How to Easily Outsmart Facebook and See the Posts YOU Want to See

Have you noticed you’re not seeing Facebook updates from friends and pages as much as you used to?

There are many reasons this is happening. One is to be expected: If you have a lot of friends and like a lot of pages, you’re just not going to see all their updates unless you’re on Facebook 24/7.

Another reason? Facebook wants pages like Honest Mom to pay to reach their fans (impossible for blogs like mine, small businesses, and nonprofits). This means just because you “like” a page doesn’t mean you’ll get to see what that page posts, unless the page pays big bucks.

Annoying, right? My prediction is that everyone’s Facebook news feed will eventually become a useless feed of ads, sponsored posts from big brand pages, and a smattering of content that Facebook deems worthy of your eyes.

But there is a way to see what you want to see from the pages you like and the friends you have. It involves a little-used, super-awesome feature of Facebook that I discovered ages ago, but never used properly. Now I’m using it correctly and it’s life-changing. Well, Facebook-life-changing.

how to outsmart facebook and see posts you want to see

Let me start off by saying this: I’m talking about seeing the posts (aka status updates) you want to see from pages and friends. I’m not talking about “Get Notifications” (learn how to do that here). That’s a nice feature and another way to not miss stuff (go ahead and Get Notifications from Honest Mom!).

But the problem with Get Notifications is that you can’t see the whole post. You have to click to see the post and be able to like/interact with the post. Then you have to go back to your notifications and repeat for each post. Not exactly user-friendly. And not a solution to the crappy news feed problem.

So I have two magic words that beautifully solve the problem of Get Notifications: Interest Lists!

How to create Interest lists in Facebook

Go to your news feed. You know that left-hand column that’s always there? Look at the way bottom of that column, where your favorites, pages, groups, etc. are listed. At the bottom is something called “Interests.” (If you don’t see Interests, you just don’t have any yet. Keep reading – I’ll tell you how to fix that.)

interests at bottom of column

Click on Add Interests. You’ll then see a little button that says +Create List.

create list

Click that, and a box with all your likes and friends will appear: pages you follow, people you follow, and friends.

box

There are also categories such as art, books, business, etc. to browse and discover new pages and people. Plus there is a search box to find pages and people, whether you’ve liked them/friended them already or not. But we’re going to stick with things we’re already liked.

Let’s say you want to create a list of your favorite blogs. I’m calling mine Bloggers Who Rock. Within the Pages section of the box you’re looking at (see pic above), click on a blog you have liked or type its name in the search box. When it appears, click it. A check mark will show up so you know you’ve selected it. Here’s how it’ll look if you searched in the search box:

check

Keep clicking on blog pages or searching and adding until your list is complete. When you’re done adding pages to your list, click the next button at the bottom right. Create a name for your list, decide if you want it to be public, seen by friends only, or private, and click done.

List name

Voila! You now have a list of your favorite blogs. And their posts will appear in chronological order (none of that “top stories” crap). So far it seems that every post of my friends and pages I like appear in the lists I made for them. Success!

If you make a public Interest list anyone can follow it. You can follow my Bloggers Who Rock list – I bet you like a bunch of the blogs. Now you can actually see what they post!

How to easily find your Interest lists

Your list will appear in your Interests, but of course your Interests are waaaaay down at the bottom of the sidebar where Facebook hopes you’ll forget about them (because Facebook wants you to see its ads, not the content you want to see).

So I give Facebook the virtual finger and move all my lists up so I see them right away. Here’s how to do that:

Hover just to the left of the name of your new Interest list and a little pencil will appear. Click on it and select Add to Favorites.

Add to Favorites2

It will now appear at the top of your left-hand column on your news feed for easy access.

ta da2

When you like a new page, be sure to add it to one of your Interest lists. (If you don’t have any Interests in your left-hand sidebar on your main Facebook page, do this first. Then Interests will appear.) Here’s how:

If you’re on the actual Facebook page, click the Like button. Then hover over the button (it now says Liked ) and click Add to Interest Lists… (go ahead and click Get Notifications too, if you want them)

add on fb page

If you are looking at your news feed and like a page within your feed, you can do the same thing. Click the Like button, hover over the button (it now says Liked ) and click Add to Interest Lists…

Things to think about when making Interest lists:

1. Keep them small-ish. Better to have a lot of lists than a ton of people/pages on one list, or you’ll end up with another useless, crowded feed.

For example, if you follow a lot of blog pages divide them up into different lists: mom bloggers, food bloggers, humor bloggers. Maybe have another list for all the music pages you like, and another for TV shows. Whatever floats your Facebook boat.

