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Using Subscription options to manage overload on Facebook

Suddenly Facebook looks different, and there’s a lot more information flooding our pages. Just a few simple changes will put you back in control. It doesn’t have to be a big effort – I’ve summarised below a few quick changes that might help.

Remember, you may not have all tehse new options available yet – but it’s only a matter of time before they catch up with you.

So far I’ve only used the Subscribe option to “follow” a couple of writers who are using it to make public updates. It seems to me that this is Facebook’s version of Twitter – it allows people to share public posts with people without establishing a  reciprocal friendship.

However, we are also automatically Subscribed to our existing and new friends’ posts, and by altering the default settings we can control more of what we see in our Ticker and in our Newsfeed.  It really doesn’t have any impact on privacy.

The Ticker is the new stream of information on the right of your screen; the Newsfeed is the Home page you are used to.

There are two places to alter the settings.

1. On your friend’s page. Underneath your little profile picture on the blue bar at the top of the screen, there’s a box that says Subscribed, followed by a tick. Click on that and select from the options.

2. Hover over your friend’s name on any post, and a pop up appears, also allowing you to access the Subscribed options.

You can go through all your friends and alter the settings, but that’s a bit compulsive, so this is what I’d suggest.

1. There may be some friends and family you want to keep track of. You can alter the subscription settings on them to “All Updates” For most others, I would leave it at the default setting of “Most” – which has the benefit of not having to do anything.

2. Perhaps your ticker or feed is overwhelmed with one person’s music, or another person’s game addiction? Pop into their settings and untick the appropriate box.

3. Conversely, maybe all you have in common with one of your friends is a game you both play – in that case, untick everything except games.  Perhaps one friend you are only interested in their Status updates, or another you just want to see their photos.  You now get to choose.

4. There may be some people in your friends who you don’t want to offend by unfriending, but whose constant stream of updates is not to your taste – in that case click the Unsubscribe option at the bottom and it removes them from your ticker and your newsfeed.

You can change these settings if you change your mind, of course.  And you can always go and take a look at your friend’s page to check out their other shared activities – at a time of your own choosing and not just when prompted by the Ticker or the Newsfeed.

Hope this helps.

Please do share any other tips.


Ann Godridge

I finally finished my first novel, a psychological thriller - A Savage Art. At least for now.I've also made a good start on a second and very different crime novel. I'm an enthusiastic amateur textile artist and the director of a software company.