Big news in the social media world today. BuzzFeed reports that Twitter plans to implement an algorithim for its news feed next week. This is similar to what Facebook is already doing. Instead of displaying tweets in chronological order, as Twitter does presently, Twitter would display tweets based on what it wants you to see.
Many users are upset about the change. They have voiced their opinion with the hashtag #RIPTwitter.
One of the great rewards of being an adult is deciding ON YOUR OWN who (and what) you should be interested in. #RIPTwitter
The algorithm is an attempt to make Twitter more popular again. They have less and less users these days. The theory is that if Twitter were to show more interesting content, people would come back more often. However, the unique set of features that Twitter offers is what draws its current user base. Removing these features would seem to drive many of the current users mad. Twitter has long been a source for instance news and information. Removing the “instant” factor of Twitter makes it much less interesting.
Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
Some users are reporting that some of their recent activity is no longer showing up, like comments on other friends’ posts or event activity on Facebook’s new Timeline. It appears Facebook has now removed the option to display such stories at all on Timeline. From now on, stories such as commenting activity and event invites will appear in the News Feed and Ticker based on your friends’ subscriptions to you and your subscription to theirs. There seems to be a glitch with Event Activity that has yet to be fixed for users who have hidden it in the past and are now unable to unhide it.
For example, if you go to a friend’s Timeline, you will not be able to see whose posts they have commented on recently. If you want to find out, you would have to go to Subscribed (at the top) and check “Comments and Likes.” From then on, whenever that friend likes or comments on something, it will appear in the Ticker (above the chat bar on the right side).
It does not look like Facebook will ever restore commenting/event activity to Timeline.
It appears you can now have “subscribers” on Facebook much like followers on Twitter. Click on the “subscriptions” tab on your profile and click “Allow Subscriptions.” Posts with a privacy setting of public will be visible on your profile, and people can choose to subscribe to you (rather than adding you as a friend). You will be notified when a someone subscribes to you. You can always choose to block someone or turn off subscriptions.
In the second post about the ideal social network, I will be blogging about lists.
Twitter and Facebook both have lists systems to manage users friends and followers. However, these lists are too hidden, and should be more at the core of the social network.
Twitter does a really good job with lists. Users can create a public or private list of certain people, and categorize the list of people they follow. For example, I have a list for the tech blogs I follow, the local people, and the news sites I follow. This allows me to quickly see updates about the topic I want. Not much to complain about here.
Facebook, however, does not do such a good job. The lists are hidden in the settings for most users. Not enough people on Facebook realize that lists actually exist, and don’t use them. The list system should be more visible, like on Twitter. Users should be able to open a person’s profile, and quickly add them to a list from there. Same with pages. Facebook makes it really complicated to add a Page to a list. Users must create a list, and then when choosing who to add to the list, they must click on “multiple people,” and scroll down to the bottom to see all their Pages.
Users on Facebook should also be able to share a list of Pages with their friends easily. For example, if a user curates a list for local pages within a community, there is no way of sharing it. Users can feature lists on their profile, but it will only show friends, not Pages.
Facebook should also make it easier to share certain stuff with certain groups of friends. Currently, this is all hidden under the big “custom” section, and is too complicated for some users to use. Instead of seeing a list of “everyone, friends of friends, friends, and custom,” it should show a users friend lists instead, allowing a user to check off which lists they want to share a piece of content with.
If I want to filter my news feed by a certain list, it requires up to four clicks on Facebook, where on Twitter, it’s just two. Facebook needs to make accessing the lists easier.
The Ideal Social Network’s Lists
It should be easy to add someone to a list from their profile or page.
For more personal social networks like Facebook, it should be easy to share content with certain lists of people.
Lists should be easily shared with one another, or made private, if a user chooses
A user should easily be able to filter their updates from friends through lists.
The Ideal Social Network is a series about what I think a social network should be like, and why Twitter and Facebook fail to meet these standards. This is the second blog post in the series. Stay tuned for more.
Where is it?: Recent Activity is the last box in the left-hand column on your timeline/profile. If you have no recent activity, you won’t see the box.
To hide activity: Click on the x next to a post in the box, and click on “Hide all [story type]…”
To unhide activity: First, click the pencil icon in the top right corner of the box, then click on hidden activity.
Then a box like the one below should appear, Click the “x” next to the things you want to restore to your Recent Activity.
That’s it! Update 7 (December 15, 2013): With the addition of Facebook’s “Following” button on people’s profiles, some of the information below has changed. The below is outdated, but kept for reference
Event Activity Not Showing Up Under Recent Activity on Timeline: Report It
Update 6 (January 4, 2012): Some users are reporting that some of their recent activity is no longer showing up, like comments on other friends’ posts or event activity on Facebook Timeline. It appears Facebook has now removed the option to display such stories at all on Timeline. Some users (and I’ve tested myself now) cannot unhide their Event activity if they had hidden it in the past. From now on, stories such as commenting and event activity will appear in the News Feed and Ticker based on your friends’ subscriptions to you.
