Exploring Settings

2 Jan

An occupational therapist who had worked as a freelancer specializing in corporate consulting once told me that the phrase she heard the most was “It adjusts?!” in a tone of incredulous surprise. She was a workmen’s comp and disability prevention strategy. CEOs would have her in to improve the working conditions for their employees expecting to be told to buy all new, customized office chairs with ergonomic keyboards and lattes attached. However, most of the time what the employees had was more than adequate if they had only explored its full range of features. In other words, she taught a lot of people how to change the height of their chair.

To turn occupational therapy into social media let me ask you

Have you explored every settings tab in every service you use?

I’m not going to walk you through every settings ever. Instead let’s focus on notifications on social media and how knowing a full-range of features can improve your experience.

A brother who shall remain anonymous missed an important email from me simply because he wasn’t checking his email, a confession pulled from him with many questions. With further probing I found out that he found his email overwhelming because there were so many notifications from Facebook. He didn’t know he even could change his notification settings. He basically said ‘It adjusts?!’

Did you know you could change notification settings for

  • specific apps
  • certain games
  • select groups
  • prioritize notifications from friends
  • Receive notifications via email or text
  • Have different settings on the web than in your mobile app

I’m not sure where I should put the question mark for the above list. How about here?

Also, let’s insert a funny comic about how social media constantly abuses our egos.


Here’s some basic road map directions if any of the above bullets were a mystery to you.

From any page on Facebook click the drop down menu on ‘Account’ in the top right corner. 3rd link is ‘Account settings’. Stare at the ‘General Account Settings’ page that it brought you to for a bit and see if you recognize anything. Then remember that’s not what you came for and click on ‘Notifications’, the 3rd link in the left hand menu. Scroll past ‘Recent notifications’ to ‘All Notifications’. Click on a feature/application to expand what kind of notifications it sends you and edit to your heart’s content. Remember that even if you don’t receive an email notification you will still be notified of that action when you log into Facebook. In other words, your little red number will still count notifications the same.

My brother is just a personal user of social media. For business users I recommend a two-step approach to notifications.

  1. Receive email notifications about everything on every platform you use.
  2. Explore Gmail settings.

You don’t use Gmail? What’s wrong with you? You’ll get your own blog post later.

I'll show you!

I use notifications as record keeping. It’s a more constant service which makes it way better than trying to keep track of backing up all of my different social platforms who are all different pages when it comes to takeout options, server storage times, and rate-of-change of settings. Record keeping for you may not be as important as it is for someone like me who does it as a business, but it can’ t hurt.

So, how do I not drown in email every day? I use three Gmail tools–filters, search, and priority inbox.

Search is what first sold me on Gmail way back when I had a funky anonymous email handle like ‘TexasBlondie’. If you’re on the phone with Larry and need to refer your email conversations with him, don’t try to sift through your social media notifications to find it! That would be like hollering for someone in the crowded stadium instead of just calling their cell. Search for his email or the subject line!

Filters are way to have your email presorted and labelled. Open any notification email and on the right hand side click the magical drop down menu button ‘More’ (what an exciting word! More!) and click ‘Filter emails like this’. I won’t walk you through every step as Gmail is user-friendly, but I will give two tips. For notifications, check the box ‘Never mark as important’.  Also remember that notifications come from weird email addresses so using your ‘subject line’ and ‘contains the words’ options will probably be more effective.

Finally, train your priority inbox.

We hope it's a nice learning robot, not like Omnidroid

Priority inbox is customized to each user. If you don’t teach it as you go it won’t be useful to you. Filters are the best for teaching it big principles–never mark Facebook as important, always put sweethubby@gmail.com in priority box, etc.. For small tweaks use the yellow plus and minus signs inside each email. Kristen Lemons has a great explanation of this.

One last piece of advice. Before diving into setting set up emergency protocols. Have a friend come check on you in a few hours. Always tell someone you’re going in! Users have been known to get lost and never come back out! Of course, the more knowledgeable you are of settings the less dangerous it is. So stay updated!



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