Meaningfully Manage Facebook Friends with Lists

Meaningfully Manage Facebook Friends with Lists

I've been in the mood to clean lately. From attempting to get the house uncluttered and the car vacuumed to ridding drawers of items for the local shelter and washing well-loved toys it has been great to straighten up here and there.

In the spirit of cleaning, I also did some scrubbing of my social media lists on Facebook.

Today, I invite you to read on if you, too, would like to manage your Facebook Friends meaningfully. Really. It's fast and worth it, so turn on your fav tunes, and you'll finish in NO time. You'll be glad you did!

To kick things off, here's some inspiration from the National Cyber Security Alliance (they kinda know what they're talking about):

"Know and manage your friends: Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a ‘fan’ page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know and trust) up to date with your daily life."

If there's one thing you take away from this entry, let it be:

Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal.

High school or college classmates from years past. Former co-workers or past clients. Friends of friends you barely know but connected with on social media after a social gathering. Are these people you'd like to show your child's first day of school pics with or their recent win on the sports field? Perhaps. How about the image recently posted of your toddler potty training or the picture of your sweet babe sleeping soundly in their crib? Maybe ... and maybe not if it is phrased like this:

What if someone you haven't talked to in years says they've seen your baby naked? It might cause you to pause. How would you feel if someone you don't know — yes, a total stranger — says they've seen a picture of your child sleeping?

Both of the situations described are possible with and without even the tightest of privacy settings.

These are the things I think (okay, stress) about when it comes to posting about the next generation of kiddos online. Knowing full well that people we haven't seen or talked to in years — and even strangers — can look into our worlds without us even knowing.

What are we sharing with them? We need to think about that. At least in my opinion.

So, let's get on with how to meaningfully manage our Facebook friends :)

Today's "Quick Tip" is to utilize Facebook's lists, specifically the Restricted list.

The first time I saw this feature available I immediately assumed it was basically "blocking" someone which, for me, is reserved for only those who have "earned" that status (haha). I ignored the Restricted list for a long time until I learned more about it.

Despite the way it sounds – mean and harsh – it's actually a really neat way to stay friends with "the masses" (aka everyone you've encountered and "friended" since Facebook's 2004 launch but haven't talked with in years) and yet doesn't allow those individuals to see anything except for the "Public" posts you share (or those you tag them in).

Really. We should relish in the Restricted list.

If you're thinking to yourself, "Wait, I'm still confused because you said 'blocking' up there, too. What's the difference between block and restricting someone?"

Here you go (thanks for the insight, Facebook):

What is blocking and how do I block someone?

Facebooks says in their Help Center when you block someone they will no longer be able to do things such as tag you in posts, comments or photos, or see things you post on your profile/timeline. They also won't be able to begin conversations with you, invite you to events or groups, or add you as a "Friend." Once you block an individual, they're unfriended at the same time. If you don't want to unfriend someone but would like to see fewer of their posts on Facebook, you can take a break from them too. Facebook also advises, "keep in mind that blocking someone may not prevent all communications or interactions (example: in apps or groups) and only affects your interactions with that person on Facebook."

What is the Restricted list?

This list is for people you’re friends with but don’t want to share friends-only content. When you add a person to your Restricted list (see how below), they'll only see your Public content or posts of yours in which you tag them.

How do I add someone to my Restricted list?

The following is courtesy of Facebook's Help Center:

To add someone to your Restricted list:

  1. Go to their Profile

  2. Hover over Friends at the top of their profile

  3. Click Add to another list

  4. Click Restricted

To see who is on your Restricted list:

  1. Click Friend Lists under Explore on the left side of your News Feed

  2. Click Restricted

To remove someone from the list, click Manage List in the top right, then click Edit List. Click on a friend's profile picture to remove them from your Restricted list. 

You can also use Facebook lists to help organize your friends. Facebook enables you to do that by setting up "Close Friends," "Acquaintances" and "Restricted" lists. But this is supposed to be quick so more on that here if you want to check it out.

Manage Your Privacy Settings

Visit StaySafeOnline.org to find out where and how to update your privacy settings on other popular devices and online services.