Saturday, December 18, 2010

Facebook : how to reduce the information overload

How much information feed is enough on Facebook (FB), or do we have to go through everyone's updates? I don't know, but from my experience this definitely is encroaching on my personal time. I am OK with FB as long as it does not intrude on my privacy and the quality time I need to have with my family. Honestly, it is waste of my time if my phone pops up a notification from a FB colleague who just posted an update such as "I just had a delicious ice cream" or "I am sitting at so-so airport" (yes this could be good for someone else). I don't care who my friends are friends with, it is quite annoying to have news feed filled with "x and y are now friends". I read on FB that there was a Firefox Browser add-on that could remove such updates from your stream, unfortunately the developer who wrote this was served with a legal notice. What the heck?

On the other hand, I am very interested in following updates on life and one's experience in handling circumstances or something new happening at someone's end etc. etc.. No social network has till date been able to categorize information and personalize it to that extent. We have to deal with such cases manually. I checked out few options to see how things work for filtering information that is being fed (or blasted) to me.

Under privacy settings, Facebook provides a setting as "Can See Wall Posts by Friends" that prevents postings on your wall from being broadcast to everyone. But unfortunately, this also prevents the first setting of allowing others to post on your wall. Facebook has linked both read and write in one privacy setting and therefore there is no clear way of blocking your own posts from going global or getting unwanted updates from other walls. I am kind of disappointed here.

The only viable alternative as of now is to mark "hide" a friend or a conversation topic as soon as you get an update from that person. When you click on the cross button for an update from a friend, following options are shown.

Hide this Post
Hide all by "Friend Name"

Now if your friend is just too much into blowing his/her own trumpet, you are well of by choosing the second option. If you just want to get rid of a post and what is going to be talked about thereafter on the same post, choose the first option. As per FB, the person or post being hidden is not updated of this action, so this is a call you take for what you want to go through. Another fact is that this option does not show up on mobile devices apps (the ones I have checked), so some effort is involved in logging on to a desktop and getting this done.

Get more details from

Quick Update : A third option "Hide all from Application_name" also popped up in the above list. This happens when you are trying to block a standard post from a news or application site. For instance, Daily Horoscope that is being fed to a friend of yours also gets shared with you. If you don't like it, use this one.