We asked you guys about your biggest pet peeves on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and you came up with some great answers — not to mention great solutions. Here are some your best tricks for avoiding the flood of annoying, boring and spammy updates on social networks.
You guys had a lot of good pet peeves, including but not limited to:
- Updating too often — Twitter is a bit more lenient than Facebook in terms of the how frequently you can update before becoming annoying, and Google+ users are in the clear since it’s so empty anyways
- Sharing intensely personal and/or vague statuses that only you understand (“I can’t believe that just happened.”)
- Complaining about the new Facebook/Twitter layout
- Insulting those with different political/religious beliefs
- Follow Friday-ing large amounts of people with no explanation as to why they’re intersting
- Repetetive statuses created by applications, like FourSquare, Klout and “Now Playing” music apps
- Anything telling your followers to repost it, i.e. “chain” statuses
While the easiest fix is just to unfollow or unfriend the worst offenders, you don’t always want to unfriend one of your real-life friends — as that can create an awkward situation. Similarly, sometimes people share interesting things you want to read, but in between annoying tweets about FourSquare, politics or why they’re still single. Here’s how to fix those annoyances without unfollowing them altogether.
Respond with Humour
This probably isn’t a long-lasting solution, but it was one of my favourites that you guys suggested. Instead of getting worked up over Facebook pet peeves (after all, let’s put things into perspective — it’s just Facebook), take those boring or annoying statuses and make them fun again. Lifehacker reader minealone6 offers some examples:
Annoying Status: “That was weird.”
Witty Response: “I told you not to try ecstasy.”
Annoying Status: “I can’t believe that happened.”
Witty Response: “Did that girl in accounting turn you down?”
Annoying Status: “Worst day ever.”
Witty Response: “I guess you found out about me and your sister.”
(Be careful with that last one, it could get you punched in the face).
Hide or Filter the Obnoxious Statuses
Before causing an awkward confrontation, you can just use built-in functionality, not to mention a few apps and browser extensions, to filter out the statuses you don’t want to see.
On Twitter: Twitter doesn’t have a lot of options for hiding specific tweets, but you can use a client like TweetDeck or Kiwi, which have advanced filtering features. You can filter out tweets from certain people completely, or just tweets containing certain words. Lifehacker reader Pr0crast also recommends a neat tool called Shuush, which will reduce the font size of Twitter users that tweet too often.
On Facebook: Facebook recently added in some nice features that let you control how much you see of certain people. Just click the drop-down arrow next to someone’s status, and you can choose to hide them completely or only see “important” updates — thus negating some of the less popular statuses they post. In addition, you can hide updates from annoying Facebook applications with something like the previously mentioned F.B. Purity userscript.
Google+: Wjglenn recommends using a Chrome extension like Plus Minus, which lets you choose which circles show up in your Google+ stream. That way, you can put the annoying people in their own circle and hide it whenever you like.
Get a Summary of All Your Networks
If Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are just starting to overload you anyway, reader Andrew recommends using a summarising service like previously mentioned Summify or previously mentioned Nushellmail. We’ll leave it to him to explain:
Nutshellmail gives me an hourly mail of everything that’s happened on Twitter, FB and Linkedin since the previous message. It cuts off at a given point which you can set, so you won’t get everything. But you don’t need to see every post. Status updates, replies, comments, likes, everything can be done through links in the email (which take you to their site).
Summify is more of a curation tool. Three times a day I get a summary of the top things people in my networks are talking about. The presentation is great, and generally I find the stories of interest. The only problem can be that Summify considers a story important if the same person posts it across multiple networks. So I always see all the Good Old Games news updates, for example, since I follow them on different networks.
Tell Your Friends to Shut Up (Nicely)
Lastly, if it’s a friend we’re talking about, you wouldn’t be out of bounds by telling them that they tweet too much. If they ask you why you unfollowed them, there are a number of different ways you can paint it to not be so harsh. For example:
“I like a lot of the stuff you say, but it kind of overflows my Twitter feed, and seems like you’re stuck cutting it down because of the character limits anyway. Why don’t you start a blog for that kind of stuff instead? I’d rather read it in a longer format, and you can always just set your blog to automatically tweet out new posts.”
“I had to unfollow you because my Facebook/Twitter/Google+ was getting kind of overloaded with your updates, which made it harder to keep up with other people. Everyone else kept getting pushed down to the bottom.”
It probably won’t bother them as much as you think — As someone who tweets a bit too much (who do you think inspired this post?), I’ve had friends tell me on one or two occasions that they unfollowed me for posting too often. Not only was I not offended, but I told them I’d try to tone it down and I’d let them know when it was safe to try following me again. Of course, your friends may vary, but you can’t go wrong with the “it was making it hard to keep up with others” angle — that way it sounds less like you find them annoying and more like they’re using the system the wrong way.
Got any of your own tips or tricks we haven’t listed here? Share them with us in the comments below.