For example, if you go to a friend’s Timeline, you will not be able to see whose posts they have commented on recently. If you want to find out, you would have to go to Subscribed (at the top) and check “Comments and Likes.” From then on, whenever that friend likes or comments on something, it will appear in the Ticker (above the chat bar on the right side). Facebook recently removed the option to choose whose comments/likes you would see in the News Ticker.
It does not look like Facebook will ever restore commenting/event activity to Timeline. There is a glitch with Event activity that has yet to be fixed… Report It
Edit: I have been doing some testing and look at this:
And after switching to the new profile….
Alright, so event activity should appear on the timeline. We clearly have a problem now….
Update 5 (November 6, 2011): If you are using Facebook timeline, you can edit which types of updates you’ve hidden by clicking on the pencil icon to the right of the Recent Activity box as shown below
If you are looking to hide activity, simply click the “x” that appears when you hover over a recent activity story and click “Hide Similar Activity from Timeline.”
Update 4: Facebook has brought back the Edit Options link at the bottom of my wall. If you have accidentally hid any type of activity on your wall, you can now un-hide it by going to the bottom of your wall, clicking on Edit Options, and clicking the “x” next to the type of story you want to un-hide. Note that the Edit Options link may take a while to propagate to all users once again.
Update 3: Speculation. Some users had reported that some links, such as YouTube videos, they were sharing did not appear on their wall, only on their news feed. These users had also reported that they had clicked on “hide all comment activity.” I believe that there might have been a bug that caused links to disappear when a person hid their comment activity. Facebook has most likely taken the recent activity options off for now while they sort out this bug and hopefully it will be back up soon. Can anyone confirm that they were not able to see their links they had shared after they hid all comment activity? Comment below
Original Post: It looks like Facebook has begun to roll out the “Recent Activity” options to its users. Facebook removed these options and defaulted all recent activity to “on” back in December of 2009. Take a look at what I found earlier this evening:
“Recent Activity” shows recent comments users have made on posts, and recent pages they have liked, as well as public events users are attending and other things. Back in December 2009, Facebook, somehow, decided that it would be always on, and if a user didn’t want a post to show up, they would have to manually remove it each time.
These settings bring more privacy back to Facebook! If a user comments on a friend’s status, and that status was set to friends of friends, by default, all* the user’s friends would see that they commented on that friend’s status, regardless of friendship, in their news feed. Now, users can set it up so that their comments aren’t shown in their recent activity.
I appreciate Facebook bringing back this option. It was annoying to have to go into my wall and remove posts that I didn’t want to show up in my friends’ news feeds.
To unhide a certain type of “recent activity” story on your wall, scroll to the bottom of the wall, click on Edit Options, and click the “x” next to the type of story you want to unhide.
This post has been formatted from its original version. Updates 1 & 2 have been edited into the story/removed.
*Note: Not all users are guaranteed to see the post, depending on each individual’s news feed settings.
So, I’ve decided to do a little blogging series called “The Ideal Social Network.” Through out the series, I’ll give my opinion on what the ideal social network would be like, and why Facebook and Twitter fail to meet these standards.
Because April 16 was FourSquare day (4^2 (four squared) equals 16), I will be talking about check-ins. FourSquare is a mobile application that allows you to update your Twitter and Facebook accounts with your current location. There are other services that allow you to do similar things, like Facebook Places.
The Idea Behind Check-Ins
Check-ins let your friends and followers know where you are in real-time. The idea behind this, is so that if a friend is near by, they can come meet you there in real life.
Here’s a video from when Facebook first released Places. It explains the original idea for creating such a feature:
People shouldn’t check-in to every place they go to. I don’t care if you are at the grocery store picking up something to eat for supper. I don’t need to know that about your life. (I have to admit I have checked in to various places like this in the past, and will refrain from doing so in the future).
Checking-in means you want to let your friends know where you are, so that they can come and join you, if they want. It should be done if you are at a coffee shop, a pub, or a community sports events, and similar events where you can meet up with your friends and have a good time together.
Some mobile applications, like Facebook Deals, allow businesses to offer the person checking-in a discount of some sort for sharing their location with their friends. It’s a good marketing idea, but sometimes it can just be “spammy”. If I were to get a deal, I would like to share that [I got a deal] with my friends to. So, if I’m using Facebook Deals, and I check-in and got a 20% discount, it should say in my friends’ news feeds: “(Matt) just got 20% off at [business name]” or something similar, not just “(Matt) is at [business name].”
The one pet peeve I have about check-ins is when people check-in to their own home. THIS IS NOT WHAT CHECK-INS WERE DESIGNED FOR. They were designed for businesses. This is a flaw in Facebook and FourSquare’s systems. Although allowing anyone to add a business to the database, there should be more of a verification process to verify the place being added is actually a business.
Check-ins on The Ideal Social Network
So, to recap, checking in on the ideal social network should only be able to be done from a social place, like a coffee shop. It wouldn’t allow you to check-in to a place that isn’t a business, like your home. Verification for new business would be a bit more strict than today’s check-in applications.