2. Organize your friends. Interest lists are great for keeping up with your friends’ Facebook pages. I once tried to organize them within the Friends section in the sidebar, but doing it that way requires you to type in every name you want to add. Painful. Now I have a private Interest list of my closest friends on Facebook and I actually know what’s going on with all of them!

3. Don’t forget about your Interest lists! Be sure to add them to your Favorites as I described above.

Now go make some Interest lists and see what YOU want to see on Facebook! It’s magical, I promise!

*****

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94 Replies to “How to Easily Outsmart Facebook and See the Posts YOU Want to See”

  1. Love this post! I had seen the interest list ages ago too but never really investigates it because I knew I wouldn’t remember to use it! With me, it’s “out of sight, out of mind!” The add to favorites tip to move it up to the top just made me giddy!! Thanks for posting this!

  2. Two comments:
    I couldn’t see all your images using Chrome, but they do appear using Internet Explorer.
    I couldn’t follow the first step because I don’t seem to have any “Interests” in Facebook. I have “Favorites,” “Apps”, “Groups,” “Friends,” and “Pages.” How do I add “Interests” to the list?

    1. Hi Alice! I heard from some others that they couldn’t see some of the images in Chrome. It’s because they were .tiff images. I changed them to .jpegs and I’ve been told they are now visible in Chrome. Let me know if it’s still not working for you!

      Re: Interests – that’s weird you don’t see that option. Here are two ideas:

      1. Add a page to your (right now nonexistent) interest lists as I described above where it says, “When you like a new page, be sure to add it to your interest lists. Here’s how.” Then check and see if Interests appears in your Facebook column at the bottom.

      2. Try going to this link: https://www.facebook.com/bookmarks/interests and see if you can create a list there.

      Let me know if this works!

  3. Thanks a million for this. When I noticed those “boost” buttons popping up on my blog’s FB page and realized that I actually had to PAY to take advantage of this, I kind of felt like this was the beginning of the end. Your wisdom is worth more than gold and platinum combined — especially for someone like me who is relatively new to blogging AND inept at Facebook (double whammy). I, too, am going to use this as an opportunity to encourage my readers to subscribe. (By the way, I was led to your page because I subscribe to Honest Mom!)

    1. Hey Eric! Thanks for commenting. Sort by Recent Posts in your newsfeed doesn’t solve the problem because your news feed doesn’t show all posts from pages, or even friends. Sure, you can see what FB chooses to show to you in chronological order. But you’re not seeing your whole “universe” of posts from pages/friends. This is because of wacky FB algorithms and of course, because FB wants pages to pay to reach their fans. Interest lists solve this problem.

      Also – I find creating lists for friends is much easier when you create as an Interest list as opposed to creating a list within Friends (the way you described in your post). I mentioned why I think it’s easier toward the end of my post above.

      You were way ahead of me, sorting friends in 2010! I didn’t discover that feature until a couple years later. 🙂

      1. Thanks JD. I did some comparison testing. It was easy to find missing posts by pages, but it took me forever to find a missing post by a friend (maybe because I only have 78 friends on Facebook).

        Thanks for the tip!

  4. I’ve tried everything else EXCEPT for paying because I will never do that. Everything works for one day, or even just one or two posts, and then I disappear again. I’m eager to try this. Thanks for sharing it (and dumbing it down for people like me :P)

  5. Fantastic post! Easily the best I’ve seen on this topic. Thank you for laying it out so clearly. Even though I’ve known about interest lists, I haven’t used them to their fullest capability either. Now off to share this bad boy!

  6. Now, I had this all set up and wonderful. I could just look at my interests lists and see all my favorite pages and not have them clog up my friends feed. Until they changed something and you had to follow the pages you like to see them in the interests list too. Super pissed. Now, I have to look at it all twice if I want to make sure I’m not missing anything from my interest lists.

  7. I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing updates from certain pages. I literally go through my entire feed from when I last looked, so I thought it was strange nothing was appearing even after going through every. single. post. Damn, Facebook greed!

    I am definitely doing this and sharing this awesome post.

  8. This is awesome! Honestly, I might/probably wont do it because I am too lazy, but finally a way to outsmart facebook. Seriously, they weren’t even showing me my boyfriend’s updates. If there is ONE person I would want to follow… Anyways, thank you!

    1. Hi Courtney – you probably don’t have any “Interests” yet. Try going to a page and click the “like” button. Now hover over it (it will say “Liked” now). When you hover, you can select “Add to Interests…” – click that. Then check your news feed column and see if Interests appear.

  9. I was excited to do this, and finally see posts from the friends I want to see….however I have set up the interests list, and when I click on the little pencil to move it to my favorites, it says “Delete list” only…?

