Two new updates to Facebook's activity streams rolled out last week: One, a much-requested feature that lets you hide your recent activity from your friends; and the other, an easier way to tag friends in a status update. Here's what you need to know about both.
How to Hide Your Recent Activity
On your Facebook profile are updates that describe your latest activity. These can include snippets from a post you made on your friend's wall or photo, brands that you've liked or names of individuals you've recently befriended.
If you'd like your recent activity to be kept private or to simply tidy up your Wall, Facebook has integrated a way to prevent these updates from appearing. Note, though, that as your settings currently stand, your activity can only be seen by others if you have that friend in common. For example, if you write on John's wall, Mary will only be able to see the update on your wall if she is also friends with John.
There are two ways you can hide posts. To hide select posts, such as a particular comment you left on a friend's wall or a comment on a friend's photo, hover above the post until the X button appears. Click on it and select "Remove Post" to delete that individual post from your feed.
However, if, for example, you want to hide all posts displaying wall conversations, choose "Hide all Wall post activity." A pop-up window will appear confirming that you no longer want these posts to appear in the recent activity section of your wall. You can do this for all other activities, too, including friend confirmations, photo comments and items you have liked.
[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]
If you ever want to bring back any of the actions you have hid, do this by scrolling to the bottom of your profile and click "Edit Options."
Here, you can view which stories you've hidden. By clicking on the X next to an item, you can remove it from the list so that those stories reappear in your activity feed.
How to Shorten Status Tags
If you have five friends with the first name "John" but only interact with one of them regularly, one of Facebook's newest upgrades helps simplify tagging in status updates. Instead of typing the whole name of the person you want to tag, you can change the length of the tag.
There are two new updates to the tagging feature. First, instead of using the @ symbol to tag a person, you only need to begin typing the person's first name with capital letter. Facebook will recognize who you're typing, and you can select the specific person from the list.
Second, Facebook now lets users shorten the name of the person you're tagging, such as only using a first name. To do this, begin typing the person's name, select your friend, and once it's highlighted in blue, hit the backspace button. This will begin deleting the person's last name—handy if you're tagging a couple with the same last name.
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org