Living in a Facebook utopia: How to remove annoying posts from your News Feed

We all have the best of intentions when we’re posting to Facebook. But let’s face it – sometimes we (me included – I’m guilty) are annoying and our friends and family are annoying. Facebook can be one big News Feed of annoying.

But I have gotten pretty good at building what I call a Facebook News Feed Annoyance Deflector by using a combination of settings and a Google Chrome extension. Here’s a list of things that I use that you can apply to your own Facebook News Feed browsing to make it so excellent that you will live in a Facebook News Feed utopia filled with only the things you like.

Facebook Settings

1. Unchecking a friend’s follow setting

For: When you love your friends, but you don’t love their Facebook posts and you don’t want to see them in your News Feed.

How to:

  1. Go to your friend’s Facebook profile.
  2. You’ll see a button on their cover photo that says Following and has a check mark next to it.
  3. To remove their posts from your News Feed, click the Following button to uncheck it. It will now say Follow.
  4. Your friend’s post will no longer appear in your News Feed, allowing you to avoid the drama of unfriending someone but also keep annoying things out of your Facebook experience.

Unfollow Friend's Post

2. Blocking event invitations

For: That friend who lives 1,000 miles away and keeps inviting you to minor events that will require you to make travel arrangements. Or that friend who has bought in to one of those work-from-home sales schemes and invites you to every virtual or in-person event.

How to:

  1. Go to Facebook.
  2. Click on the gear icon on the top right of your page.
  3. Select Privacy Settings.
  4. Once you’re on the Privacy Settings page, click Blocking from the left hand menu.
  5. Scroll down to Block event invites and then type the person’s name into the Block invites from box, and hit Enter.

Facebook Block Event Invites

3. Blocking apps and app invites

For: Anyone who plays FarmVille, Candy Crush … you know what? Just anyone who plays any annoying Facebook games and invites you to all of them.

How to:

  1. Go to Facebook.
  2. Click on the gear icon on the top right of your page.
  3. Select Privacy Settings.
  4. Once you’re on the Privacy Settings page, click Blocking from the left hand menu.
  5. To block individual users, scroll down to Block app invites and then type the person’s name into the Block invites from box, and hit Enter. Facebook Block App Invites
  6. To block apps, scroll down to Block app invites and then type the apps name into the Block apps box, and hit Enter.

Facebook Block Apps

4. Block yourself from being tagged in photos

For: That person who wants to get your attention about something like a photo of a piece of toast. And tags you in the photo. So then you get a notification and it shows up in your profile under pictures of you. Hey, I do NOT look like a piece of toast!

  1. Go to Facebook.
  2. Click on the gear icon on the top right of your page.
  3. Select Privacy Settings.
  4. Once you’re on the Privacy Settings page, click Timeline and Tagging from the left hand menu.
  5. Go to the Who can add things to my timeline? setting and click Edit.
  6. This setting asks: Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline? Select Enabled from the button below.
  7. Now, every time someone tags you in photos or posts, you are notified, and can choose to add them to your timeline or not.

Facebook Who Can Tag Me in Photos

Google Chrome Extension – Just Block Everything with Rather

The Rather extension for Google Chrome is probably the greatest thing to ever happen to the Facebook News Feed.  It blocks all the things you hate by replacing them with Instagram photos of things you like.

To install Rather, open your Google Chrome browser and go to the Rather extension site. You’ll see a blue Free button on the top right. Click to add and the button will change to a green Added to Chrome button so you’ll know it’s installed.

Rather Chrome Extension

Click the Rather icon – located on the top right of your Chrome browser window – to open the editor. Fill in the keywords for things you want to block, and the hashtags for Instagram photos you want to appear in their place. Rather scans your News Feed, and posts that include keywords for the things on the block list will be replaced by Instagram photos with the hashtags of the things you like. Brilliant.

Rather Chrome Extension Editor

What are your tips?

Do you have any tips or tools to add to this list? Let me know in the comments. Your tips will help us all build our own versions of the Facebook News Feed utopia. And that’s something to be thankful for.


3 tools to analyze the impact of your personal Facebook profile

I live in the world of social media marketing geeks, where we spend all day talking about how small businesses can effectively use their Facebook business page to market themselves.

There’s a lot of tools out there to measure ROI of your marketing efforts. Facebook has Insights for business pages, and there’s a lot of free and paid tools that exist as well.

But what kind of impact are you making with your personal Facebook profile? Who is engaging with the content you’re posting for your personal networks? What types of posts do your friends engage with?

Before we go any further: I am NOT talking about using a personal profile as your business page. If your business’s Facebook account has friends – not Likes – you are not using the right account. Stop reading this right now and convert your business’ personal profile to an official Facebook business page. Trust me. You’ll thank me.

Here’s what I found to give you some insight on your personal Facebook profile:

Wolfram Alpha Word Cloud

Apparently I say the word awesome a lot in my posts!

1. WolframAlpha’s Facebook Report

This first tool – free from computational knowledge engine WolframAlpha – is the most comprehensive of the 3. Click through to the Facebook Report, connect it with your personal profile, and you’ll receive a ton of information:

  • Recent posting history – posted links, vs. statuses vs. photos
  • The most frequent times and days of the week that you post
  • The total likes and comments, average likes and comments, and average length of your most recent posts
  • What words you use most frequently – and a word cloud!
  • Your most liked post and most commented posts
  • Your top commenters and sharers
  • Your most liked and commented photos
  • Friends’ demographic information
  • Most common names among friends
  • Friends with the most mutual friends
  • A graphic that shows different combination of “friend clusters” based on mutual interests/demographic information
One of my most popular Facebook posts. Apparently my friends want more stuff like this.

One of my most popular recent Facebook posts. Looks like my friends want more stuff like this.

2. Klout

If you haven’t signed up for Klout, you’re probably not a marketing geek. Klout provides each of its users with a score that shows how influential they are on social media.

In Klout’s words:

Klout measures your influence based on your ability to drive action on social networks.

The Klout Score is a single number that represents the aggregation of multiple pieces of data about your social media activity. We compute the Klout Score by applying our score model to these signals.

Marketers like to roll their eyes at the impact of a Klout score, but it’s also a bragging right. I think it’s fun, and I have a little bit of trash talk going on about the scores with a handful of people.

Klout monitors your personal Facebook activity, plus 11 additional social networks. It gives you a look at the most popular content you’re sharing on your personal Facebook profile – the posts with the most likes and comments, and who you engaged with.

3. My Social Strand

This last tool – from the National Marrow Donor Program – creates a cool infographic about your Facebook activity and networks (and suggests possible donation matches) that you can post to your Facebook page.

Connect it to your profile, fill out some basic info (city and state), answer a few questions (Zombies or Aliens?), and My Social Strand will create something like this:

A personal infographic! Woo hoo!

A personal infographic! Woo hoo!

You’ll get some interesting facts about yourself vs. your friends, which friends are most engaged with you, and your average activity level on Facebook.

I hope you try out these tools too! Let me know if you’ve found any more tools like this in the comments.