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Facebook is more than just a tool to stay in touch with friends or waste time. Sometimes people post valuable information that you may want to refer to later. So how do you find an old post on Facebook, if you barely remember the content, let alone who posted it or where? Facebook doesn’t exactly make this convenient.
While there are several ways to find stuff on Facebook, they are all but comprehensive or reliable. This situation also forces you to spend even more time on Facebook, increasing the likelihood that you will get distracted. One way to increase your chances of finding something and thus waste less time, is to enable Facebook email notifications. As I explore the benefits of email notifications, I will also show you other ways to search Facebook.
Why Would I Need Facebook Email Notifications?
Facebook Email Notifications are useful for two main reasons. First, you can read updates without visiting Facebook. Second, you are creating a searchable archive of those posts.
Facebook is an incredible time sink. It’s tough not to scroll down your News Feed or view the notifications that have accumulated since your last visit. The best thing you can do to escape this drift is to visit Facebook less. Email notifications allow you to do that and at least partially fight your FOMO (fear of missing out) because you will receive notifications of important posts and events.
At some point in the past Facebook retired its old Wall and Timeline search option. Recently, Graph Search was introduced, but it doesn’t really search posts on your Timeline or News Feed. So when you want to find a post or a comment in which you were mentioned, you have to manually search Facebook, for example by expanding the relevant time frame in your News Feed and using your browser’s search feature. If you have Facebook email notifications enabled, however, you can simply use your email client’s search tool. With Gmail’s filter and search features, this is super convenient.
Alternatively, you could download your Facebook archive and search it. However, it can take several hours before your archive is ready for download. It also gets outdated the next day, and it doesn’t contain group posts.
Presently, it’s possible to search within groups. However, it’s unpredictable which features Facebook will remove or otherwise alter. So if you rely on the group search option, it’s better to be on the safe side and also collect group posts via Facebook email notifications.
How Can I Enable Facebook Email Notifications?
Facebook offers a range of ways to receive Notifications in the respective section under Account Settings. Besides email notifications, you can enable visual and audio notifications on Facebook, push notifications, and text messages.
For email notifications you have two options:
- All notifications, except the ones you unsubscribe from
- Only notifications about your account, security and privacy
You can unsubscribe from:
- Friend confirmations
- Friend suggestions
- Friends added based on your suggestions
Once you have enabled email notifications and made a choice what to unsubscribe from, note that you can further customize email notifications under the What You Get Notified About header.
Particularly interesting are notifications that concern activities of close friends and groups you are a member of. Note that you cannot opt out of activities that involve you, for example when someone comments on a post of yours.
Won’t These Notifications Clog Up My Inbox?
No, because you know that they are coming and you will take care of them in advance. What you need to do is set up an email filter. Your email client should allow you to automatically mark the notifications as read, make them bypass your inbox, and sort them to a separate label or folder. We have previously outlined how to set up email filters in Gmail, Yahoo, and Thunderbird.
Facebook email notifications can be set up in a way that doesn’t bother you, and generally can be very useful. They can serve as a partial archive, become a valuable resource when searching for information, and by allowing you to avoid Facebook they might even save you time.
If you are still not finding what you are looking for, you can try external services like SocialSearching. From my own experience I must report that they are slow and unreliable, but maybe you are more lucky.
Do you know of a better way to find things on Facebook? Please share!