In most cases, when you’re affected by a Facebook scam, some posts could appear on your profile, or be sent to others through chat and other things. The first thing to do would be to remove any apps you accidentally “allowed” to post to your profile. To do this, go to Account, located in the upper right corner of each Facebook page, and click on Privacy Settings in the drop down list. On that page, you should see an “Apps and Websites” section. Click “Edit Settings” under that section. On that page, you’ll have the option to remove spammy or unwanted apps. Do that, and remove any apps you don’t remember adding. Note, some apps are cleverly named to think they are related to a certain feature of Facebook. For example, this past week I found an example of such an app. It was called “Chat.” However, the app actually sent spam messages and then when a user who received that message clicked on the link, it would ask them to authourize that fake “Chat” app to access Facebook Chat, which in turn sent the same link to all their friends, and so the chain continues. You should remove any apps there named “Chat” or anything similar (“Photos”, “Messages” etc) because these features do not show up in the Apps section. Instead, they are integrated with Facebook (You can’t remove the actual “Photo” app, etc).
Another good idea is to change your password. I’ve seen some users on Facebook asking about a message apparently sent from Facebook. It told the user was engaging in abusive behaviour and needed the user to confirm their login details. This led them to a fake app that looks like an official page (to those who don’t know what to look for) and asks them for their login details, which are then sent to the hacker who uses the login details to take over the account or what not.
If the hacker changed your login details, you should have been sent an email saying that they were changed. Clicking the link starts a verification process to verify that the account belongs to you.
Scams are everywhere on Facebook. Be careful what you click on. Here are an example of a few of the current scams on Facebook and what you should look out for.
Facebook Pages Scams:
If you’re on Facebook, you may sometimes see a story in your news feed that a few of your friends have liked a Facebook page. The page usually has a title like “I can’t believe what this girl did… etc.” When you open the page, you are greeted with a message to like the page in order to see the content.
From here, things can go downhill.
You may be asked to click on a number of boxes in order to see the content. What this is really doing is secretly posting an update to your wall and spamming your friends’ news feeds. In turn, your friends do the same and spam their friends as well.
You may also be asked to click on a link, which takes you to an external website and asks you to fill out a survey in order to see the content. At the end of the survey, you are asked to enter their mobile phone number. This signs you up for a premium text messaging service, and charges you a fee (about $2) per message received. This money ends up going to the scammers.
Facebook Profile Views Scam:
You may see posts in your news feed these days from a friend claiming they can see who has viewed their profile. The rules for making applications on Facebook states that it is illegal to make an app that says it tracks how many views a profile has, and it is technically impossible for an application to do this. Facebook does not allow applications to track who views a user’s profile. These applications spam friends and return false results. Don’t click on these links. They also lead to more surveys which generate the developers money and spam your friends with these links.
That’s all I have to say for now. Be careful what you click on.
Facebook recently announced the launch of new Pages and the new messaging system.
The updates to Facebook Pages make them the same as the new profile that came out a few months back. Instead of tabs along the top, users can navigate using the links in the left hand sidebar, just link any other place on the Facebook site. Users will also see a row of photos along the top of the Page, similar to the “recently tagged” photos along the top of the profile.
A major feature of this update allows Pages to post as that Page on other Pages, so it looks like the post or comment is coming directly from that page, and not just another Facebook user. This allows Pages within a community to interact with each other as businesses/social clubs etc. For example, Pages from businesses and clubs within a city can interact with each other to tell each other (and their fans) about things happening in the community.
Along with this update, Facebook is also rolling out the new messaging system to those who don’t already have it. Back in November, Facebook announced their new messaging system, and allowed a few people to receive invites to the new messaging system. I myself received one of those invites, so I’ve had the chance to use it for a few months now.
There are many new features in the new messaging system. The inbox is sorted by friends, instead of subjects. When creating a new message, users no longer have the option to input a subject, just a name and a message. Click on a friend’s name, and you’ll see all the messages and chats you’ve ever had between each other, all in a timeline format.
One of the other new features about the messaging system is a social inbox, meaning only friends or people who have messaged a user before will appear in the inbox. Anyone else who sends you a message automatically goes to the Other folder, which can be accessed by clicking on Messages and then Other. (I don’t particularly like this feature though, because I have to click on Messages to see if I have any new messages in the Other folder, and I don’t always remember to do that.)
If you have a Facebook Username (sign up here), you’ll be able to opt-in to receive messages via your Facebook email address, which will be yourUsername@facebook.com. Facebook automatically detects when a message is sent from a friend’s email account, so it will appear as coming from that friend. If you aren’t friends with them, the message appears in the Other folder.
One of the most requested features that Facebook is now implementing is the ability to leave a thread (a message that was sent to multiple people). The old messaging system would not allow that, so if a user was included in it by someone else, and didn’t want to be, that user would automatically receive updates every time someone posted a new message, even though that user wouldn’t like too. To leave a thread in the new messaging system, just go to Actions while viewing a thread, and click Leave Conversation.
If you administer a Page, you can opt-in to a new page right away by clicking here. Note that if you don’t chose to opt-in right away, Facebook will automatically give you the new Page on March 10, 2011, (five days before it shuts down…. just kidding 😀 ).
P.S. It also looks like Facebook is rolling out the new Photo Viewer to everyone.