Each Facebook change makes a cherub cry

Facebook has always been an evolving creature.

Based on the comments I read each time there is a change, I think that Mr. Z’s team just does whatever they like.  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m quite sure there is a reason to the madness, most probably lining somebody’s wallet.   Or at least that’s their intention… [Read more…]

How I use Facebook filtering tools and you can too

Facebook filtering is becoming a necessary evil these days.  Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and random people have increasing interest in expanding their networks, and a one-update-fits-all strategy doesn’t fit with the reality of such a diverse audience.

As an affirmation that I am getting older, my nephew recently asked me to filter him from seeing my photos.  It turns out that even your family doesn’t want to see every picture you post online (I fall squarely in the over-sharer category so it’s somewhat understandable).

It occurred to me that I haven’t been as good about filtering as I should, but Facebook filtering takes a lot of work.  Here are a few strategies that you can implement to make sure your Facebook updates are audience appropriate.

Facebook filtering tip #1 – Abstinence

Facebook filtering is irrelevant if you don’t post anything on Facebook.  Of course this isn’t very realistic but a proportion of the online universe still takes an abstinence-only approach.

Facebook filtering tip #2 – Take your profile out of the public sphere

We can make our page public or private.  Super simple.  Especially for parents that don’t want random weirdos to know personal things about you or your kids, I feel like this is essential.  Facebook calls this your “default privacy” and you can change it here.

Facebook filtering tip #3 – Let people subscribe to your updates

You can post a limited version of your profile for public consumption. Say for instance you are out with a bunch of close friends and decide to moon the car next to you on the highway. That experience is shared between you and your friends provided they aren’t gossipy.  Share it on Facebook, and everyone will know about it.  Share it with your close friends and you only have to worry about the wierdos in their network finding out.  Maybe not the best example.

In any case, if you want a public persona respective of the details of your life you can enable that here.

Facebook filtering tip #5 – Lists

Lists are a great tool to segment your audience (somewhat similar to Google Plus circles).  The similarity to G Plus is that it takes a lot of time to manage.

Facebook Filtering with lists

For people that are committed to managing segments of their audience differently – this is a very effective tool.

Graduate-level Facebook Filtering: The block

The blocking function is the perfect Facebook filtering choice if you sometimes regret your choices in people.  It’s the eraser on life.  In “general things” (under settings and privacy settings), you can block individuals from everything or you can block them from parts of your page.

I love blocking people and have and love to show people how to do it and when to use it.

Type of an individual’s name and selecting them under the privacy settings -> block individuals, you can erase them from your facebook life.  You can also block people, apps, and a litany of other things here.

Isn’t that just amazing? Everything you posted with them or included them will most likely exist but they become “facebook user” with no face.  The best part is you can talk about them and you can have conversations with others and they won’t see it.  It’s like you and them are invisible.  When you unblock them everything reappears like a magic marker.

But when should I use the nuclear option?

This oh so powerful function should only be reserved for certain individuals, but who?  I’m hoping that I can help with your decision to block wisely by giving you questions to ponder.

The family member: Do you want them to know you have facebook?  Would you really want to talk to them in real life? (I know blood is thicker than water but many people hate their blood) Would you want them in your business every two minutes, making snide comments to insult you about your weight, the way you look, your intelligence or the way you raise your children or run your life?

The “Friend”: You were once a friends but you realize they didn’t invite you to their birthday party or was secretly messaging your SO on facebook. Do you want to erase them forever? Wait but then you can unerase them. Do you want to make a point and make them feel like they are missing stalking your page?  But be aware people block, unblock so much that facebook makes you wait 24 hours before you can block again.  Why would you want to unblock this hated friend? Well, you are so curious, you need to know if they lost 10 pounds, met a super model and won the lottery.  You just have to be able to “stalk” this friend. This was a trick question – don’t block a frenemy.

The Ex: Do you want this ex to know what’s going on with you?  This is tricky: part of you wants to make it look like you have move on, you start posting hot pictures or yourself.  You start posting pictures of random men/women you are around.  At the same time, you want to know too by stalking their page. But this is difficult because once you block them, you can’t see anything and they can’t see your fictional friends to make them jealous.  A hard decision indeed.

The crazies: That should be obvious, if they are crazy: block block. You don’t want them showing up anywhere or sending you messages (they are crazy after all).

The Co-workers, employers etc: I use to think there is a separation between personal life and professional but others sometimes do not separate these things.  It’s like joking about a bomb to a TSA agent when you are out drinking with them only to have them pin you to the ground.  Co-workers that don’t earn a very restricted filter get a block.

In general the block function is very difficult to decide on, once you block them, you are also automatically unfriended as well and this means you can’t even spy if their privacy settings are for friends only.  Speaking for myself, I just want to be able to spy on you – so this is not an option that I take lightly.

There are myriad options for Facebook filtering.  How you should use them depends upon how you use Facebook and the resources you want to devote to your privacy.

How everything I post on Facebook is the truth, honest!

I started using Facebook with the hope to connect with people I can’t talk to regularly.  It’s my version of being social without having to meet anyone.  I quickly found that Facebook was a great tool for weirdos to find me, save my photos and to pretend my photo was watching them as they play World of Warcraft (or other games).

It got weird.  It got invasive.  People even created profiles of me and harassed my friends and family.  Yet I’m still an addict.

So why do we (I) keep thousands of Facebook friends?  I don’t have that many friends in real life.  I find that the beautiful photo of the girl is oftentimes a very flattering representation of her five years ago.  Not so shockingly, people have a tendency to embellish the truth.  It’s easier to pretend to be someone else from behind a computer screen then it is in person.  Yet there’s something kind of special about keeping these connections, despite their idiosyncrasies.

I find some people are sharers.  They are probably this way in real life, too – except that the poor person that they corner at a party to spill their divorce details to and lament the time they didn’t follow their whim and go to Vegas with their book club is less likely to do anything with that than Facebook “friends.”  Oversharers exist because Facebookers are by and large a tolerant (or apathetic) lot.  But some of you are mean… cruel even.  And shame on you – she just wanted to let loose in Vegas after reading Fifty Shades of Grey – what could happen, right?

And I’m not sure you noticed but freaks feed on Facebook.   While chatting a Facebook friend is sometimes pleasant, I wouldn’t tell some guy at the bus stop where I live or let him follow me home.  He’d probably want dinner and wouldn’t even do me the courtesy of watching the kids while I cook.  And by the way guys, there is a threshold number for liking my photos beyond which I conclude that you aren’t really enamored with my photography.

Other than our spouses or people who live with us nobody knows us.  Thanks to Facebook (and our proclivity to share), people think they know enough to judge you , hire or fire you, divorce or disown you.  Some people feel empowered to tell lies and half-truths about you.   It makes me wonder why everything online is so sacrosanct.  Why don’t we take things with a grain of salt and judge reality when we’ve got a real world experience to judge it by?  Facebook problems.

So what exactly is my point?  Simply that Facebook is a hot mess anymore…. and I love a hot mess.