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It’s a Group Thing

Facebook surely has its fans and foes, and undoubtedly flaws.   There is of course virtue in connecting with old and new friends on Facebook.  One of those virtuous places within Facebook can be found in Facebook Groups.  You can start your own, or join an existing group.

You never know who or what you may encounter in a Facebook Group.  In my experience, I’ve unexpectedly heard from my high school math teacher, (“I’m still kicking” was his post) as well as my childhood next door neighbor.  I planned a work reunion for about 35 people that turned into 200 people.  Expect the unexpected but expect nostalgia on a grand scale if you join an alma mater or neighborhood group. My childhood neighborhood group has pictures of the neighborhood that span decades and occasionally I’ll see a familiar name in a post or comment.

So how do you find such groups?  You can use Facebook’s search and see what suggestions appear, for example the city you grew up in (or current town) followed by “group”  (e.g., Fresh Meadows group) to keep up to date on local news, commentary, and nostalgia.  You will have to click on Join, and at some point an admin for the group will make you a member.  If the group is public you will be able to see posts without joining.  You must be a member to post or comment.  There are 3 different privacy settings a group may have.  Click here to find out more about group settings.

In addition to searching for a particular group you can explore a myriad of Facebook Groups by category.  There are multiple ways, but the way that currently works on all devices is to search “groups discover”  then click on  Groups Discover.  Or search “create group” to easily start your own group.

Once a member of one or more groups, you’ll see updates from the group in your News Feed. Read not only the posts but also comments as you may find a lost classmate or neighbor or who knows?  I’d love to hear if you’ve had any interesting group encounters!

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3 Time Saving Facebook Tips

time is precious

If you are reading this post, most likely you’re spending a fair amount of time on Facebook, maybe more than you’d like. Of course there are times when you are not on a schedule, and just want to relax and browse your friends and photos.  However when you’d like your visits to be more efficient, here are a few tips to help save you a bit of time.

1. Turn off  Video Auto Play – Does it drive you crazy that videos automatically play as you peruse your Facebook News Feed? You can easily turn this feature off by clicking on Settings (or Privacy Shortcuts, See More Settings), and then Videos. Set Auto Play Videos off.

2. Save News Feed Items and Read Them Later – Did you even know you could do this? This feature was rolled out at the beginning of last year. If you click on the drop down arrow at the top right of a post, you will see an option to Save post, Save link, or Save video. Then in the left column of your News Feed, under Favorites, you’ll see Saved. Click on this link, and all your saved posts will be available for reading until you delete them. (If you’re using the Facebook App on your mobile device, click on More to find the Saved option.)

3.  Prioritze your News Feed – Do you check your News Feed daily (or more frequently) to see posts from your favorite people or business pages?  Another Facebook feature introduced last year allows you to prioritize posts you see in your News Feed.  On your desktop, click on the drop down arrow on the far right of your top blue menu bar.  Select News Feed Preferences, then Prioritize who to see first.  All of your friends and business pages will display; click on those you wish to appear at the top of your News Feed, or click again to deselect. You can also click on the All button on the left to switch the view to Friends only, Pages only, or People you see first.  (Also from News Feed Preferences you can Unfollow a person or business if they are clogging up your feed. Note you can unfollow someone and still remain Facebook friends, or unfollow a business while remaining a fan, and no one will never be the wiser).

Of course the best way to minimize your Facebook time is just don’t look!!!  Please comment and share your Facebook time saving tips, I’d love to hear them!

 

Using Facebook More but Enjoying it Less?

looking at fYes we are addicted to Facebook, we have admitted that to ourselves already.  We receive positive reinforcement whenever someone likes our comments or posts to our Timeline.  And we love all the love from the many birthday greetings.  The benefit of Facebook is that it connects us to friends, acquaintances, and businesses.  It is a great networking tool, but not when we miss posts, or have so many posts we can’t find the ones that are important to us.  Facebook is not as much fun when we start missing out.

