Facebook has many helpful features – some obvious, some less so. Here are six tips to help you to make the most of your Facebook experience, whether you’re using it mainly for personal or for business purposes.
I’ve given instructions for Facebook on a PC and an Android phone, but you should be able to find the same features on a Mac or an iPhone. And do bear in mind that Facebook changes from time to time, so these features might appear in a different place in future – or even disappear altogether!
1. Following a post
If you want to receive notifications when something’s been added to a post, Facebook has a useful feature that’s worth knowing about. In the top right-hand corner of each post there’s a drop-down menu (click on the three dots to reveal it). Simply choose ‘Turn on notifications for this post’. And if you want to turn off notifications, you can do that from the drop-down menu too.
Of course, you should automatically receive a notification if you’ve already contributed to the thread. But there’s no need to type ‘Following’ or ‘F’ in the comments just to make that happen. Far better to turn on notifications from the menu so that you’re not cluttering the thread. Your friends and colleagues will thank you for it.
2. Saving a link
We’ve all had the experience of seeing something on Facebook, thinking we’d go back later to read it, and then not being able to find it. The same drop-down menu you use to turn notifications on and off also has a ‘Save link’ option. Click on that and it’ll be saved for you, without you having to comment on the thread.
You can even organise the links into ‘Collections’ (e.g. work, health, music), making them even easier to find.
3. Sticking to group rules
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with others through shared interests. For example, many editors and proofreaders enjoy reading and taking part in discussions in the Editors’ Association of Earth public group and its associated closed groups.
Before starting to post in a group – whatever type of group it is – it’s a good idea to read the rules. Many groups have guidelines on the types of posts allowed. For example, are you allowed to advertise (either your own products and services or those of someone else)? There are often other rules about what is and isn’t acceptable.
It’s important to follow all the guidelines. It makes the job of the group admin(s) so much easier, avoids wasting everyone’s time, and makes the group experience far more pleasant and productive for all users. If it’s a professional group – like the ones for editors and proofreaders, for example – following the rules helps you to maintain your professional image.
And if you decide you don’t like a particular group’s rules, you can always start your own!
4. Searching in a group
One useful aspect of Facebook groups is the search feature. This enables you to look for previous discussions on a particular topic so that you don’t run the risk of asking a question that’s already been answered.
5. Protecting your privacy
One thing you need to be aware of when commenting on a Facebook thread – whether that’s on a friend’s timeline, on a page, or in a group – is the privacy settings.
This is where the privacy details appear on the group page on a phone:
And on a PC:
6. Hiding posts
Facebook’s algorithms are such that it’s difficult to control what you see in your newsfeed. But there’s one useful feature that does at least allow you to hide specific posts from friends, pages and groups if you’d rather not see them again (for whatever reason).
When you see the post in your newsfeed, click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the post to find the same drop-down menu mentioned in Tip 2 above. Simply choose ‘Hide post’. You’ll notice that there are also options to ‘Snooze’ a particular person for 30 days, or ‘Unfollow’ them completely so that you won’t see their posts at all (but you’ll still be friends). Very handy!
You’ll only see the full menu with this option if you click on the post in your newsfeed, rather than, for example, within a group, or on a page or a friend’s timeline.
So there we are: six little tips that can make a big difference to your – and other people’s – experience of Facebook. I hope you find them useful!
Are you a member of a Facebook group? If so, you’ll probably appreciate how great they are for sharing views, asking questions, discussing particular topics, and connecting with like-minded individuals.
Facebook groups are usually set up to bring together people who share a common interest. That might be a hobby or leisure activity, a political viewpoint, a charitable cause, or perhaps a specific geographical area (the town in which you live, for instance). Such groups can also be used for professional purposes. As an editor, I belong to several editing-related Facebook groups, including Editors’ Association of Earth, Academic Editors and PerfectIt Users.
The three types of Facebook group
There are three types of Facebook group – public, closed and secret – and it’s worth making sure you’re aware of the different levels of privacy in each of these. Facebook provides a handy summary of the privacy settings for each of these groups. In this article I’ll be discussing public groups, as I think those raise the most concerns about privacy (or lack of it).
How do you tell what type of group you’re joining?
The type of group is specified under the group’s name. On a desktop you’ll see something like this – the little globe indicates ‘public’:
If you’re viewing the group on your phone, it might look something like this:
Privacy in public groups
Many of us take the time and trouble to protect our personal profile on Facebook – hiding our private information and limiting the audience for posts on our own timeline – but that won’t protect any posts or comments we contribute to a public group. What’s more, posts to a public group might even show up in our friends’ newsfeeds.
Should you steer clear of public groups on Facebook?
That would be a real shame, as many groups provide an excellent space for their members to share ideas and connect with one another. But there are things you can do to make the most of public groups without damaging your professional (or personal) reputation.
Enjoy public groups!
Facebook groups are a valuable resource, and I wouldn’t want to put anyone off being part of them. But it’s important to realise that your posts and comments in a public group are just that – public. Keep this in mind and you’ve nothing to worry about!