Facebook has finally done it: Last week, the company introduced Feeds on mobile, giving users the option to view their Facebook content chronologically.
Now, instead of having Facebook feeding you a salad of things its algorithms think you should look at (that’s the Home feed), you can switch to Feeds, and see things as they happen, and you can even take it a step further by only viewing content from Favourites, Friends, Groups, or Pages.
If you, like me, have been eager to switch to Feeds and give the finger to Facebook’s algorithms, you may have initially been disappointed. For me, the content on Feeds was often horrible, with completely irrelevant stuff showing up, including ad-like content from Pages I’ve followed ages ago and forgotten about, and memes from novelty Pages that ceased to be cool circa 2015.
If you’ve been on Facebook for a long time, this will show you a lot of stuff you no longer care about.
I suspect this is because I’ve been treating Facebook’s “like” button as a “save for later” button, and over the years, this fairly random assortment of content added up. As a result, Feeds is almost as messy for me as Facebook’s algorithmic Home feed.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do about this. Think of it as an ideal opportunity to reduce the number of Pages you’ve “liked”, but don’t really care about anymore. That site selling Pilates equipment? The gelateria in that small Italian town you’ll likely never visit again? Local grocery market which has somehow devolved into a conspiracy theory site? Yeah, it may be time for all of those to go.
This may take a while, but as you use Feeds, if you’re diligent about trimming the stuff you no longer care about, things will get better. In the end, you should start seeing what you’ve really signed up on Facebook for – timely posts from people and businesses you’re interested in.
Another thing you can do is beef up your Favourites. Feeds gives you the option of seeing only posts from the Friends and Pages you’ve set as Favourites. Unfortunately, Facebook has made adding Pages and Friends to Favourites somewhat complicated — to do so, you have tap Menu – Settings & Privacy – Settings – News Feed – Favourites, and then search for Pages and Friends you want to add. Alternatively, you can tap on Feeds – Favourites – Manage Favourites and, again, search to add more Pages and Friends.
For some reason, Facebook has limited the number of Favourites you can have to 30, which makes this feature less useful than it could be.
Fine-tuning all of this to get a better experience from Feeds takes some work, but it does pay off. Sure, if you’re only up for some mindless scrolling, it’s perfectly fine to let Facebook’s algorithms choose content for you. But if you’re looking for timely content from the Pages, Friends, and Groups you follow, Feeds will win out every time. Now, if only Facebook would let us create topical lists of Pages and Friends (think Twitter lists), that would be great.