If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, the number of friends and pages you’ve liked no doubt has grown to the point where you cannot possibly see every update from every friend and page.   You may already know that your News Feed is filtering all these posts – you are not seeing every post from every friend  and business you’ve liked.  How Facebook filters is their secret,  and it does change periodically.   What to do?

1.  Sort your  News Feed by  Most Recent rather than Top Stories.  You will see updates in the order they were posted, rather than by the order Facebook believes is most relevant for you.  Try it both ways and see the difference.  The option is on the top right of the beginning of your News Feed.  Once you set the filter to Most Recent it may reset to Top Stories,  so you may want to notice how you’re filtering when you land on your News Feed.

2.  Use the Pages Feed.  To easily see updates from business pages that you have liked, click on your Pages Feed  (left column of your News Feed).  You may be surprised at what you’ve been missing!

3.  Create a Friends list.  I really think this is the best way of controlling your News Feed, and easily seeing what is most important to you. Click on Friends from the left column of your News Feed, then Create List.    Enter a list name (e.g., Book Club, Gym Friends) add friends to the list, and when you click on Create, your News Feed will now be filtered by this list.  To see your full News Feed, click on Home or News Feed from the top left column.  Once you have lists you can just click on the list name under Friends (from your News Feed)  to filter your News Feed to see only updates from people on the list.

Note that Facebook has already created three friend lists for you:  Close Friends, Acquaintances, and Restricted.  (Put people on your Restricted list if you only want them to see posts you’ve made public.)  If you are on a friend’s Timeline and want to add them to a list, just click on Friends under their cover photo, and you will see an option to add them to an existing list (you can also create a new list here).

4.  Create an Interests list.  An Interest list will filter your News Feed by specific business pages or a combination of  business pages and friends.  Click on Interests from the left column of your News Feed, then Add Interests, Create List, and enter the people or pages you want on the list.  Interest lists can be private,  available to your friends, or public.  They will filter your News Feed as a Friends list will when you click on the name of the list from the left column of your News Feed.  If you are on a business page you can add that business to an existing Interest list or a new Interest list by clicking on Liked (beneath the cover photo) and selecting the option.

5.  Manage friend updates.  If you want to manage the updates from friends that you do see, go to their Timeline , click on Friends (under their cover photo).  There you will find an option to show or not show their updates in your News Feed, and if you decide you do want to see their updates, you can select which updates to see.  Does this guarantee you will see their updates in your News Feed?  I would not bet on it but it will eliminate updates you wish not to see!

6.  Be direct.   Of course you can always go directly to the Timeline of a friend or business.  This is the best way to make sure you have not missed any updates.

Once you start controlling your News Feed you may find you are on Facebook less and enjoying it more!

Avoiding Friends on Facebook

Ok, yes I know the idea behind Facebook is to find friends and be connected.  So you joined Facebook to connect with relatives and friends, and just when you think you are done you have more friend requests.  Then you friend acquaintances, and before you know it your News Feed is jammed with a lot of stuff you don’t care about.  If that sounds like your News Feed it is time to hide from some of these “friends”.

Now, how do you hide News Feed posts  from someone without their knowledge so you don’t hurt their feelings?

The simplest way to ban someone from your News Feed, and they will never know, is to go to their Profile or Timeline, click on the Friends button (the one with the check mark and next to the Message button), and click on the Show in News Feed option from the dropdown.  Clicking on items in this dropdown will add or remove the check mark.  In this case a check mark indicates updates will show, no check mark means they won’t show.  No muss no fuss!

If that is too drastic and you don’t want to ban all posts from this friend in your News Feed, this dropdown also allows you to select which type of updates you want to appear in your News Feed.  Additionally the dropdown also gives you the opportunity to Unfriend.  If you do unfriend your former friend does not get a notification but they will find out they are no longer your friend if they try to visit your Profile/Timeline.

