Facebook lists are one of the great features of the site.
For those of us in the social media arena, it can be difficult to decide how to combine our private Facebook lives with our public Facebook lives. I debated between the two extremes of a more-honest-and-open totally private Facebook profile and a social-media-job-search-friendly totally open Facebook profile for a long time. I even tried keeping two separate profiles, one open and one private. This proved to be difficult and tricky, especially since the People You May Know feature kept suggesting that all my private life friends like my public profile.
How I used Facebook lists to protect my personal life
I have such a wide variety of online friends that I just couldn’t seem to make the two profiles mesh. On one side, I have my friends from childhood; people that I have met while living abroad; family friends; former college keg-stand-party buddies; and real life mom friends. On the other side, I have a group of good friends that I have never met in real life: moms with children the same age as my son and a wide-
variety of social media friends from every corner of the globe. The two groups couldn’t be more different and my private Facebook page, with its myriad of naked baby pictures of the proud mommy type, didn’t seem to be appropriate or safe to distribute to all these various people.
Running two separate profiles proved to be exhausting and illogical, so I eventually settled for a public Facebook profile with strict privacy settings on certain posts. Let me walk you through this quick setup and show you how I use lists in Facebook for online safety.
How to build Facebook lists
First, update your profile picture and main cover photo. For me that meant removing the photos of me and my son and replacing them with photos of me alone.
Next, select Public in the Default Privacy Section (pictured below).
Next, adjust your How You Connect settings. I want to meet new people, so I selected
that anyone can look me up by name. However, I don’t like receiving strange messages from random people, so here I’ve selected that only friends can send me messages.
Then, lock down whom you allow to post on your timeline. I learned this the hard way, after my husband sent me an email message stating: “I think something is wrong with your Facebook profile.” Indeed, when I went to check my page I found a person had posted semi-pornographic photos on my page and tagged me (thanks Bollywood Bugs). Below I have a screenshot with my current settings, which I’ve
tweaked a bit for my personal preferences.
Finally, create a Close Friends list and add only those friends that you want to see your most private posts. For me that means that this list consists only of friends that I want to see the pictures of my son’s tushie-in-the-bathtub-kind-of-posts.
How to use your Facebook lists
When I create a post on Facebook, I just have to remember to classify the post according to whom I want to see it (see below). Those tushie photos of my son are classified as Close Friends, general posts are Public and those that I feel are appropriate for friends only are classified as Friends.
This is a simple, but effective way to organize your Facebook profile to be all-inclusive (or at least give the appearance that it is) and give you the piece of mind that you need when sharing private information too.