11 August 2009

Save More Time With Facebook - Open in Tab

One of my Facebook activities is checking out the other groups for Newtown High School. I would search for the phrase "Newtown High School" and end up with a long list. It turns out the Newtown H.S. in Elmhurst, NY is not the only Newtown H.S. out there. There's one in Sydney, Australia, then one somewhere in Pennsylvania, and one in the New York metro area, up north in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. From the list the search return, I would go to those groups and see if there's anything good to learn about my old school. Some groups have pictures of articles from the school newspapers, others pictures of the school or the surrounding area. I sure regret throwing away my little collection of the school newspapers when I moved back in 1999. How would I know then that 10 years later I would scramble through my worldly possession looking for anything Newtown-related?

Back with the search list. If I simply click on a link to a group, the group page would open up in the same browser window. I may wander from there and before I realized it, I would be far from the lsearch list. I can use the browser's Back button to trace my way back, or the History list in the browser, but both methods are tedious. The better way would be to use the browser's support of tabs. Instead of just clicking a link, on my Mac, I would first hold down the ctrl key. As I click the link, I have the option to open the link in a new tab or new window, along with other options irrelevant to this post. In the new tab, I can wander on and on and when done I can just close that tab and return to the search list and explore the next group. For the Windows crowd, I think the right mouse button does the job of showing "open in new tab".

There you have it. With all that time saved, you can spend more time in Mafia Wars or whatever silly Facebook game you are addicted to.

03 August 2009

Save Time With Facebook

"Save time with Facebook", is that not an oxymoron? Facebook is a time sink, you don't save any time when you log into it. A more apt title would be "Waste less time with Facebook" but there is no joy in uttering that.

One thing that Facebook users do is to join groups. There is probably a group for everything imaginable. I had my own share of going wild with Facebook groups. Before I knew it, I belong to a few too many.

Navigating FB can be an inefficient use of time. Even with the Groups app already bookmarked within the FB environment, i.e. sitting on the Applications bar in the lower left corner, getting to a group you belong to can take too many clicks. You use one click to open thee Groups application. Instead of seeing only the groups you belong to, the screen is divided into two columns, the left column showing groups your friends joined or had activities in then some groups you belong to on the right. FB sorts groups by level of activities instead of alphabetical, so unless the group you want to get to has some recent activities it will take more than one click to get to it. You may end up needing to click See All to list all your groups. Again, the list is sorted by recent updates, so knowing the name of your group will not help you too much. You may need to go to page two, or to order the list by names - more mouse clicks.

The best way to get to groups quickly, AFAIK, is to bookmark them with your browser. Not just any plain bookmark, but bookmarks on the bookmark bar. As shown in the screenshot, I have many groups related to Newtown High School in Elmhurst neatly group into the Newtown folder on the bookmark bar. I have to invest a little time organizing the list, but now I can quickly jump to a class year with just two clicks - one to pull down the list then the second one to select the year. I am not even a member of most of those groups, so this is something you cannot even do with the Groups application. As exotic as FB may appear, what with the many apps and notifications, in the end you still use FB mostly via a web browser. Web browsers and bookmarks go hand in hand way back and bookmarks are still very useful today.