Facebook – you either love it or hate it. Chances are, even if you love it, you hate it quite often.
The feed never does quite what you want, and then there’s that time someone briefly took over your account and started posting photos of their bum. (Unless that was you after a drunken night out. Either way: not good.)
But these days, having a Facebook account is almost a requirement if you want to keep in touch with friends, most of whom appear to have collective amnesia regarding the existence of phones and email.
So make the best of things with these tips that outline how to make your feed behave, discover groups and Marketplace, secure your privacy, connect with more people, and play a trio of great games. (As if Facebook wasn’t eating into enough of your time already…)
Manage your feed
Top tips for making your feed and posts just as you want them.
Find your favourites
Facebook shows what it thinks you should see in your feed. It’s often wrong. Bring back sanity by switching posts to reverse chronological order (click Most Recent under News Feed on desktop – or Shortcuts in the hamburger menu on mobile).
Also, fine-tune what you get by using News Feed > Edit Preferences on desktop, or News Feed Preferences under Settings on mobile, prioritising posts you don’t want to miss.
Get some peace
Someone on Facebook will drive you crazy at some point. You have various ways to deal with this. From a post, use the downwards-facing arrow (… on iOS) and snooze that person for 30 days – or unfollow them.
The latter option means their posts won’t appear in your feed, but you won’t have unfriended them. Beyond that, head to their profile and unfriend them, or go nuclear by choosing Block from the … menu.
Save stories for later
If a post appears on your feed that warrants more investigation than you can manage when shuffling towards a checkout in Tesco, select Save post from the post’s menu (downwards-facing arrow/…).
Saved posts can be accessed from the sidebar on desktop, and the hamburger menu on mobile. They are listed in reverse chronological order, and you’ll also find saved videos/events, and Marketplace items there.
Jazz up your posts
When composing a new short post, draw attention to it by adding a background, on top of which Facebook will add your musings in suitably bold text.
For long reads, delve into Facebook Notes, accessed at facebook.com/notes on desktop. Here, you can view notes by friends and compose your own. When opened, these blog-like posts display a cover image and your text in a layout the reader can properly focus on.
Search your activity
If you post something you later want to revisit, you can attempt to locate it on your timeline. A better bet is to delve into your activity log (found in settings – downward-facing arrow – in the desktop version’s toolbar, or the hamburger menu on mobile).
Here, you can rapidly search your entire Facebook history – and also posts made on other social media accounts you have connected to Facebook, such as Twitter.
In Settings, you can adjust the language you use Facebook in. Handy for practising a foreign tongue, or being weird and perusing feeds in Leet Speak or upside-down English.
Group-on: working with groups
Use Facebook groups to find people like you, and to not overshare private content.
Find your communities
Search for where you live. The results you get will likely include numerous groups dedicated to local people and causes.
Similarly, groups exist for everything from collecting niche Lego to legal advice for EU citizens concerned about Brexit. In short: use Facebook to find your people.
Roll your own
Public over-sharing online is a problem, not least when proud parents merrily post images of their kids on a daily basis.
For the sake of the children’s privacy, consider instead creating and posting to a private group, to which you can invite family and close friends.