Now that Facebook auto-subscribes you to everything you “Like,” whether that’s via the button or just something you mentioned in your profile, your news feed can quickly become so cluttered that it’s difficult to know what update is coming from whom.
That’s where Facebook’s Lists become very helpful. If you group similar people together in a list, you can easily view news from only those sources, providing better context, more quickly, with more of the posts you actually want to see.
First, let’s create a list. Click “Friends” from the left column on the page. Then, near the top right corner of the main column you’ll see the button “Create A List.”
The first step is to give your list a name.
Next, pick the people you want to include in this list. For my “Cincy Network” group, I’m picking all the local people I’ve met at networking events. But you can also pick relevant pages, so in this case, I’m checking a few feeds that will keep me up to date on what’s happening in town.
Now when you want to check your feed for only that group, just click the “Friends” link in the left column, and the name of the group just below it. You’ll see a news feed you can quickly scan, knowing the context for everyone who appears on it.
Creating Friend Lists has another benefit as well. Say your friends from high school aren’t interested in industry-related links you’ll post for everybody else, or maybe you’d like to share some personal pictures with only your family and closest friends.
As you’re filling in a post on your wall, click the privacy pulldown menu (the padlock) and select “Custom.”
The next menu asks who should see the post. Select “Specific People.”
Start typing the name of your group, and a selectable group name should appear below the box. Save this setting, and your post will only go to members of your Friend List.
Like many things in Facebook, using Friend Lists can be a little cumbersome. It would be nice if it were easier to use. For example, the names of your Lists could show up in the privacy pulldown menu to save two steps. But once you get used to it, you can get more out of your Facebook experience by categorizing your connections.