Facebook changes the newsfeed to give users more control: Here’s what you need to know

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As noted by Mashable, Facebook recently unveiled a series of changes to its newsfeed.  These changes could have some important impacts on how users get updates from friends and brands that they follow, including politicians.

Currently, you are able to alter your newsfeed settings so you can completely unfollow annoying friends.  This makes it so that you do not have to see content posted by people, but can still be friends with them.

The new component is that Facebook will be creating a News Feed settings page.  From that page, you can see which of your friends you have unfollowed and who you interact with most frequently.  You will be able alter your feed to allow you to have better control over what stories you see more and less often.

This is a good change, and it’s to Facebook’s credit.  I’m not yet sure how it will work with pages or brands, and my guess is that brands will not be in this new customization, as it could hurt Facebook by reducing the need of brands to pay for ads.  However, this could have an impact on the personal pages of elected officials, which are frequently important hubs for distribution of political and policy information.

Based on that, a few thoughts:

  • Tell people about the news feed changes – and show them how to customize it so that they see your information: Calls to action are of vital importance in the digital world, and it’s worth telling people about these changes and showing them how to make sure they are seeing your posts.
  • You may be followed “less”:  The changes also allow users to show your posts “less often” – in other words, they’ll still see you, but less.  Keep in mind that, as en elected official who talks policy and politics, this is going to happen to you, no matter what your content is.  Make sure that, periodically, you gear content to those people.  How do you do this?  My guess – add keywords to the important posts – “IMPORTANT” is a good one.  Ask people to share, comment and like on important posts as well.
  • Make your content count:  This is probably obvious, but as Facebook gives users more control over the content they see, you better think very hard about what you post!  It will soon be much, much easier for users to tune you out.

Any others thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments!

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