There’s a point in every web application user’s life cycle where he has to make the jump from being an average user to an advanced user, which means having to micro-manage the site’s basic and advanced features so that they give you more than what you’d normally expect. I’ve only recently began doing that with Facebook, and I regret not doing it sooner, considering how important Facebook has become to my career.
My Facebook circle of ‘friends’ has went beyond my circle to friends, and extended to many communities I’m active in. Even though that doesn’t bother me much, I still think highly of most of these people, but there is a line that sometimes becomes blurred between what I want to share with them, and what I want to share with my closer friends, which lead me to overhaul, and micro-manage the privacy settings on my Facebook profile. Here are a few tips that I picked up on the way.
1. Lists, lists, lists.
Lists are the a great tool to categorize your Facebook friendships. You can customize the privacy on each status to reach the audience you want, customize your privacy settings to block certain lists from certain permissions, and they’re a pain to micromanage, but the benefits outweigh that by far.
2. Set Suitable Defaults
Setting the right defaults for your content can do wonders, minimize any mistakes you make, and save lots of time. For example, I set my default for statuses to everybody, and my default for images to be just my close friends. For the way I use Facebook, this makes perfect sense. I can upgrade the privacy of a status as much as needed, and decide which pictures I want more people to see.
3. Test your Settings with the Profile Preview
The profile preview feature by Facebook is an vital tool that to help you monitor your settings. I don’t know why it doesn’t support lists, but you can select a friend from a certain list to preview how they view your profile and your content. It’s found in the customize privacy settings page near the top right of the screen.
One more thing I want to add, the misconception that privacy on the internet is dead should die already. Most of what I learned about “monitoring your personal brand” came from watching how my female friends manage their Facebook profiles, and they manage to keep their privacy all while “branding themselves”. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the best social media experts. =P