Facebook Cleanse 101

For the past few months, my Facebook usage started to go down, and over the last month, almost to zero. I love the site and service, but checking it was really confusing and sometimes disorienting. Maybe I’m just getting old. Anyway, I spent about 30 minutes late last night trying to clean up my Facebook mess, and I got so many pings on Twitter that folks were also having similar urges, so I thought I’d share exactly what I did to get my groove back:

  1. Removed most of my “Liked” pages: Over the past 3 years, I’ve “liked” pages of things, places, people, maybe too many. Though, I’d imagine I’m on the low end. I narrowed mine down from around 200 to 10 things I really care about.
  2. Honing interests: Same, about 10. I am not that interesting.
  3. Facebook “like” button: This was surprising. Every time you “like” a page somewhere on the Web, it records it back in Facebook. I removed all of them and it may change my “like” behavior in the future.
  4. Groups: I was only invited to about 10 groups, and now I am a member in zero groups.
  5. Customizing navigation bar: I never use all the nav-bar tools on the left column, so I just deleted most of them like Games, etc. And, while most of them moved, the one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t really customize your FB homepage experience, and I’ve tried to remove Games about 10x and it comes back each time!
  6. Events and Messages: Wow, I had been invited to about 500 events over the past few years. I hadn’t replied to one of them. Some of them I just knew to ignore, but others were hidden. I had to go into each one and manually remove it. I also went back into my notification settings and made sure that I can’t be contacted for events by email.

But, this is the money shot. Hat tip to my friend James Proud (all of 19 years old) who clued me into a trick — using Facebook lists. I am a heavy user of Twitter lists, but they are even more critical on Facebook. I have heard many people who just de-friend a bunch of people to control their feed noise, but I don’t want to do that. It’s kind of drastic and could create some awkward encounters in real life, whereas not following someone on Twitter isn’t a big deal. James says FB lists are a way to control your feed and customize who to interact with, and he’s right. And now that I don’t follow as many pages or interests, everything is so much cleaner. Finally, here’s how you find the “Lists” feature, which isn’t easily accessible from the homepage:

  1. Go to your “Friends” page.
  2. At top, hit “Edit Friends” button.
  3. At top, hit “Create List” button.
  4. Boom, create as many you like.
  5. Go back to the home page. At the top under “Most Recent,” click on the down arrow and choose the list you’d like to view.