Want Live Status Updates Back? Here’s How to Hack the New Facebook Design

facebookstatus1When Facebook launched the real-time-stream version of the news feed in March, some users liked it, but many said they didn’t. At the time, people said they preferred the former design, an automated news feed that showed you interesting but older items instead of a live stream.

So now the new Facebook news feed shows you the automated news feed, similar to the home page before the March design. But by this point, millions of users have apparently gotten so used to the the live stream of (mostly) status updates that they want it back again, judging from various news reports and Facebook protest groups. So here’s a couple tips for how to bring it back, more or less, in the new design.

facebookstatus2Before we get started, note that the new design does sort of include a live stream in the main news feed interface; you can just click on it it at the top center of the news feed home page to make it your default view. Note that this isn’t quite what the old feed was. That one contained mostly status updates, as other may other feed items, like photos, were moved into a “Highlights” section. Now, more items, including photos, are back in. The new version of the live feed also has another big change from before: There’s a default limit to 250 people in your live feed. More on tweaking that feature, further down.

Get those status updates back!

1. Go to your Facebook home page. In the left-hand column of friend lists and other feed filters, click on the “More” button. The full view of the column will open up.

2. Browse down the column until you see the “Status Updates” category. Click and hold on it, and drag it to the top of the page, above the “News Feed” category.

Facebook | Home3. You have now set your default home page to be these status updates

4. Also: As before, you can scroll to the bottom of the feed, click on “Edit Options” button, and select which people you don’t want to see in the feed.

What about the Live Feed?

Let’s say you like the new version of the live feed that Facebook rolled out on Friday. You like seeing all the other information about your friends in a raw, chronological stream, and you also like seeing the new information mixed in, like photos and who you’re friends just became friends with. But there’s a problem — if you have more than 250 friends on Facebook. The company has made it so that the live stream only shows you the 250 most “engaging” of your friends, it tells us. These are apparently the people who you already interact with the most frequently on the site. This limit is not a big deal for most users, as the average person has 130 friends on Facebook.

Facebook | Home-1

But let’s say you have 500 close friends on the site, and you want to keep close track of them in the live feed? Here’s how.

1. Make sure you’re on the news feed home page (not the “Status Update” home page if you followed the previous set of directions). Scroll to the bottom of the feed and click on “Edit Options.” You’ll see a window pop open that lets you do a few things.

2. At the bottom of the box, you’ll see a a “Number of Friends” section that shows you how many of your friends are currently appearing in your Live Feed. The default is 250, so if you want to up the number, type it in. You can go all the way up to Facebook’s friend limit: 5000 people.

3. On the top left-hand side of the box you’ll see a “Show More” feature. Select friends in this section to gurantee that everything they do will show up in your live feed. Otherwise, these friends may not automatically appear within the select number of friends that you chose in the previous step.

4. On the right-hand side of the window, you’ll see a list of the people you have at some point previously banished from your news feed. You can add or subtract people from that list.

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Leave a Reply

28 Responses to “Want Live Status Updates Back? Here’s How to Hack the New Facebook Design”

  1. Michal says:

    The problem is that this doesn’t fix the problem with Pages: now all their status updates/links etc. just don’t show up on the front page of every single user.

  2. Dave Nattriss says:

    Sorry but Facebook has never had just status updates as a live stream on the front page, so your instructions do not get anything ‘back’ that users previously had.

    If you only read status updates and nothing else you are going to have a pretty dull Facebook experience.

  3. Eric Eldon says:

    Dave, it was mostly status updates, as photos and most other stories were moved into Highlights. I added a little more detail to the story to make this clear.

    Your second point suggests you are not a huge fan of Twitter ;)

  4. Eric Eldon says:

    Michal, that is true. Just showing status updates will also preclude third-party app stories from showing up.

    How many people actually got so used to the old design that they want the full thing back? Perhaps the millions of new users that joined after the March redesign was introduced?

  5. Marc Delurgio says:

    News Feed: too little; Live Feed: too much

  6. Rob Bell says:

    Fantastic heads-up on the 250 person default limit for your live feeed, I wasn’t aware of it prior to this post. Getting news from all my pals once again, nice one.

  7. Dan Birdwhistell says:

    Eric Eldon has hidden (5) friends in his news feed. Click here to find out if you are one of them!

  8. Vitalijus Weax says:

    if you want to leave not only the status updates, switch to Live Feed and use this technique:
    http://weaxdesign.com/blog/2009/10/28/remove-is-attending-became-fan-joined-group-and-now-friends-messages-from-facebook/

  9. Shannon Clark says:

    The problem is I do NOT see the edit options window as described in this post. So though I have 550+ friends on Facebook I do not see ANY way to see updates from all of them.

    Instead all I see is a very very simple popup window which shows just my one hidden friend and an option to add PAGES to my news feed.

    Any thoughts as to why I don’t see this?

  10. Dane LaBonte says:

    @Shannon Clark, I have the same problem. I have numerous pages / applications hidden from my news feed, so when I click “edit options”, I see this screen: http://imgur.com/h302z.png

    If no one has a better idea, I’m going to unhide everything and everyone, then make the number change from 250 to 5000, then rehide everything.

    Does anyone have a better idea? I think it’s stupid that if you have some things hidden from your news feed, clicking the “edit options” button produces completely different results. Should be a different button or added tabs inside the same box or something.

