Chapter 5. Exchanging Automatic Updates

Remember what keeping up with your friends used to require? Time-consuming emails (“Sorry it’s been so long…”), potentially intrusive instant messages (“hello? u there?”), even the occasional in-person visit. Not anymore: Thanks to Facebook’s easy-to-activate broadcast and subscription tools, staying in touch is easier than ever. Subscriptions and notifications, for example, alert you when, say, your best friend uploads a new picture, your softball coach gets off work, or your study buddy posts his analysis of Macbeth. This chapter shows you how to sign up for and tweak these handy updates.

Types of Updates

Facebook offers four different ways you can get details about your friends’ activities. Three (News Feeds, Mini Feeds, and notifications) appear automatically—on your Home page, your profile, and in your notification inbox, respectively.


Although the News Feed, Mini Feed, and notifications are all hard-wired into your account, Facebook lets you customize the details you see in all three. Read on for details.

If you prefer to keep up with your pals without even having to log into Facebook, you can sign up for customized web feeds called subscriptions. The following sections explain all these options.


Facebook offers one other kind of automatic update: It tells you when friends’ birthdays are coming up. At the top of any Facebook screen, click the Account link and then click Account Settings. On the page that appears, click the Notifications ...

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