Just Say No to Mafia Wars!

OK, listen, I know we are all freaked by the new Facebook user interface. And with good reason. Some of it seems like they just went, “oh yeah, we forgot we needed that!” and stuffed it in their suitcase last minute and had to sit on it to close it. But some if it is actually decent when you start playing around with it – ONLY SOME – and as my friend Meghann keeps reminding me, there is always Facebook Lite.

But, today, I want to talk about a way to make your life happier in Facebook. As I mentioned at the “Intro To Social Media” talk I gave last week – it is a common comparison to think of Facebook as your house, and Twitter as a cocktail party. So, while we are sitting in our houses, we may play board games with our guests UP TO A POINT, like maybe 3 hours worth, but there comes a time to clean up. Put away dishes. And STOP DEALING WITH THE EFFING REQUESTS TO PLAY MAFIA WARS.

This is why I prefer Twitter, people.



A few friends SOSed recently, wanting to STOP THE MADNESS, and with the help of James, ie My Tech Guru, we gave the following tips on hiding the stuff you don’t like in Facebook while still staying in touch. This is one thing I *do* really like about Facebook. Control. Hey, great – let people play their mafia wars and have a ball. I just don’t feel like watching. I want to see what people are up to, go to their events and look at their photos. Lord help me. Am I having a scrapbooking party in my Facebook house? Fuck.

OK. Deep breath.

First, most apps require you to install them on Facebook to use them. Friend Facts, Mafia Wars, Farmville among them. These are not part of Faceboook, they are 3rd party applications that you opt into. To play these apps, you must install, and they will show up in your “Application Settings” (under “Account” tab in top right of new design).

Many of these apps will only show up in your Home News Stream if BOTH you and your friend have the app installed (example, Friend Facts).

(Sidenote: “Top News” shows only the 250 people you interact with most – although you can up that number in “Edit Options” at the bottom – while “Most Recent” shows everything. Guess where I spend most of my (small amount of) time in Facebook?)

Some apps ALSO will post to status updates to *everyone* as a way to advertise (example, Farmville and Mafia Wars). So, you don’t have to have the app installed to see the, erm, crap that is spewed from them.

SO, to stop seeing these things, find an update about the app from a friend in your home feed, go to the right of it, and click “Hide.” THE HIDE BUTTON IS YOUR FRIEND – ALMOST AS MUCH AS YOUR FRIEND IS YOUR FRIEND. When you click that, options appear that say “Hide Aimee” “Hide Farmville” or “Cancel” – be sure to think about what you are doing here – that you probably want to hide the APPLICATION, not the person… thus all “Farmville” updates will be stopped universally for all friends, that you don’t want to block “Aimee” the person.

Unless! You *do* want to hide me. *I* am a person who feeds my Twitter directly into Facebook, so the same update goes in both places. So, sure, hide me! This is a way for us to be able to message and invite each other to events via Facebook but *not* have me clog up your stream. I dutifully apologize for this setup, and as I have mentioned, I turn this off during big conferences (example: SXSWi) – but if I did not do it this way, my Facebook status would have little tumbleweed icons in it.

Another sidenote: You *cannot* hide things in the mobile app, but the choices you make on the web will stop this crap everywhere. And the mobile app is clearly where they spent their usability dollars because it is awesome.

Now, if you hide something and you want to unhide it, go to the bottom of your home feed and click “Edit Options” and there you can unhide anything you have hidden in the past. Also, in this area, you can add friends, to tell Facebook to bring them up more frequently – like I have I have added my husband, seeing as he uses Facebook even less than I do, so it would be nice to catch him when he is actually on.

OK. There you go. Cleaning your Facebook house made easy. Next up: Giving yourself permission to untag unflattering photos.

Any other tips to share?

This article has 18 comments

  1. zipper

    great tips. I hide all that garbage.

  2. Shari

    Yay! super – awesome – wonderful info. I have passed your blog link on to my personal friends. So if you get a tiny bit more traffic… I did it..

    thanks so much for the info!!

  3. Meghann

    Facebook Lite is where the cool kids hang out. 😛

    (And a side note, you can’t play games on FB Lite, and I *do* love me some Bejeweled Blitz. What’s great though, is you can connect your regular FB and FB Lite. It puts a link at the top of your page, where you just click it to toggle between the two. WIN.)

    Another thing I like about FB Lite is no more notifications. When someone posts on your picture or message, it just gets bumped to the top of your stream. For some reason, that sits with me a lot better. Less clicking to look at what was said on what.

  4. Anonymous

    great tips for us newbies at all this. thanks! – m

  5. Sarah Jones

    Great tips!! I feel like a great weight has been lifted!!

  6. Meghann

    I threw up a quick post with some screen shots, in case anyone actually is interested in Facebook Lite. Because yes, I am *that* annoying. 😛


  7. Julie @ The Mom Slant

    Seriously. There is nothing wrong with hiding people or hiding apps.Or playing those games. Ahem. (At least I don’t publish the extraneous crap to my profile.)

  8. Kim

    Yup, individual app hiding is the way to go. But my usability question is, why can’t I have a function that tells me in actuality how many unread items I have? I can get that with twitter (through Twittelator on my iPhone) and Google Reader, so I don’t understand how that’s so hard to implement? Then I can have an idea if I have missed something, or if I should just give up.

  9. lorisays

    I started using Facebook to keep up with my nieces (I also prefer Twitter, Aimee). It is nice to have reconnected with old friend on FB but I loathe those app-driven updates! Thanks so much for letting me know how to turn them off without gagging my pals 🙂

  10. Hannah

    Tumbleweed icon — *snicker*

  11. Brandi

    Perhaps more annoying that invites are people who add photo albums of their farms on Farmville. The Sight of pixelated grasslands gives me rage.

    BUT, new settings for stream (bottom right, not so obvious) allows you to keep certain gameaholics from constantly inviting you to play.

    And I’m totally guessing that’s where the stream setting is. It’s SOMEWHERE and I’m too busy tweeting on my iPhone.

  12. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Yes, Brandi – I noticed that too! When someone invites you to play, you can block requests from the application now – YAY!!!

  13. Gretchen

    I never said yes in the first place. I’m such a curmudgeon.

  14. J at www.jellyjules.com

    I heart you for teaching me how to hide the Farmville crap. I hate it. I love facebook for many reasons, and I don’t yet twitter. So thank you.

  15. Lady M

    I came here via Mayberry’s “Happy” post and I love you already. Hide, hide, hide stupid Farmville.

  16. Paul

    I know this is reviving an old thread, but I found your post via uninteresting means just now.

    My reason for posting is to tell you (& readers) about a great app in Facebook that let’s you choose which Twitter posts appear as FB status updates. You just append a “#fb” to the end of the tweet and that post will be added as a status update, but not otherwise. It’s very, very slick!

    I also very rarely go to FB directly, but instead just pick a Twitter post occasionally to drop into FB with a #fb suffix. Very handy.

    It’s called Selective Twitter (http://apps.facebook.com/selectivetwitter/)


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