Winning at Facebook - controlling your feed

We all know Facebook is, at this point, a necessary evil. It's the best tool ever invented for staying in touch with your friends; it's also the biggest time-waster ever invented (and sometimes the ticket to being annoyed with more people, faster, than ever before!)

Image Credit - flickr laikolosse


Sometimes your goals align with Facebook's - you want to relax and lose yourself into a mindless stream of whatever hits your eyeballs, and Facebook wants to keep feeding mindless information to your eyeballs.

It's important to understand, however, that sometimes your goals don't align. Facebook's goal is to keep you on Facebook for as long as possible. One way they do this is by pre-determining which of your friends' posts (and which advertisements) you're most likely to interact with, and displaying these posts (and ads) to you, more prominently and more often, while not showing you other friends' posts at all.

This is bad news when you're trying to stay in touch with as many people as possible and looking for your friends' most recent posts.

Here are 3 easy steps to help you take back control of your Facebook feed

1.) Bookmark your Most Recent Posts feed

Go to your regular ol Facebook page, at

  • On the left hand sidebar you'll see a section header labeled FAVORITES, and directly below that will be a link for "News Feed".
  • Hover over News Feed, and you'll see a drop-down arrow appear. Click on the drop-down arrow, and you'll get a link for "Most Recent."
  • Click on Most Recent, and you will see ALL posts from ALL your friends, sorted by when they were posted, without regards for who or what is the most popular.
  • Finally, bookmark this page in your web browser, and now you have a one-click way to see what's happening in your social world in real time. (I generally use this as my Facebook entry point, and save the popular Facebook-fed posts for later.)
  • Short cut - just copy this link and paste it into your web browser: (

click images below to see full sized examples


2.) Group your friends into lists

Very simple, and very broad-based lists. I call mine:

  • Circle 1 (best)
  • Circle 2
  • Circle 3
  • Circle 4
  • Circle 5 (worst)
  • I brought the "circles" over from Google + . What can I say? I developed a good system over there and brought it back to FB..

No need to worry about Family vs Coworkers vs Industry people vs Acquaintances vs Current Friends vs Friends from a long time ago vs etc. etc.etc..! None of that matters if you're goal is to read good content.

You already know who your favorite reads are - go ahead and put all of them into Circle 1. And of course you know the people whose posts drive you crazy - let's put them into Circle 5. Everyone else can start off in Circle 3.

You can access all the posts from friends in each list by clicking on that list in the left sidebar. This is a quick way to see all the good stuff - the stuff YOU decide is good, and not necessarily what Facebook decides is good - at one click.

Did you notice that each list has its own web address url, different from the other lists? You could even bookmark each list if you'd like - then you can see each list's content with one mouseclick!

3) Manage your group lists, ruthlessly

This is the awesome sauce where we make the 5 circles super powerful. It works like this:

Everybody starts in Circle 3. People you find yourself responding to, liking, and generally interesting move up to Circle 2 and eventually Circle 1. Read their post, like it, and change their Circle - boom, done. People you find boring, tedious, annoying, and generally not worth reading get moved down. Anybody in Circle 5 who gets moved down becomes "unfollow this person from your feed."

It's very easy to change a person's Circle (or friend-list):

  • Hover over their name.
  • Hover over the "friend" link at the bottom of the pop that appears.
  • Click "Add to another list".
  • Move them to the appropriate list.

It takes less than 5 seconds.

I'm using my friend Jay Thompson as a "hover over" example - not only is Jay a good guy and a good follow, but considering he has over 5,000 friends and 2,817 followers - you probably already know him!


Hopefully these three ideas help you better manage your Facebook feed, so you can get more productive facebooking done in less time, and have more fun doing it!

- Chris Butterworth