An alternative way to trim your News Feed is to click in the top right corner of a post on your News Feed.  The dropdown will give you choices to Unsubscribe, or to receive All Updates, Most Updates, or Only Important Updates.  Facebook is deciding here what is important or what to not show based upon its own algorithm.  For more control over what updates to receive, use the method from a friend’s Profile/Timeline described above.

Don’t forget that your News Feed has a Most Recent and Top Stories Sort or filter (top right corner of your News Feed).   It is likely you have already missed some of your friend’s posts anyway.   If you are interested in what you’ve missed, the best way to review all posts from a particular friend is to go directly to their Profile or Timeline.

Now, what if you don’t want your friends to see your posts?  Then you want to add them to your Restricted List.  By doing so, they will only see posts that you share publicly.  Navigate to Privacy Settings, Blocked People and Apps, click on Manage Blocking,  and then click on Edit List from  Add Friends to your Restricted List.  They will never know!

A Little More Privacy – Take Control of Facebook Tagging

We seem to enjoy posting pictures and videos on Facebook and then tagging them with the names of one or more of our Facebook friends.    Once you are tagged in a Facebook video or photo, that video or photo will be displayed on your Timeline (Profile) and end up in a Photos and Videos of You section in your Photos folder.

Perhaps you went to a party Saturday night, and you wake up Sunday morning to find there are pictures of you already posted on your Timeline.   Perhaps these pictures show you really enjoying this party, and you’d really rather these photos remain private.   Additionally, in an effort to bring your attention to a photo or video, you may even be tagged in a photo or video in which you are not even present!

An easy solution to avoid these situations is to enable Timeline Review in your Profile Settings.  Click on Privacy Settings, then Edit Settings on How Tags Work.  You want to enable Timeline Review.  Once you do the setting will indicate On.  If the setting indicates Off, click on it and then click on Enable.

Now that you’ve enabled Timeline Review, you’ll receive a Facebook notification when you’ve been tagged in a photo or video, as you did before, however the photo will not be posted to your Timeline or your Photos folder.  You can now click on your Activity Log (new Facebook Timeline feature) to review the items in which you are tagged.  Posts and Info to Review will be at the top of the Log.  In the right column there is a check mark to approve or an X to ignore the item.  If you approve the item it will be displayed on your Timeline.  If you ignore the item it will remain in your Activity Log, but will be hidden from your Timeline.

If you are not on Timeline yet,  there will be a Needs Review folder in the left column on your Wall.  Once you click on that folder  the items for review work the same as described above.

How can you remove the tag altogether?  To remove your name from a photo in which you are tagged, you must click on the arrow next to the round tool gear at the top right corner of the photo.  There will be a choice to Remove/Report the tag, which will then give you additional choices to remove the tag.

Hope this helps you feel a bit more in control of your face on Facebook!

Facebook Timeline Tips

Don’t be intimidated by Timeline it is not that scary – here are a few tips to help you get started.

The latest version of the Facebook Profile is called Timeline.  All Facebook Profiles will be converted to Timeline, there is no escape.  You can wait until Facebook converts you or go to the Introducing Timeline page (www.facebook.com/about/timeline) and choose to upgrade by clicking Get Timeline.   Facebook will allow you 7 days to preview and modify your Timeline prior to publishing it.  During this time, your Facebook Friends will see your old Profile.

Timeline is a reformatted Profile that allows you to easily go back in time to see past posts.  It has all the same elements of the old Profile with a few additional features.

There is now a predominant Cover Photo which is larger than your Profile Picture.  Adding a Cover Photo is optional, although it does make your Timeline more attractive.

Activity Log is a new Timeline feature that allows you to edit the activity entries on your Timeline (likes, comments, tags) and review pending posts (if you have enabled Timeline Review for photo tags in your Privacy Settings).

About and Update Info takes you to the same page and allows you to edit your Facebook information (similar to the former Edit Profile).  All of your former Profile information is now contained in About, it is formatted differently but you can easily modify your share options for individual items.

