Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Survive the New Facebook Change

If you are reading this on facebook, please click this link to view it live on the blog.

I would like to suggest to the administrative staff of Facebook that all future upgrades to the interface be issued with 30 days advance notice, large full-color McDonald’s-style picture menu instructions, two free valium capsules for all users over the age of 35, and clear instructions on how to create your own “I Hate The New Facebook” group of your choice, available in all of Baskin Robbins’ 31 delicious flavors.

In all seriousness, some of you out there seem to have trouble learning how to navigate the new system, so I thought I’d share some of the basics with you.

News Feeds: Top News vs Most Recent


There has been another change to news feeds on Facebook. Really it’s nothing more than the change they issued with the last update, but it still seems to confuse some people, so I’ll attempt to make it clearer. The picture above shows the middle section of your default facebook page when you login. There are two ways to view your “newsfeed” now on facebook, depending on the view you prefer. You toggle between these two views using the links shown in the upper right corner of your front page news section.

Top News:

Top News is customized for each user. Of your friends list on facebook, this shows the most active, most clicked on, and most-read articles in your newsfeed. It’s not necessarily the most up-to-date information, but instead the most popular news, based on what your friends group has been reading. If a friend made a post a month ago, but that comment just got lots of comments from other friends you might very well see a month-old post appear in top news. It’s not new, but it’s had lots of interaction from others in your friends list and facebook thinks you might want to know about it too.

Think of Top News like that guy who always beats you to reading the morning paper at the office, then tells you all about it as you’re trying to read it. If you enjoy the highlights, just listen attentively, but if you want to just make him shut up and read it yourself, click Most Recent instead and go through the news yourself as it occurred.

Most Recent:

Most recent news is what most of you are used to. This view is a live streaming play-by-play of what’s going on with all your friends in the order it occurs. Most of you like this version of news better, so it’s very simple to just click on it. Posts, messages, comments, pictures, videos and other news are listed in the order they occur, update live on your screen every couple of minutes.

Setting the Default News Style:

You can choose your default news feed style very easily. If you prefer to always see “most recent” instead of “top news” when you login, simply click on the Most recent link, then close your browser.

You’ll notice when you come back to facebook again, the news is set however you left it. If you change to Top news and log out it will retain that setting instead.

Broken or non-functional news pages

Some of you might have seen the errors with the news pages lately that manifest by your news section being blank. Relax! Your friends haven’t all been taken up in the pre-apocalyptic rapture and you have not been transferred without your knowledge to a parallel universe in which you are the only user on facebook, a fate worse than hell for some of you I understand.

The news system was just upgraded and released yesterday to 250 million users. There are a few glitches they couldn’t possibly discover in testing and they’re finding them and fixing them now. You will be returned to your regularly scheduled peeping-tom view of everyone’s life soon. In the meantime, go have a cookie. If you’re desperate, you can usually close the browser and re-open it and it will work fine. It’s a glitch. They’re fixing it.

Hiding Stuff You Don’t Want to See

There are lots of complaints from people who say they are tired of seeing certain things like games and application when all they really want to see is what their friends are saying. You CAN do this, you just have to click the button to do it. Facebook allows you to choose almost every kind of thing that can appear on your wall and newsfeed. If it was a message posted by an application, you can hide that application from ever showing up on your wall again. Here’s how:

See the sample newsfeed from my screen, taken a few moments ago.


My friend Frankie plays a game cal led Island Paradise. This application puts information on his wall to try to get his friends to play the game too. Well, I want to read his news, but don’t necessarily care to hear about the Island Paradise game.

See that hide button over there? Click it!


When you click Hide, a message screen similar to this one pops up and asks you want you want to hide.


My options are to hide Frankie totally, which would take his news off my wall altogether from now on, or to just hide the game. I clicked hide Island Paradise because I really don’t care about that game but I want to be able to read Frankie’ news still. From now on, the game Island Paradise won’t ever again show up in any of my friends’ news feeds on my wall.

If you are new to facebook, you’ll have to do this a LOT at first to be able to actually see what your friend are saying instead of just seeing all these application updates. Be diligent for a few days and you’d be surprised that your wall actually starts showing real news you want to see instead of all these application updates.

The New Notifications Menu


The notifications screen has changed around a little bit. While I wasn’t at first impressed, I’ve decided I like it for a couple reasons; it’s faster loading now and takes up less screen real-estate, and it’s off the right side of my browser.

If you get a new message, new comments, or just about new ANYTHING remessage indicatorlated to your postings, you can click on the small round icons in the top left of your facebook screen, right beside the Facebook logo that takes you back to your homepage. The three icons mean To inform you of new messages, facebook uses a red identifier over the appropriate indicator. Once you click on the indicator to view the message, the red identifier will go away but you can still see your messages there by clicking the appropriate icon again.

For clarification, these are the icons and what they mean:

mess-new You have new messages waiting. Click to read them.
mess-none You have no new messages waiting.
not-new You have new notifications waiting. Click to read them.
not-none You have no new notifications waiting.
friend-request-none Friend Requests


Logging out of Facebook

facebooklogoutOne of my friends commented on this so I thought I’d add it. If you need to logout/change accounts, or just want to get out of Facebook before your boss catches you goofing off on the clock, the logout button has moved.

To log out of facebook, click on the Account tab on the upper-right corner of Facebook and then click Logout from the drop-down menu.




I hope you’ve found this Guide to Facebook useful. If you have questions, comments, or would like clarification on something not mentioned here, let me know and I’ll see if I can add it to this post.

And remember, if me or my company can assist with your IT needs, you can visit us online at

Final note: If you like this guide, please comment below and say so!

A few other guides to the new facebook I’ve found:


  1. Yeah I just hate it when things change, I had just managed to get a good thing going for my facebook experience and then BAM a new annoying look..

    Ok all is not for the worse, the new design has some good features.

    But ONE thing I REALLY miss;

    I had setup a custom friend list as my default view when I entered Facebook, this list contained my closest friends and thus omitted persons that really do not interest me that much.. but for the damn of me I cant seem to set this up on the new layout.. What I need is to exchange the "News Feed" with a custom friend list!? Can this be done somehow?

  2. Yeah, kind of.

    I was working on a possible post for this too because I had the same setup on mine. What they have now is an extension of the old news options they used to have. You can go to your main facebook page and click Edit Options ALL the way at the bottom of the news feed. Then you can choose certain people to see more of, and more importantly certain people to see less of.

    It's not the same as what want to do but it's about as close as I can find right now. I really like all the changes except the friend list. I can't easily see my friend list anymore and that's really irritating. I'm working to find a solution, but haven't seen anything yet.

    On a related note; Friends can be in multiple categories, so you can make a category called favorites and add your friends to it.

    Now go to the homepage. In the UPPER left section you see a new link called Friends. Click that link to expand your friends group and now you can see status updates for all your favorite friends that way.

    I'm not a real fan of this method either because I think it takes too many clicks, but it's about the best I've been able to come up with. No way I know of to make it your default newsfeed though unless you bookmark the URL for that friends list.

    I'm hoping they'll make a change to the friend options here in the next day or so.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hey guys, I found out how to force facebook to open with "most recent" instead of the so-called "top news".

    Just make this your facebook bookmark


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