  11. Lulu munoz says:

    Ok, I understand there are new users. First of all there is a big percent of users of Facebook who don’t like Twitter at all (let me know so I can work only with them, there is no use then to have Facebook). Facebook was great friendly user. For marketing purposes what you have done with the new News Feeds will not help on get to our targets. There are old users that do not know what happen with their sites, and don’t even know what are the live feeds. Some of the new users of facebook don’t even visit pages like this one to know the answer. If we get to the news feeds 1 or 2nd place we are lucky. I miss the highlights. The real time News feeds. I do not want facebook to determine if I only want to see who am i engage the more, I have more than 1000 friends. The big percent of users that you have don’t even want to be on facebook and what you have done have made us marketers look at other possibilities better than you. I am a real Fan of Facebook, but you have disappointed me as a user. You don’t even give an option on the page as you have done before in the past like If you want the old one or the new one. This has been terrible. I am really frustrated right now. The live or news feeds are not even chronological, and when i want to get my notifications live in order to do that I need to reload the page. The edit option don’t even show on my news feeds page.

    Some time changes can be good but this you where great before this.

  12. Eric Eldon says:

    Hi Shannon and Dane: you’ll need to switch to the “live feed” view of the home page, then scroll down and click on the “edit options” button.

    Vitalijus: I’ll check out the script.

    Dan: heh.

    Rob: thanks!

    Marc: what do you think is the right mix?

  13. Dane LaBonte says:

    @ Eric Eldon: Thank you. I was confused because even though the directions in the article are under the “What About the Live Feed” headline, the article says to make sure you’re on the “news feed home page”. I didn’t notice that there was a news feed tab (as opposed to the live feed tab) as well as a news feed sidebar option. Thanks again.

  14. Aprille says:

    so, if you followed the instructions at the beginning and made status updates default…is there a way to switch it back? someone was right…it’s on the boring side but now my news/live feed isn’t default and dragging it up is impossible. HELP!!!

  15. Aprille Donaldson says:

    so, if you followed the instructions at the beginning and made status updates default…is there a way to switch it back? someone was right…it’s on the boring side but now my news/live feed isn’t default and dragging it up is impossible. HELP!!!

  16. epool86 says:

    thanks for sharing the tips.. why facebook made our life dificult arrghhh!!! but at least with your tips now i found a solution to few of the problems. there are still few problem need to be solve.

    but one word say it all, bring back the old facebook and it will settle everything!

    thanks.

  17. Annie says:

    I have been using the Status Updates option, and I know I can hide people I don’t want to see – but is there a way I can SHOW people? I have just discovered that when I click on the ‘Status Updates’ tab, certain people don’t show up – like my husband and my sister!

    The only way I can see them is by clicking on my ‘family’ group, which shows the annoying Live Feed view, albeit only for that ‘group’.

    This also makes me wonder if I’m missing seeing photos from certain people in the ‘photos’ tab as well

  18. Interesting Web Updates in October 2009 | Registerpol says:

    [...] Facebook changed their social news feed (the status feed). If you have not noticed it, they switched the updates to the 250 people they think you want to hear from. If you’d like to switch it to all your friends, read this article about how to switch it. [...]

  19. Amy Arrant says:

    I don’t have an edit options choice even at the bottom of live news feed.

  20. Matthias Thorn says:

    Is there a way to make “Live Feed” default? Every time I click on it, that choice persists across a few sessions, but always, eventually flips back to “News Feed”.

  21. Leslie Smith says:

    I still don’t think this answers the question as to how to make live feed my default. If Facebook wants to make these changes great, but give us the option as to what we want to see on our page! Changing it to show just updated status’ doesn’t help me because I’m using the live feed for posts other than status messages. I play Mafia Wars and in order to benefit you and your friends post a lot. But everytime I go back to the home page I have to change back to Live feed just to see what’s being posted. I don’t want a way around the new Facebook…I want them to find a way to FIX the issue. At the very least a way to contact them so that we can tell them exactly what we feel about the new changes. It’s getting ridiculous!!

  22. Brandon says:

    Is there any way to make the LIVE FEED the default view when I hit HOME on FB?

    Right now, it goes to NEWS FEED.

    I can drag STATUS UPDATE up to the top, but that’s not as up-to-date as the LIVE FEED.

    Thanks for your insight!

  23. Sandra М. says:

    so many people are pointing that “highlights” were the best old-new FB offered, and not only here in comments – I’m talking about FB blog post comments and about dozens of groups made for purpose of having anyone from FB react and roll back to that. why is so hard to listen your own users?!
    I was never complaining about any change that was made, but this is just something I really don’t like at all. and I’m not speaking only in my name, but in the name of many friends: twitter is upgrading. FB is disintegrating.

  24. Dave Nattriss says:

    You cannot make live feed default – the idea is that when you first log in to the site, you are given the recent highlights (i.e. News Feed) so that you can catch up on things, then switch to the live feed when you’re done. Sandra, I don’t know what you’re complaining about – you now have the old highlights as the default view (now called ‘News feed’).

    I still can’t get ‘Edit options’ at the bottom of the page for ANY of my feeds. Anyone know why?

  25. Dave Nattriss says:

    Ah, I finally found it. If you hide a friend, then refresh the page, you now get the ‘Edit option’ at the bottom, which includes the box to change the number of friends you can see.

  26. Corey Taylor says:

    Now how the heck do I make Status Updates be the default on the 2010 new layout for the Facebook homepage?

    I’m SO lost on how / if we can change it to Status default-view.

    Someone help me out? Pleeeease.

  27. Liza says:

    I also am with Corey above. I would like the Status Updates to be my default feed, not News Feed. It is annoying to have to click on Friends, then Status Updates. Thanks for any help.

  28. Roy says:

    I agree, the new 2010 FB design seems to have eliminated the method described here, in that I can no longer drag the Status Updates to the top of the list to make it my FB “homepage”. Would like to find out how to make that work, if possible. BTW, I use IE, not interested in switching to Firefox and using it’s gadget for this.

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