How to Make Facebook Usable Again

According to Facebook’s website, as of June 30, 2014 there are 1.32 billion monthly active users on Facebook with 829 million being daily active users. 

Unless you just recently joined Facebook that means that it is a very different platform than when you first joined.

In the early days many of us, me included, made the mistake of accepting every friend request, not organizing our friends into lists and liking every page to support friends. 

As Facebook added new features we did not use them yet complained that Facebook was no longer usable. We turned to whatever the new platform of the week was. For example, when Google+ came out everyone raved about the ability to organize based on circles, even though a similar feature was already available on Facebook.

Recently Brian Solis published a Facebook status update that addressed one of the key problems with this over-friending and over-liking of pages:

A few days later another friend, Jason SurfrApp, announced that he was taking a social media detox for the month of October. As Jason explains (similarly to Brian):

"Even with doing some heavy curating of my Twitter account and swinging the Hide From News Feed Hammer on FB, I can’t escape the random political rant, the addiction to vanity metrics (likes, RTs, favorites, follower counts, etc), or the dab of social media makeup to pretend life is perfect.”

Inspired by both Brian and Jason I decided to take control of my Facebook account again. 

I have been spending an increased amount of time daily publishing my daily updates, trying to be a better digital friend and replying to status updates and messages.

In one of my recent daily updates I asked if an article detailing how I made Facebook usable again would be helpful to others. The feedback was a resounding “yes”.

Before we get into the specifics of what I did, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with being built unstoppable. That is an easy answer in my opinion.

As these social networks continue to proliferate, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are a part of our daily lives now. 

If we are going to work on building ourselves unstoppable then we need to surround ourselves with those people who inspire us to push harder. Likewise we also need to remove negativity that brings us down.

By surrounding yourself with those people who enrich your life and get rid of stuff that weighs you down or frustrates you, you are helping to build yourself unstoppable.

Organizing Everyone Into Lists

I started this process by organizing all 1,900+ friends into a few lists:

  • Close Friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Citrix [Work]
  • Family
  • University of Connecticut [Graduate School]
  • University of Hartford [Undergraduate School]

I do not like that Facebook gives you the two main choice of “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” since that is not how I considered the people that I put into either list. 

Sure, you could create new lists but the default options work well since they trigger other processes automatically. For example, everyone that you put into the “Close Friends” list automatically triggers being able to see notifications from these people. It also adds them to those who can see if you are active on chat. 

Previously I would manually add people to a list who could see whether I was available on chat or not. By going through this process it took care of that.

The other lists were a way for me to add some people sub-lists that I would like to keep track of separately. All additional lists that were automatically created by Facebook were archived so I would not have to see them any longer.

I did not want to use the nuclear option of un-friending everyone. I will test this current organization for the next few weeks before potentially moving to the nuclear option.

This was a tedious process that ended up taking about 3 hours to complete. Depending on how many friends you have this process could take shorter or longer.

I really wish Facebook had a better system in place since you have to go friend by friend to organize them. However, I’m sure many of us are on the outskirts of what the “normal” Facebook user has for friends.

Friend Requests

Next up on the list was to go through the friend requests that I allowed to build up. 

There was something in my brain that did not want to take action on friend requests as to not hurt any feelings. Over the last year or two I let these friend requests build up.

I went through these requests, declining 150+ friend invites. It felt good to see that little red number disappear.


After organizing friends into different lists and declining the friend requests, I turned my attention to Pages that I have liked over the last 8 years or so that I have been on Facebook.

I removed approximately 300 pages that I had liked but no longer had an affiliation to, that existed or that I cared to see updates from.

While many of these were no longer publishing updates regularly, the ones that were publishing were cluttering my feed constantly.

I still “like" approximately 300 pages that are a combination of friends, news websites, movies, music, interests, etc. Approximately 50% of these are on the chopping block but I wanted to give them a chance.

I also ignored 400+ invites to “like" pages. I understand why the feature exists but too many people invite all of their friends to “like” their Pages even if it will not help them or be of interest.


I removed myself from 10+ groups that I had been added to and had never used. 

There are 23 groups that I have stayed a member of. These remaining groups I will continue to use or will begin actively engaging in over the coming weeks now that the noise of the other 10 groups is gone.


I declined 15 invites to events with many of them not even being in a location that is close to me.

Similar to Pages, you should not invite everyone to your event especially if they do not even live in your area.


Finally, I organized my Favorites section to access my most used lists, pages and groups quickly and easily.

You CAN take control of your Facebook environment again. 

You need to get past the mental block that is scared to hurt other’s feelings. While it is understandable and is something that I dealt with too, you need to do it so that you can surround yourself with those that are positive influences on your life, provide value and are helpful to you.

Don’t Forget About Other Social Networks

While this article applies to Facebook, you should be taking similar actions on other social networks. I recently created new lists in Twitter and cleaned up both Instagram and YouTube to make all of them more usable for where my interests are these days.

Question: What other actions have you taken to make Facebook or other social networks more usable?

Image Credit: mkhmarketing