If you’re like me, you prefer to see your news in chronological order and not filtered, delayed or curated by an algorithm based on what it thinks it knows about you and your preferences. And, if you’re like me, you’ve had to put up with the Facebook version of “Most Recent,” even though it’s not recent, and not relevant, and definitely not all of the “news” you care to see. Well, here’s how to fix it, step-by-step, thanks to a suggestion from “Martin, from rainy England” on the Daily Tech News Show #2276
The gist of the concept is to create a “Friends List” containing all of your friends (from whom you’d like to see status updates) and use that list in lieu of your news feed. As mentioned in the video above, there are some drawbacks to this, which I will get into later, but they are not show stoppers.
Now, lets get the thing set up.
Create the list
First off, you’ll need to create the list in order to add people to it. To do this:
- Go to your Profile page
- Click the Friends tab
- Mouse over any friend’s name
- Click the Friends button
- Click the “Add to another list…” option in the drop down menu
In the drop down menu click New List… and you’ll get an input box where you’ll type a new list name.
Give it a name like “Most Recent” or “Facebook” and hit Enter. What ever name you type it will show as the Page/Browser Tab title (which you’ll see later when I bookmark the page). It will also be what you will look for in your left sidebar on the Facebook homepage.
Find your new list on the homepage
Visit the Facebook homepage and find the new list you just created.
It will be located in the “Friends” section of your left sidebar. Mine was called “Most Recent”.
When you hover the list item, you’ll notice a gear icon next to it on the left, and probably a number on the right.
The number indicates how many new posts have been made by people in the list since the last time you looked at the list. It counts to 20, then simply shows “20+”.
The gear icon on friend lists in this particular “Friends” section is used for 2 things: Add to Favorites, and Delete List.
Click the gear icon and then click “Add to favorites”.
Once you have done that, your new friends list will have moved to the top section of your left sidebar…
Put your mouse over the friends list in its new location and you’ll find another gear icon. Click the gear icon again, and click “Rearrange” from the menu. This will let you move it to a more prominent location in that top section…like right under “News Feed”.
Click and Drag the friend list to your desired position, and then click “Done” to save it.
Add more friends to the new list
Now that you’ve got the list in a prominent position, click the friend list and view its page.
Notice on the right-side of the page there is a “List Suggestions” section containing several of your friends with an Add button next to their name and photo. This is where you’ll easily add (by clicking the “Add” button), or skip adding (by clicking the X when you mouse over their suggestion) to the list the people that you actually do or do not want to see updates from in your new timeline.
Start adding friends…
As you click “Add” or skip adding friends, eventually you’ll run out of suggestions – at least from the initial batch of suggestions. When you do, you’ll either need to click “See More Suggestions” link or just simply refresh the page.
Continue adding friends to your list until you get the message “There are no more suggestions”.
If at this point you haven’t added all your friends, try refreshing the page. If that doesn’t get you any more suggestions, but you know you still actually have friends to add, try again later, or type the names of the ones you really want into the “Add friends to this list” input box.
Choosing the updates you see
With this method, one of the pros is that you can select what type of updates you actually see. The possible downside is that this only pertains to your friends you’ve added – this news feed doesn’t include pages you’ve liked, or communities you’re in. (If you’re like me, that’s not a problem. However if you are interested in seeing it, it is available in the “Pages” section of your left sidebar, as “Pages Feed”.)
Just above the List Suggestions, there is a “Manage List” button. Click that and you’ll be presented with a drop down menu of options.
Click “Choose Update Types…” from that drop down menu and it will expand to show you the various types of status updates you can show/hide.
Your options are:
- Status Updates: This is why you’re here after all. Leave checked.
- Photos: When your friends post photos. Probably leave checked.
- Games: No one likes Facebook Game updates, wtf. Uncheck.
- Comments and Likes: This is when “Susie commented on Chuck’s post” and you don’t know who Chuck is. It’s also when “Susie likes Spamalama’s page”. Who cares. Uncheck.
- Music and Videos: Susie is listening to Simple Plan on Pandora. Uncheck.
- Other Activity: Susie became friends with Chuck and John and 345 other people. Unless you care, uncheck.
Now that you’ve got the list cleaned up, refresh the page and see what your new News Feed looks like. You’ve probably already noticed some posts from people you haven’t seen in years.
Suddenly, you remember why you blocked them…
Chances are, you have that 1 or 2 (or 2 dozen) people on your friends list that you remember blocking because everything they posted was a survey or Farmville update, and now you regret adding them to your pristine new News Feed list.
Well, removing them is as easy as adding the first person…
- Mouse over their name to get the friend card
- Click the “Friend” button
- Click “Add to another list…” from the drop down menu
- Click on your news feed list to remove the check mark.
Just like that, no more annoying posts from people with annoying views, or that like to overshare everything that they’re doing.
Remembering to Bookmark the list
Since there is no way to default your Facebook feed to use this list, the next best thing is to change out your Facebook bookmark with a link pointed at this new list.
Posting from this News Feed
One very important thing to keep in mind is about posting from this “friend list” and other lists like it:
Anything you post while on this page will ONLY be visible to people you have put into this list. To post updates visible with your normal privacy settings, make them from your profile page or the Facebook homepage.
If you don’t intend for your posts to be limited to only the people you have added to this list (i.e. invisible to new friends you haven’t added to the list, or invisible to people you have removed from the list) then you should continue to post on the homepage, your profile, or through your third-party service/syndication tool of choice.
Most of my posts are syndicated from Google+ to Twitter, and then finally to Facebook. However, there are times when what I want to post is only relevant to people on Facebook, and for those I will have to go to the Facebook Homepage or my profile to make the post.
Adding new friends
Occasionally you’ll probably make new friend-connections with your Facebook profile, and when you do, you’ll have to remember to also add them to this friends list. Often times, they will show up in the List Suggestions section and you can add them from there.
For me, this will be just another list I add when adding new friends, as I always classify friends based on the organization and/or city where I first met them. This helps when I need to direct posts at people where the content is most applicable (i.e. everyone I went to high school with, vs everyone who lived in my high school’s town…there is some overlap in that group, but certain things only pertain to those from school, not their parents and other townsfolk).
If you have any other ideas that might make Facebook easier to use for others, or if I left something out of this article, let me know in the comments below.