Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's About Time, Facebook!

For the longest time when you hit "like" on Facebook, your connection with the page you want to follow disappears just as quickly into a black hole. If you are lucky you might see random updates in your News Feed. If it's a page that doesn't update very often you'll likely miss everything.

And what about trying to find those pages that you've liked? It's one of the most confounding experiences on Facebook even today. You knew you liked a page once upon a time but darned if you can find the list of all the pages you've liked. Unfortunately, I can't even tell you how to do it. Maybe someone will post the instructions in the comments.

For a month or so I've been thinking about writing a post that explains how to use lists in order to filter and view pages that you've liked. Thankfully Facebook has come around and spared me from having to do this (though it's still a good idea, more on that below).  In the interim, Facebook has created a new link on the left side of your Facebook wall called Pages Feed. I learned about this from the amazing, funny and ever helpful George Takei. It looks like this.

When you click on this link you will see updates from all the pages you have ever liked. Granted, you might not actually want to see updates from half the pages you have liked but now at least, in one click, you have the option. It took a long time but thank you Facebook for finally providing this option.

The most effective way of using Facebook and being able to see updates from people/pages you actually want to see is by using lists. Facebook automatically creates some generic lists  but I don't use those. I prefer to create my own.

Lists are found under the Friends header on the left hand side of your wall.

You can see that I've created ones for my Boston friends, some of my family, History Groups and Publishers.  There are more lists but Facebook doesn't show the entire list.

Click on the word Friends. Now you'll be able to see all your lists and be able to create new lists.

The lists featured at the top of the page are the ones automatically created by Facebook for relationships, work, schools and location based on the information you supplied to Facebook. Like I said I don't use these lists. I create my own.

You simply press the Create List button, give your list a name and add friends or pages to it.

Once your lists are set up you can view status updates from those specific people just by clicking the list name. No longer will you miss updates from your family or close friends.

However, I also use lists in regards to Facebook pages. Yes, I am happy that they have given us the Pages Feed button described above. Unfortunately, as of this date, I have managed to "like" 268 pages on Facebook.  That's just too many to be manageable.

So I created two lists to ensure that I won't miss updates for the pages that are important to me. The lists are (you can see them in the image above) HistoryGroups and Publishers.

HistoryGroups is full of museums and historical societies that I follow and want to keep track of. Sometimes I just want to know about their activities and sometimes I want to see how well they are doing using social media. With one click I can check all the status updates to be sure that I don't miss any. I check this several times a day.

Publishers is a list of publishers that I follow to track the new books they are publishing. I am in constant need of guests for my weekly Fieldstone Common radio show and this list helps me stay up to date with publishers who produce books that are likely candidates for my show. I check this list about once a day.

Well, there you have it. I hope you will save time and enjoy using the new Pages Feed on Facebook. And I hope, if you're brave, that you'll consider fine tuning your News Feeds even further by creating useful lists. Let me know if you found this helpful.


  1. Amen. Some more clarity for Facebook is always welcome. Caroline Pointer wrote a related blog recently that helped me to create an "Interest List" involving genealogy. Your description is very clear, and I'm going to save the URL to this post so that I can increase my knowledge of the "little ways" of the giant Facebook.

    So far, I'm finding that I can't follow everybody & everything that I want to follow in one day -- but what's new, I suppose. Social media can get all-consuming very fast. Thanks for the post!

  2. I absolutely use the Friends feature on Facebook where I have several groups - Elementary School, High School, College, Local, Family, Genealogy. Not everyone wants to see everything I post (not that I post a whole lot).

    Thank you for sharing about the "Pages" list - I'll have to check that out.

  3. Great post. I love using Facebook and have been frustrated with many of the same items you covered in the post.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets