Monday, February 6, 2012

Improve Your Social Media Experience - Use Lists!

While most of us are aware of Facebook's feature to manage your connections by establishing lists, many don't take advantage of it.  But there is much to be gained from utilizing this feature that enables you to segment all of your friends in to groups and and assign privacy settings to each list.  Just like setting up bill pay or any other online automation it may sound daunting and even excessive to some, but separating out your Facebook friends into even a couple of lists can be extremely valuable to you and your network.  One approach is to setup two or three friend lists:  A Family, Social and Professional.  Facebook also helps get you started by offering default lists that you can readily assign friends to.
 Close Friends: You can add your best friends to this list to see more of them in your News Feed and get notified each time they post. You also have the option to turn these extra notifications off Acquaintances: This list is for friends you don’t need to stay in close touch with. People on your acquaintances list will rarely show up in your News Feed. You can also choose to exclude these people when you post something, by choosing Friends except Acquaintances in the audience selector Restricted: This list is for people you’ve added as a friend but just don’t want to share with, like your boss. When you add someone to your Restricted list, they will only be able to see your Public content or posts of yours that you tag them in. 

A bonus feature for lists is that they can have specific privacy settings applied to them so the practice of using friend lists also helps protect your privacy.  Why?  Some of the privacy settings allow you to select which of your friend lists have access to certain content you  post.

Keep in mind that if you assign a friend to multiple lists, that friend will only view content according to the list with the most restricted setting. For instance, if you have a friend on both a Neighborhood list and the Restricted list s/he may only be able to view content you post according to the privacy settings of the Restricted list and not those of the Neighborhood list as the Restricted list, or one like it, might have additional privacy settings.  
This can be confusing, but allowing the placement of people on more than one list is very beneficial when it comes to sharing content so take a few minutes to learn more about it.  Facebook has a great resource page to help you understand how to use lists and questions to many of the most common questions people have around lists such as, "Who can see my lists?", "How do I use lists to control what I share...?" , etc.  You can find this page in Facebook's Help section under Lists or click here.
By using lists you can increase your privacy by sharing content with only those that truly share an interest in the content you post.  And it eliminates others, like that person from high school that you friended but really know nothing about, from knowing more about you than you care to share.  The more your online community uses lists the better your social networking experience becomes as you start to see more of the content that's relevant to you and less that holds little or no value.  
EXAMPLE:  You have a cousin located five states away in Colorado who is holding a school rummage sale and is constantly posting about the wonderful items being donated and asking for  donations from Facebook friends.  The likelihood that you or anyone not residing within your cousin's local community would be able to donate or even attend the rummage sale is rather low.  Your cousin would serve her Facebook friends well by posting all rummage-related content to her list for School or Colorado, thereby sharing her content with those with whom it is relevant and avoiding the risk of being de-friended by others who no longer want to receive irrelvant information.
If you want to start creating your own friend lists now, click here,  Or, type "friends" in your Facebook search bar.