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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do you REALLY want to jump the facebook ship for Google+? Actually, you might.

   Tired of change, and lists, and the ticker that facebook threw on you at once? Ready to go to Google+? You may be, just make sure you do it the right way.

Get used to lists.

   People mention facebook taking a cue from Google+, in that lists have become more dominant. Many people's frustration with facebook is not controlling who sees what. This is more obvious now, but it has always been an issue. It's just plain responsible, when you are in a few social circles, to separate groups of people. They don't all want to see your game posts. Maybe you don't want your creepy ex looking at pictures of your kids. Learn to use lists. Take control. Google+  makes that EASY. If I try to tell you how easy, it'll sound harder than it is. Try it in facebook. Sometimes control is all you need to feel bette.r

Don't admit defeat.

    Take a little time and sample the new features given to you. You may like some of them. You may not. No matter where you go on the internet, new features are an inevitability.

Change your browser.

    You don't even have to change. Download Firefox, install it, and when it asks to make it your default browser, say "no". Use it only when you want. Get used to it. IE is notorious for bugs and security flaws. That can ruin your experience anywhere.

Drop your toolbars.

    A toolbar is one of the worst things you can do to your browser. No matter where it's from, it intercepts code, tracks your browsing history, and steals money from sites you like.  Visiting a nonprofit that relies on advertising revenue? Not from you. Toolbars will take an advertising banner, and replace it with one of their own, on the page, without your knowledge. That .02 per click going to "Save Kids from Evil Clowns" is now going to the people who made your toolbar. Not to mention, there's nothing from keeping any toolbar from storing your passwords to sites you use, and spamming your friends.

Bottom Line:

    If you're not tech savvy, sudden change in unfamiliar territory is daunting. Take a look at your TV remote. Think of going back in time 20 years, showing it to your past self, and saying "This is what we'll need to watch TV.". Then tell yourself you can do anything. If you have a complaint or suggestion, use the site's "Send Feedback" link. Try Google+, but realize change will come there, too. Having all the control you can is important online. 

But you can do anything.

The New facebook. It's not as bad as you feared, but not as good as you'd hoped.

  We all use facebook. At least, enough of us use it so I can more or less safely assume that you use it. In the name of innovation, FB has updated some features, the layout, and it's confusing as hell if you're not prepared. Most people use it for a quick game or to check on people at a distance. There's nothing wrong with that. You just need a geek pal (like me) to help you when it gets too technical for your taste, or time contraints.

Ticked by the ticker?

  This is probably the single biggest source of complaints and fear. It posts EVERYTHING! How do I keep it from telling everyone everything I do? The simple answer: If you don't want people to see it, don't put it on facebook. 
    I'm not being as hearless as I may sound. The ticker updates anything you'd normally see on a friend's page. There's nothing new or scary about what's going on in the corner, so breathe a little easier. If someone wants to see what goes on in the ticker, all they ever would have had to do is click on your name.
    That being said, how do I rid myself of this new thing?

    1.) The easiest way - shrink it.
      There is a seperator bar at the bottom of the ticker that blends in so nice, you hardly know it's there. Click it, drag it up, shrink your ticker to ALMOST nothing. It's not perfect, but it may be enough for you.
The little bar can be slid up so as to make it ALMOST go away.

    2.) Plugins are your friends.
      Go to They make their plugin for Chrome as well as Firefox. I don't think Internet Explorer will allow it, however. Yet another reason to make the plunge! As of the writing of this, the newest version of Firefox is the fastest, most stable, and most lightweight browser - not to mention secure. Anyone who reads their windows updates will be bombarded by updates for IE that says "fixes a bug which could allow an intruder remote access to your computer." - ALL THE TIME. Ditch it!

      FBPurity will (once you refresh your newsfeed) allow you to completely remove elements from your facebook view. Suggested friends, pages, even the TICKER. Ooooooh.

But it's a clutterf$@!k! (see that pun?)

    This may be the simplest, yet most involved fix. Change your browser. Google Chrome(tm) users will notice a lot more clutter in the center of the screen, the old chat thumbnails on the left in addition to the chat sidebar on the right. I was so very confused when I woke up to facebook ablaze with comments about how different, and how messy the new look was. I didn't see it. I use Firefox.

A friend of mine had an open debate with me - something other than "It's new, it sucks" that I try and drown out. I got to thinking Chrome uses a different Java(tm) engine. I checked. I almost threw up in my mouth a little.

This is what Chrome showed me:
It's safe to click if you want to see it bigger.

This is what I had been browsing, nonchalantly, in Firefox:
Click. Make it bigger. Compare.

If you make the leap from Chrome to Firefox, but don't want to sacrifice the comfort of Chrome, take a look here. A small upfront time investment, you have CONTROL over your browsing. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

By the way, if you're make the leap from Internet Explorer to Firefox, and don't want to panic, go here.

Take a tip from Santa. Make a list, check it twice.

    This may seem like a daunting task to the uninitiated. It's not that bad, and it gives you the privacy control you so greatly want, and deserve. 

    This is something you should do if you have a lot of friends in any case. You can control who sees what. Even in the ticker. If you don't already deal with lists, there is a LIST section on your left-hand column now, with some suggested, pre-made lists. Play with those later. Click the "MORE" that comes up when you move the mouse over the word LISTS. You can create a new list by clicking the button I pointed to.

A window will pop up asking you to give the list a name. Whatever you want. Then, a screen to select your friends for this list. Select, for now, the people you want updated every time you do something. That's it. you have a list. You can go back to the lists menu and change it anytime. Ooooh, power. Are you dizzy with it yet? Just wait.

NOW, on the top blue bar, by your name, and home, there's a little down arrow. Click it. Select "Privacy Options". You will be brought here:
Magic. It really is.
We are changing your default posting preferences here. Click the dot under "Custom", select your list, and then, unless you say otherwise, those people will be the only ones who see what you do, even on their ticker.

   You are welcome.


  Change, especially in the digital age, is inevitable. It's how we progress. We don't have to like every single change, though. We do what we can with what we have, and I'll share anything I can to make things easier on you.

    It's why I'm here.