike just the right balance. I recently totally embarrassed myself when I asked an aquaintance: “Are you still on Facebook, I hardly see anything from you?” He’s like “Ya! All the time!” I somehow hid all his posts from my wall. I’ll switch it to only important now and hopefully avoid embarrassment in the future!

    Always practical advice coming from you Mr. Adam! Thanks!

  5. Matthew McNutt Avatar

    I think I’ve done a lot of the same things as you, except maybe more hard core! I hide activity from just about everyone other than close friends, family, and people in my church/student ministry. I’ve literally blocked somewhere around 1400 people … lol. But before I did that Facebook was useless for me. Most of my friends don’t accept the number of friend requests that I do, but my motivation is probably similar to yours … I want Facebook to be one of my tools for sending people to my blog and writing.

    I’ve also blocked just about every game and all sorts of outside apps. I strictly use it to connect with friends and kids in the group, so I don’t want to miss valuable content in the deluge of everything else!

    The other thing I do a LOT is use lists; I have several different categories of people in my church so I can quickly invite people to church events and youth ministry events without trying to go through my entire list of friends and try to remember who is here and who isn’t.

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