Back in college, social media was just a fun place to virtually hang out with your friends. Ah, to be back in the days when The Facebook was only open to .edu addresses and we were so cool for having a profile. Our parents weren't on it. Neither were our bosses. These days your grandma can probably see what you're doing on Facebook, and in the workplace social media can get you hired or fired.
While in some workplaces it is uncommon to add coworkers on Facebook, in others it is part of the company culture to do so. I happen to work at the latter, where our CEO is often the first to friend you, and our HR director next. And they will hound you when you don't accept (all in good fun, of course). They're perfectly nice people, but I'm pretty sure they don't want to hear me gushing over my nephew's latest cute words or my husband's latest culinary masterpiece.
Enter: Facebook friend lists
Facebook friend lists allow you to segment your friends and apply global or selected privacy settings to those categories of friends. So you could group your family into one, and make sure they can't see your college photos. Or keep your coworkers from seeing what your brother posts on your wall. Once you get these lists set up, it's easy to keep them maintained--every time you accept a friend request there is an option to "add to list." Friends can be on more than one list.
Setting up a friend list
Choose "Friends" from the left navigation, and "Edit Friends" from that page.
Select "Create a List." You'll also see options to edit the lists your friends appear on from their listing.
Name your new list and scroll through to select friends or type in names to add them to the list. Click "Create List" to finish.
Using lists for privacy: Case-by-case
We'll get to global privacy settings next, but what if you have specific posts you want to keep from a certain person or group of people? You can do that right from your status message or shared photo/link. The options are by the lock icon in the share section of your profile.
You can choose to make it visible to limited people, or hide from select friends. For the hiding options, you can type in names of individual friends or lists. You can make this the default setting from here, or do it in your overall privacy settings. Make sure to "Save Setting" before you post.
Using lists for privacy: Global settings
To apply sitewide privacy controls using lists, select "Privacy Settings" from the top right menu.
To use lists, choose "Customize settings."
You will see a list of actions or areas of information, each with a drop down menu to the right. Select "Customize" to see the same customization menu as above (in the case-by-case section).
You can also select custom settings for each photo album you've created. At the bottom of the "Things I share" section in the above screen, there is a text link that says "Edit privacy settings for existing photo albums and videos." It will show you the screen below with the option to customize viewing permissions by album.
Well there you have it—a quick rundown of Facebook lists. As you can see from my screens above, I keep my Facebook pretty locked down, with many sections visible only to me. I don't put a ton of controls on lists otherwise, instead opting for case-by-case filtering or just simply making sure I don't overshare on Facebook in the first place.
Are you friends with your boss or coworkers on Facebook? How do you manage what is seen or not seen? Have you "liked" The New Professional on Facebook yet?