  10. Oh my gosh!! This is an awesome post! Thank you for making it so easy to understand and follow, especially the screen shots! I Love it. Just organized all my favorite blogs and I’m feeling really excited about it! Thank you!!

  11. There is no “Interests” tab on my page. Scrolling all the way down on left side, I’ve got Favorites, Groups, Friends, Pages, and Apps. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Melissa – you probably don’t have any “Interests” yet. Try going to a page and click the “like” button. Now hover over it (it will say “Liked” now). When you hover, you can select “Add to Interests…” – click that. Then check your news feed column and see if Interests appear.

  12. These are great, I've made a ton of lists and it's the only way I can use Facebook without wanting to punch everyone for spoiling shows and being super annoying. I wish they worked better on my phone, but….whatever.
    Totally pinning this!

    1. Hi Florencia – you probably don’t have any “Interests” yet. Try going to a page and click the “like” button. Now hover over it (it will say “Liked” now). When you hover, you can select “Add to Interests…” – click that. Then check your news feed column and see if Interests appear.

  13. I have a quick question that was not very clear.. once you have created your lists, do all the posts from those on your lists always show up on your main feed with everyone and everything else, or do you have to click on the interests list to see a seperate feed of just those on the lists?

  14. I was wondering the same thing because I can't find the interests on the IPhone. Also, unless you can click on them, they aren't showing in the main news feed. I am still being bogged down with garbage I really don't care to see. =( I am usually only on FB on my mobile phone.

  15. Like the idea BUT a few questions… 1) I can't find these "Interest" tabs on the the sidebar while using the IPhone, that's usually the only time I am on FB. 2) Once in favorites, will these "Interests" start to take over the main feed? Because as of now, I am still getting the same garbage clogging my Main Feed. 3) Looks like you can only set up these interests from an actual computer, it wont let you do it on the phone apps. Any suggestions Honest Mom?

    1. Hi Jodi! Here are some answers:
      1) Sadly, Interests aren’t on the mobile or tablet Facebook apps. BUT if you go to Facebook.com in Safari on your iPhone, you can see your Interests.
      2) Interests are separate from your main FB feed. Your feed will look the same.
      3) I believe you can only set up Interests from a computer, but you can see them on Facebook.com on a web browser (not on through the FB app).

  16. I didn’t even know where Interest Tips were and was only focused on how to get people to see my stuff in their feeds, which, well, going back to that post of yours now! THank you so much!!!

  17. You can also give them the finger about those ads by getting adblock, its free to download. Takes ads off gmail and you tube as well. Thanks for the post, I had been getting irritated about not seeing what I wanted to see 🙂

  18. This is great, except what about groups that I’m a part of? I don’t see a way to add those to an interest list. That’s my biggest complaint – I want to see my group posts, but don’t want a notification every single time someone posts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Deborah! I am pretty sure you can’t add groups to an interest list. You can control notifications – in the blue bar at the top of Facebook, all the way to the right, click the down arrow. Select Settings. Then select Notifications. You’ll see “How You Get Notifications” and “What You Get Notified About” – under “What You Get Notified About” you’ll see Group Activity. You can change how often you are notified about activity in each group.

      And of course, you can just check groups the old-fashioned way – by clicking on them in the left-hand sidebar. Old School. 😉

  19. As the owner of a Fan Page, I’m constantly looking for ways to outsmart Facebook and it seems they’re constantly looking out for us to do so… Did you know that the Interests URL you provided brings you to the page, but when you click “add interests”, it tells you that the page has been removed. FB is showing my posts to about 5% of my fans. So frustrating.

  20. Thanks so much for this. I am frequently frustrated that i never seem to know what's going on with the people I really want to know about. This will absolutely help. I'm a blogger, too, and it's interesting that my friend shared this post with me because I had just read – in yet another blog – that using FB to promote your blog directly is basically a big waste of time. Which was a relief to me because no one responded much to my links anyway.
    http://www.michaelwhoknew.com

  21. WOW!!! Thanks so much for posting this. I not only have my personal page, but two fan pages also. I am beyond annoyed at my fan pages reaching less than 10% of my readership… but I am extremely bummed that I know I don’t get all the pages I want to read!!!
    I will put this little trick to the test and try to beat out the Facebook system.
    Thanks again!

  22. Oh my heck this works!!!! I was at my wits end from seeing my feed jam-packed with unrelated “friends of friends” posts, likes & comments. I was pretty much ready to delete my FB account. So thrilled to find this “interest lists” solution. Will be sharing this with my friends, thank you!!

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