Are you seeing all your Facebook friends’ updates in your news feed? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say no, you’re not.
Facebook tries to guess what you’re most interested in and who you’re most interested in hearing it from. That means Facebook shows you the updates from people it thinks are most relevant to you, not the people you may want to hear from the most (though, admittedly, sometimes those overlap).
So how can you take back control of your news feed and see the updates you want to see? Use Facebook lists.
Facebook lists are a way to organize your friends so you can see updates you want and ignore those you don’t. There are two kinds of lists: Friend lists and Interest lists. This article explains how to create a Facebook Friends list. Next week I’ll show you how to make an Interest list for brand pages you like.
(There’s a video at the end for those of you who like to learn visually.)
Why Do I Need To Make a Friend List?
If you’ve ever noticed that you aren’t seeing status updates from certain friends, you may want to consider using the Facebook Lists feature.
Lists show up in your left sidebar. When you click on a specific list, your news feed changes to show just the updates from the people on that list. By assigning friends to specific lists, you can click on the list and see updates you don’t want to miss.
When you create your Facebook account, Facebook creates a few Friend lists for you, but you can create your own additional lists as needed (or wanted). This article discusses how the Facebook default lists work and how you can create your own lists that may better suit your needs.
Facebook’s Default Friend Lists
Before I show you how to make your own Friend lists, let’s talk about the lists Facebook creates for you. On your left sidebar, scroll down until you see the Friends header. Mouseover that and click the More link. Your news feed changes to show all the lists Facebook has created for you or that you’ve created.
Facebook has created the following lists for you automatically:
- Close Friends
- Work (these are named after the places you’ve worked; you may have multiple work lists depending on how much information you’ve shared in your profile’s About section)
- School (again, you may have multiple lists named after high school and colleges you’ve listed in your personal profile)
- Your area
TIP: The Close Friends, Acquaintances, and Restricted Lists are completely private. People aren’t notified if they’re added to any of these lists, and no one else can see who is on these lists. People aren’t notified if you remove them from these lists either, so feel free to edit at will!
Contacts you put in your Close Friends List are given higher priority than contacts you put in your Acquaintance List. You’re essentially helping Facebook decide which of your contacts’ updates are most important to you. If you ever feel like you aren’t seeing enough of the updates from people on your Acquaintance Lists, you can either move those people to your Close Friends List, or you can go to your left sidebar and click the Acquaintance list to see the updates from people on that list.
The other default lists are populated by Facebook based on your Facebook connections who also have those items listed. For example, your Facebook friends who list the same high school as you show up in the High School list. Or contacts that also list your place of employment will show up in the Work list.
You can edit these lists and add or remove people as it makes sense for you, but remember: These lists send notifications when you add people to them (and Facebook asks them to reciprocate by adding you to their lists).
Creating a Facebook Friend List
Now that you understand lists, you may want to create your own Friend lists. Any lists you create and populate remain private. People you add to or remove from lists won’t be notified.
To create a new friend list, follow these steps:
- On your Facebook home page, scroll down the left sidebar to the Friends section.
- Mouseover the word Friends and click the More button. Your news feed changes to show you the lists you currently have.
- Click the Create List button. A new dialog box appears.
- Name your new list and add members. To add a new member, start typing the name of the person you want to add and Facebook will start listing your friends with that name. Choose the correct person from the list and start typing the next name. Continue this until your list is complete.
- Click the Create button. Facebook automatically switches to a news feed showing the updates from just the people in your list.
Tip: When you accept a new friend request on Facebook, you’re immediately taken to that person’s personal profile page. To add your new friend to a particular list, click the Friends button (you’ll see it under their big cover photo). From the options, choose the list you want to add this friend to. You can also choose to create a new list to add them to.
Can I Edit My Friend Lists?
If you ever want to change your lists, it’s easy:
- Mouseover Friends in your sidebar and click More to get to your main Friend List page.
- Click the name of the list you want to manage.
- Click the Manage List button at the top of the page.
- From the menu, choose the action you want to take. You can rename your List; edit which friends are on the list; choose the type of updates that show up in the list; or delete the list. (NOTE: You can’t delete any of the default Facebook lists.)
I have lists for local friends, blogging friends, high school friends, and many more. Any time I want to see updates from a certain group of people, I just click on the name of the list in my left sidebar.
For those of you who like to learn visually — or those who just want to see me with an abundance of makeup on that makes me look ridiculous — here is a video that shows how to make a friend list.
Are you using Facebook lists? Leave me a comment and let me know if they’ve helped you keep up with more friends.