Facebook: You control (Your part in) the deluge!

facebook-small-logoI wasn’t going to blog about this, but I’m changing my mind under the influence of so very many complaints about the most recent changes on Facebook.  If you aren’t a Facebook user, you’re in a minority of webizens, and I won’t be offended if you skip this post.

Yes, the latest change was a big one.  It took all of the information you and all your connections are producing – all of which was already displayed on the homepage – standardized its appearance and combined it into one stream of information.  All of this information was already public, but placed differently.  Like it, love it, hate it, the responsibility for the now-all-equally-valued information was put into the hands of each individual user.  Previously, I could “vote up” or “vote out” certain types of information.  Now, I have to count on my connected Facebook Friends to control their output.

A few questions to ask yourself, as a Facebook user:

  1. Do I want all my friends to see on their home page that I sent an Egg/Plant/Poke to or threw a cyber-sheep (or, my personal fav a barrel full of monkeys) at  [fill in name of other friend here]?
  2. Do I want all my friends to see what I wrote on our mutual friend’s wall?
  3. Do I want all my friends to see what I wrote on a poll or group discussion?
  4. Are there some  people I’m connected with I’d like to check on first, before I scan the whole news feed for the rest of what’s going on?
  5. Have I ever reviewed what applications I’ve authorized access to my information?
  6. Do I get email from Facebook I don’t want?

Depending upon your answers to the above, you may be thinking you’d like to fix what you’re floating into the Facebook information stream, and take some control over your Facebook life.  Here’s how, from your logged in Facebook account:


If you want to amuse yourself with myriad apps, sending gifts and so on, that’s great.  You may not want everyone to have to read about it (in fact, most people probably don’t want to know, for the most part).

  • On the top of your Facebook, there’s a blue bar.
  • Find SETTINGS > APPLICATION SETTINGS which will return a list of your most recently used applications.
  • In the menu above the list, select AUTHORIZED to see all the apps you’ve ever given permission to access your profile.
  • Next to each there is a link EDIT SETTINGS from which you can select “Never publish any stories from [name of app]” or “Prompt me before publishing any stories from [name of app]”.
  • Note, you can also click the X at the end of the line for each app to delete it if you don’t use it.  Think of it as spring cleaning for your Facebook profile.

Wall posts

  • From that blue menu bar at the top of the page,
  • Returns a list of check boxes where you can choose which actions you want to appear on your wall, and therefore appear in the global news feed on the homepage.
  • This is a great time to check your PROFILE privacy settings, too.


  • Select which events you want emails about.

Friend Groups

Want to see updates from certain folks sorted out of the general home page stream?  This is the coolest new use of an existing Facebook feature!

  • Blue bar again… FRIENDS
  • Left side, MAKE A NEW LIST, follow the prompts to create your group.
  • You can have as many as you want, and you can put friends in more than one group.

Yes, it will take a little time, but you’ll be so much happier with the results!  Happy Facebooking!


4 Responses to “Facebook: You control (Your part in) the deluge!”

  1. Todd Porter
    March 19, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    What I don’t like about the new FB layout is the way that it seems to add so much more clutter to my home page. It should allow us to control what we see instead of letting other people to control what we see. I did go through and clean up what others will see, but I doubt that 90% of the users out there will.

  2. patti
    March 19, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    Community is about personal responsibility for the greater good. Facebook is an online community and this layout displays all info as equal unless you (and I and everyone) gives that information a different value.

  3. Jeff Moulton
    March 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    Unfortunately the only control I have over what I see of my friend’s content is a simple thumbs up or down on all content. So while I care about status updates from my friends, I may care a whole lot less about the fact they just passed an egg or are most like Han Solo in Star Wars. I don’t know how to keep the first while getting rid of the other.

    The old layout had a bank of slider bars that would control the volume of each type of update. This new layout has less functionality than the previous one. Hard to see how that is an improvement.

  4. patti
    March 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    The point is, we all have control over our own content output, and many may not realize that they’re putting all that info out there in the first place (and have been all along, even in the old format).

    I don’t necessarily think it’s an improvement at all. But, a little positive peer pressure may make those collected egg posts decrease to a manageable volume.

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