Sunday, February 1, 2015

Find Anything In Your Facebook Timeline

5 Tools To Help You Find Anything In Your Facebook Timeline

By Aaron Couch
Where is that post I shared on Facebook?! Sound familiar?
You want to show something you posted to someone in person and can’t seem to find it anywhere. Or maybe there was something a friend posted, or something you liked or commented on. No matter what it is and why you need to find it, this is a notorious problem people have on Facebook. What many don’t realize is there’s a far better alternative than endlessly scrolling down your or a friend’s Timeline.

Native Facebook Features & Tips

Before allowing an app to access your Facebook, try experimenting with Facebook’s own features. If you are scrolling down your Timeline, you should know that by default Facebook doesn’t display every post by you or your friends. Even if you click the specific year to the top right, you’re only going to see the Highlights. In order to see all posts from that year, click the “down arrow” to the right of Highlights and click “All Stories”. Refer to the image below.
1 Facebook Timeline - All Stories
This is a great time to briefly mention about Facebook privacy settings. Upon searching old posts, you may find some you no longer want to be public or visible to friends of friends (and I guarantee you will find posts you want to delete completely). To limit all past posts to only viewable by friends, click the dropdown menu in the top bar.
2 Facebook Privacy - Limit Old Posts
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Then follow: Settings > Privacy (left sidebar) > Who can see my stuff? > Limit Past Posts, and click the Limit Old Posts button.
For more tips and help on exploring and understanding Facebook’s Privacy Settings, I recommend learning about Facebook’s Privacy Check-up Tool.

Graph Search

3 Facebook Graph Search
I am often surprised at how few people still don’t know about or use Graph Search, but I guess that’s what makes it one of the best “hidden” Facebook tricks. It was a fantastic feature added to Facebook in 2013 and continues to impress me based on what it can find.
3.2 Facebook Graph Search - Friends posts
You can do a search as simple as “my posts” or a more detailed search like “my posts about _____”. You can also search posts from your friends to your Timeline or posts on your Friends’ Timelines.

Activity Log

5 Facebook Timeline - View Activity Log
The Activity Log is another place you can search for posts. It offers several options to search: your posts, posts you’re tagged in, posts by others, posts you’ve hidden, photos on your Timeline, photos of you, all your photos, and all posts that you’ve liked and commented on. You can access this from your Facebook Timeline or this URL:
5.2 Facebook - All Activity - Search Posts

Facebook Apps & Websites


QSearch is an app that very quickly pulls any posts on your Timeline pertaining to your search results. You can then filter them by status, photo or link. This displays not only your own posts, but any posts from your friends as well.
6.2 QSearch - Search Posts
In addition to searching your own Timeline, you can also use it to search your friend’s Timelines, groups you’re a part of and pages you follow.
6.3 QSearch - Home

Search My Posts

Search My Posts is an app with less functionality than QSearch, but still allows you to find your posts to your Timeline based on a keyword search. You can also filter by videos, music, images and links. In my experience, not all results loaded at once and they did take a little time, but I still found what I was looking for.
7 Search My Posts


Archivedbook is a website that you connect to Facebook to view all your old posts, but it can find far more than that. You can also see all of your friends’ posts. Seen in the image above, you have several options on sorting what to display: your posts and statuses, posts by others to your Timeline, photos, videos, places, pages, notes and events. You can also sort how the results are displayed by clicking the dropdown menu to the far right and choosing whether to display newer or older items first, or by posts most liked or commented on.
8 Archivedbook - Searching
The only downside to Archivedbook is it doesn’t store the loaded posts at all. That might sound like a good thing, but when you click on any other option (aside from the far right dropdown menu at the top), it has to completely reload the entire list. It also would be nice if you could set a specific time frame to display posts in.
TIP: To search for a post, just use the shortcut CTRL + F.

Which Method Do You Use?

My recommendation would be to first try to get by without connecting a website or app to your account and use Graph Search or searching the Activity Log – just my personal preference.
However, QSearch is a great tool for finding things quickly, and it has some sorting options too. Search My Posts would be good for narrowing down results to onlyyour posts (not a feature that is in QSearch), but be prepared to wait just a bit longer for the results to load. Using Archivedbook is great, but you’ll have plenty of time to go grab a snack in the kitchen while you wait for the results to load.
How do you find old posts on Facebook? What do you think of these options? If you have any personal experience with them, we’d like to hear about it in the comments.

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