When you scroll down your Timeline, a box appears along the top left of the page that allows you to easily move to different time periods on your Timeline.  This Timeline display replaces the former Wall.  If you hover over an item a star and a pencil pop up in the upper right margin of the post.  The star is a toggle that allows you to resize the post.  The pencil allows you to hide the item from your Timeline, delete the item, and other options depending upon the type of post.

Click on Activity Log (just beneath your Cover Photo), to edit the activity entries on your Timeline, and approve pending posts.  Click on the small circle to the right of the item to display edit options.

You can also change share options for an activity item by clicking on the share options drop down in the right margin of the item.

For additional help with Activity Log, Facebook’s help feature does a good job explaining it – visit www.facebook.com/help/activitylog.  Also, if you type “timeline” on Facebook Help (drop down arrow next to Home) you should be able to find answers to your questions.

The good news is that your News Feed does not change when you convert to Timeline – there you are still on familiar territory!


 

Facebook Messages You May Have Missed

Sending a message to a friend on Facebook is a handy way to communicate privately.  Your message does not appear on your Facebook Wall or News Feed, or on your friend’s Wall or News Feed, instead it can be found in the Messages folder on the left column of your News Feed.  When someone sends you a message, you should have a white on red counter by the message icon on the top blue menu bar.  You should also receive an email notification about the message (unless you’ve turned this off in your Account settings).

What you may be unaware of, is a subfolder under Messages called Other.  You must click on Messages to be able to see this subfolder.   If you have a message waiting for you in the Other subfolder, you must discover it yourself, by clicking on Other.  I recently missed two important messages within the past few months because I had not checked this subfolder.

If your message privacy is set to Everyone (meaning anyone on Facebook can send you a message), you may find messages waiting for you in the Other messages subfolder.  Typically messages from friends or friends of friends will land in your Messages folder, and messages from anyone else including business pages will land in your Other subfolder.

Your Privacy Settings determine who can send you messages.  To check your settings click on the drop down arrow next Home, click on Privacy Settings, click on Edit Settings next to How You Connect, and you will find “Who can send you Facebook messages?”.  Settings are Everyone, Friends of Friends, or Friends.

Let me know if you find any interesting messages!

Tickers, Subscriptions, and Lists – Oh My!

Ticker, Subscriptions, and Lists are three new Facebook features that may have you a bit puzzled and apprehensive.   Read on for an explanation of  how to use them.

Ticker – this new feature appears in the upper right of your News Feed.  This is a real-time stream of updates made by your Friends and Business Pages you Like.  If you hover over an item it will expand to show the entire post.  You can also make a comment on the expanded post.

Subscriptions – your Friends are already Subscribed to your postings, so you don’t have to take any action.  However you can receive Public posts from someone you are not Friends with by Subscribing to that person, if they have chosen to allow Subscription to Public updates.   Go to their Profile and click on Subscribe (upper right) if available.   While on a Friend’s Profile, if you hover over the new Subscribed button on the top right of their Profile you can manage which updates you receive from that person (you can also do nothing and accept the default settings shown).   If you want to allow Subscribers to your Public updates, click on Subscriptions in the left column of your Profile.

Lists – this is the one I like.  You can create a List, give it a name, and add Friends and/or Pages to it.  You can then filter your News Feed by any of your Lists.  Also when you post you can restrict the posting visibility to one of your Lists (click on the drop down to the left of the Post button).  Perhaps you want your post to be seen only by Family, or Work Friends, or Book Club Friends (if you’ve made such lists) you can now do this. 

I am never quite sure that my Facebook News Feed is showing all the updates by my Friends and Pages, so I’ve taken control over this by putting Friends and Pages into Lists.   Create a List by clicking on More next to Lists (left of your News Feed).  Alternatively when you are on a Friend’s Profile, you can click on the Friends button (top right of their Profile) to add them to a current List or create a new List.

Facebook has created some Lists for you already.  These Lists may already contain Friends based upon Profile information that you and your Friends have added to Facebook (for example schools, employers, family members). 

What do you think of these new Facebook changes?  Get ready, as Timeline (the Profile replacement) is coming soon!

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