I'll keep this one short. Imagine: You're on Facebook. (I mean, we're all on Facebook.)

You come across an interesting post. You'd like to continue to watch it as the discussion develops in the comments.

So, you type the word "following" in the comments, or else, "bump." (Maybe you've never done this yourself--but you've seen others doing it.) Regardless, there's a simple reason why nobody should ever do this--and fortunately, a simple solution.

Why you shouldn't type 'following' or 'bump'

Whatever it is, when people don't actually have something to contribute but want to keep track of the discussion, they sometimes enter a single word in the comments, assuming (incorrectly) that Facebook's algorithm will notify of every new comment.

'It could be a post friend about a personal topic, or a local group talking about a community issue--or looking for recommendations. Maybe it's breaking news about a political issue or a sports team.

However, adding a one-word comment virtually ensures that you'll fire off a notification to everyone who has actually followed the post correctly. That's annoying, unintended--and as it happens, totally unnecessary.

What you should do instead

The solution is very simple. However, I've been surprised to realize recently that many Facebook users don't realize this feature exists.

Instead of typing a random word in the comments to follow the development of a post, simply click the three dots that you see in the upper right corner of any post.

Then, simply click the option marked, "Turn on notifications for this post." (It works the same for both mobile and desktop environments.)

Alternatively, you can click "Save post" within that same drop down menu. The only caveat here is that you actually have to remember later to check your list of saved posts. The larger link that view will show the media that the post was about, but there is also a smaller link that will go to the original post itself.

An imperfect (but better) solution

By turning on notifications, you'll start getting notified when new comments and reactions are added.

Facebook's official guidance says that turning on notifications and adding a comment (or being tagged) has the same effect. However, we're all at the mercy of Facebook's news feed algorithm, and you won't be alerted to every new comment. However, anecdotally, turning on notifications seems to work more reliably.

Additionally, while Facebook doesn't allow you to save other people's posts to read later, you can always click on an old notification to find your way back to the post you want to monitor. (And, you won't also annoy everyone else who has turned on notifications with your one-word comments.)

So there you have it. Admittedly, not the biggest problem in the world. More of a pet peeve. But, it's a bad habit that takes only seconds to fix. And, if you're tempted to call it a First World Problem, hold on--half of Facebook's users are now outside the First World--and they probably don't like it anymore than you do.

Published on: Sep 25, 2017
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