12 es­sen­tial tips

Cre­ate ‘friend lists’, cen­sor your his­tory and save great posts: 12 tips to stream­line your so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence. By Darien Gra­ham-Smith

The Observer - The New Review - - CONTENTS -

1 Be­come a master of short­cuts

Want to liven up your mes­sages and up­dates? Face­book au­to­mat­i­cally con­verts cer­tain char­ac­ter com­bi­na­tions into graph­i­cal emoti­cons: for ex­am­ple, if you en­ter “:D” it will ap­pear as a laugh­ing face, while “<3” gives you a heart. See emo­ji­codes.com for a full list. Lap­top users can also use key­board short­cuts to nav­i­gate around the site quickly; on Chrome for Win­dows, for ex­am­ple, press­ing alt+2 takes you di­rectly to your time­line, while alt+3 opens your friends list. The key com­bi­na­tions vary de­pend­ing on your browser.

2 Cre­ate blog­post-style notes

Sta­tus up­dates are great, but ephemeral. If you want to post some­thing more per­ma­nent, cre­ate a note and it will be for­ever vis­i­ble un­der your user pro­file. To do this, you’ll need to be us­ing a desk­top browser: you’ll find “notes” un­der the “more” drop­down on your pro­file page. Click “add note” to cre­ate as many en­tries as you like and op­tion­ally de­cide who can see them. To view notes on the mo­bile app, sim­ply open a user pro­file and tap “about”.

3 Save in­ter­est­ing posts for later

Face­book shares and sto­ries have a ten­dency to whiz past. If you see some­thing that you’ll want to come back to, you can eas­ily save it for fu­ture ref­er­ence. Sim­ply tap the el­lip­sis at the top right of any post and se­lect “save” from the pop-up menu. To re­visit saved items, tap the menu icon at the top right of the screen and se­lect “saved” from the list of links that ap­pears. On a desk­top browser, click the “saved” link to the left of your news feed.

4 Cre­ate “friend lists” for pri­vacy

Don’t want to share ev­ery­thing with your family and work col­leagues? With “friend lists” you can eas­ily post up­dates that are vis­i­ble only to cer­tain peo­ple. You can cre­ate as many lists as you like, but you’ll need to use a desk­top browser to do it: the friend-list link is to the left of your news feed. Once you’ve made a list, you can tap the “pri­vacy” drop­down while cre­at­ing a new post al­low­ing you to spec­ify who will be able to see it.

5 Re­view (and cen­sor) your ac­tiv­ity his­tory

Face­book re­mem­bers ev­ery­thing you do – creepy, eh? But it means you can re­view your past searches and ac­tions by sim­ply tap­ping the “set­tings” icon at the top right of the app and open­ing the ac­tiv­ity log. You can re­visit old posts that you’ve pre­vi­ously liked or events that you went to, plus other peo­ple’s posts that you were men­tioned or tagged in. If there’s some­thing that you would pre­fer not to be re­minded of, tap and you’ll see the op­tion to delete it or hide it from your time­line.

6 Nom­i­nate some­one to man­age your ac­count af­ter you die

What will hap­pen to your Face­book ac­count af­ter you pass away? Nom­i­nate a trusted “legacy con­tact” and they’ll be able to up­date your pro­file, share in­for­ma­tion with your friends and, op­tion­ally, close your ac­count. (Don’t worry, they can’t edit your posts or read your mes­sages.) To choose a legacy con­tact, open “set­tings” in the mo­bile app, then go to ac­count set­tings > gen­eral > man­age ac­count. If you’re not the trust­ing sort, you can also opt to have your ac­count qui­etly deleted af­ter you die.

7 Sync events and birth­days with your reg­u­lar calendar

Face­book alerts you to forth­com­ing events and birth­days, but it’s of­ten more con­ve­nient to view these in your reg­u­lar calendar. You can set this up eas­ily: open Face­book in a desk­top browser, go to the “events” page and scroll down; to­wards the bot­tom right of the page you’ll see two in­con­spic­u­ous links for “up­com­ing events” and “birth­days”. Click­ing these will gen­er­ate a link that can im­port iCal, Google Calendar or Mi­crosoft Out­look so that all your im­por­tant dates are in one place.

8 Cre­ate an ac­count with a one-word name

Face­book doesn’t nor­mally al­low sin­gle­word names such as Cher or Bono, but there’s an ex­cep­tion for In­done­sian users who of­ten gen­uinely don’t have sur­names. So, if you want to ditch your sur­name you just have to per­suade Face­book that you’re in In­done­sia. This calls for a bit of tech­ni­cal trick­ery: use a VPN (such as ex­pressvpn.com) to route your in­ter­net con­nec­tion via Jakarta, then change your lan­guage to Ba­hasa In­done­sia. Go into your ac­count set­tings and you’ll find it is now pos­si­ble to delete your sur­name.

9 Down­load videos from your time­line

Face­book makes it easy to down­load full-qual­ity pho­tos from your news feed. Sadly, down­load­ing videos isn’t an op­tion, although it can be done with third-party tools. If you’re us­ing Chrome on the desk­top, the eas­i­est way is to in­stall the free So­cial Video Down­loader ex­ten­sion , which adds a con­ve­nient down­load but­ton to em­bed­ded videos. If you’re us­ing a mo­bile de­vice (or just don’t want to in­stall an ex­ten­sion), visit fb­down.net and paste in the URL of a shared video to down­load it au­to­mat­i­cally.

10 Cre­ate a “story” and see who’s pay­ing at­ten­tion

Face­book “sto­ries” com­bine im­ages, video and fun graph­i­cal over­lays into an in­stant slideshow that van­ishes af­ter 24 hours. To get started, tap “your story” at the top of the home screen; then, once you’ve as­sem­bled your mas­ter­piece, press the big ar­row at the bot­tom to share it with the world. The trick with sto­ries is that they can also give you a sneaky in­sight into who’s stalk­ing your feed – tap the eye icon at the bot­tom left of the story to see who has viewed it.

11 Post sta­tus up­dates via SMS

Face­book’s ac­count set­tings in­clude an op­tion to enable text mes­sag­ing sup­port, so that you can post up­dates and re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tions by SMS. The idea might sound old fash­ioned, but in an emer­gency it could be a life­saver: when you’re des­per­ately low on bat­tery power or have no data cov­er­age, you can get a mes­sage to all your Face­book friends by sim­ply tex­ting it to 32665 (“FBOOK”). You can also text “OTP” to re­ceive a one-time pass­word so that you can log in if your ac­count has been com­pro­mised.

12 Face­book with­out the bloat

The Face­book app is no­to­ri­ous for slow­ing down your phone and de­vour­ing your bat­tery. One op­tion is to ac­cess Face­book via your smart­phone’s web browser or try a free, light­weight third-party client such as Face­book Lite for An­droid or Lite for Face­book on iOS. Face­book also pub­lishes its own Lite app, but it’s only avail­able in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries such as In­dia, so if you want to try it you’ll need to use a VPN to spoof your lo­ca­tion.

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