Facebook defines the news feed as “an ongoing list of updates on your homepage that shows you what’s new with the friends and pages you follow.”
The news feed shows the typical person a reverse chronological hodgepodge of baby photos, cat photos, opinions, links, videos, and other stuff that your friends share on their walls. The feed also shows updates from brand pages after you click like.
By default, you follow your friends. I am probably in the minority of Facebook users in that I rarely follow my friends. Rather, I unfollow them and add people to lists (and you can see the above chart for a breakdown).
I visit the lists to see what people are talking about.
If I want to know what people are talking about in the 1st Essex District, where I am campaigning to be State Representative, I visit 504 friends in a district list.
If I want to know what people are talking about in the greater Boston region, in an approximate 2-hour radius, I visit 519 people in that list.
If I want to know what people are talking about in the rest of the country and world, I visit 147 people in that list.
My 55 family members (blood relatives and their boyfriends, girlfriends, step kids, etc.) are in their own list; and may be duplicated in the other lists.
I also maintain a list of close friends and family when I want to see everything they post; and I get notified each time.
You don’t have to unfollow someone to add the person to a list. But, I do. I visit the person’s homepage or mouseover their name and I see an option box to unfollow.
I unfollow because I don’t want to see everything. I’ll see it all in the lists. But when I log into Facebook, I want to see specific people who generally post the things that matter most to me.