A better Facebook?

Social media, and the marketing benefits that can come with it, are all the rage. If you need convincing, count the number of television, newspaper, or magazine ads that appear these days that do not reference their Facebook or Twitter pages. (Counting the number without reference will be far easier than counting those that do.) Learning to use these tools to your advantage, and to the advantage of your business, can be a full-time job, but luckily developers around the world are plugging in to the applications and creating tools that make effective management much easier. Better Facebook is just one of those solutions.

Better Facebook is a free user script that plugs into your browser of choice adding enhancements and can’t-live-without features to your existing Facebook account. It could not be easier to install and it supports all of the most-popular browsers. (While I did say free, keep in mind that most developers are enabled to keep their products up to date and enhanced through the receipt of donations. If you like this script, be sure to use the most important feature: click to donate to Better Facebook.)

Once installed, Better Facebook provides you better, easier control over Facebook features, but more importantly, provides you a host of new options. For those of you who post to Facebook regularly (I’m thinking of you, Jeanie), you’ll wonder how you’ve managed without it thus far. Better Facebook has handily gathered all of the most-popular features in the first pane of the dialogue box, but don’t miss an opportunity to shuffle through and try out the other options.

Launch the preferences window by clicking the Better Facebook options link in the menu bar and then cruise through the settings.

75 new features

There are more than 75 individual Facebook-control options in Better Facebook, including:

  • Tabbed News Feeds — Organize your posts by moving them to tabbed groups. This type of classification means that you can set aside reading material for the train or afternoon log-in.
  • Advanced Feed Filters — When you want full control over visible posts, use Feed Filters to define rules that move stories to separate tabs. This enables you to logically group the posts.
  • Hide Posts You’ve Already Read — When you’re Ms. Popularity, you probably have more feeds that you can possibly manage in a day, making for a long-scrolling list. If you’re logging in throughout the day, you need to try to find where you’ve left off. With Better Facebook, hide your read feeds. Don’t worry, though, it’s just hide, not delete.
  • Highlight New Comments — When you have a hidden post with a new comment, Better Facebook automatically unhides the feed so that you can keep up on late-breaking developments.
  • Static Header And Left Column — Set the top header and/or the left-navigation column to sticky so each is always visible as the page is scrolled.
  • Quick Links — For easy access to your pages, events, groups, apps, and friends, use the left-navigation panel to display links to all the pages you like, upcoming events, groups of which you are a member, favorite apps, and all your friends. Optionally, you may hide items.
  • Notification Of Un-Friends — Facebook does not provide notification when you have been unfriended, but with Better Facebook, you’ll receive automatic notifications and links to their profile page.
  • Show Group Activity — Using the Group Activity panel, you’ll receive automatic updates about the goings on in your groups of which you are a members.
  • Show Friend Activity — Keep up with profiled changes of your friends with a panel that conveniently displays all changes.
  • Expand Similar Posts — For Facebook gamers that were unhappy when Facebook created expand similar post, Better Facebook provides the option to automatically expand these links and, optionally, list the posts in chronological order.
  • Character Counter In Status Updates — A character counter provides you a dynamic character counter that lets you know you’re approaching the limit before publishing.
  • Enhanced Left-Column Navigation — Definable links can be added to the left-navigation bar and for messages, events, photos, and friends sections, you have the option to expand them as well.
  • Automatically Retrieve Older Posts — Provides an older posts link that will display earlier posts that have been hidden.
  • Pin Notifications — Optionally pins a notifications window to the right side of your Facebook display.
  • Custom CSS/Skins — For the HTML-savvy user, link to an external CSS file to achieve a completely custom display.
  • Reclaim Privacy — An automatic check of your privacy settings to ensure your private information remains private.
  • Hide Email Address Update Notification — Due to Facebook’s status as a blacklisted site, many users are continually annoyed by a please update your email address warning. With Better Facebook this warning is permanently hidden.
  • Feed Filters — Evaluation and application of rules to feeds. This enables easy grouping, sorting, and more. If a filter rule matches a post, then the action is applied to the post.
    • Author
    • Type
    • Application
    • Other
    • Action
      • Minimize
      • Apply CSS Class
      • Move to Tab
      • Stop processing rules
    • Other Options
    • Automatically move known App posts to tab

Facebook has left a number of other social-media sites in its wake due in part to serious developers such as Matt Krause expending a great degree of effort toward taming the application and turning it into a serious tool. Better Facebook will create a more user-friendly environment for every type of user, but the more dedicated the user, the more these tools will be appreciated.