There have been a lot of changes to Facebook lately and with changes come etiquette changes. I’m not a social media expert, but I do consult on social media etiquette which requires I stay on top of social media changes.
For those of you on Facebook, you may have noticed some recent modifications. Here’s a rundown on some of them.
Facebook has created lists that are based on your friend’s profile information. If your friend stated they went to the same school as you did then a list is created for say “University of Washington” and all of your friends who stated they went to the UW will be put into that list. Others that fall into that category include the city you live in, where you work, and “Family”. All of those will be populated by Facebook based on your friend’s profile info. You can add or delete people from that list anytime.
Facebook also created list categories that include, “Close friends”, “Acquaintances” and “Restricted”. You can populate those with appropriate friends yourself. Simply click on the list and to the right you will see a box that says “Add friends to this list”. Start typing their name and click on it and voila, they are now put into that list.
A word about the “Restricted”, list; according to Facebook’s Help Center, “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.” Your friends are not notified or see what lists they are put in.
How to use lists
Now, before I explain how this effects Facebook etiquette, I want to mention how you can use these lists. When you post an update, you can choose who gets to see the post with the audience selector dropdown menu at the bottom of the update box. You can pick a list so the update is only visible to the friends in that list. If you select “friends”, this will make the update visible to all of your friends. If you want everyone on Facebook to be able to see your post, select “public”. Your last option is to choose “Customize” which allows you to tailor who sees the update.
Say you want only your college buddies and your workplace friends to see the update. Just click on “Custom” and type in those two lists under “Make this visible to”. You can also exclude some people. If you want all of your friends except for your workplace friends to see the update, again, click on “Custom” and under “Hide this from” type in the workplace list. Cool huh?!
Revised Facebook etiquette
Now how does this influence Facebook etiquette? Well, I have always said that it is not a good idea to friend your boss, client or coworkers, because you have to be sure you’re very careful about what you post, and even if you are squeaky clean about what you post your friends may not and they might tag you in an unprofessional or career harmful update.
In the past, I’ve advised my clients that when a boss, client and most coworkers send a friend request to ignore it and instead invite these folks to connect on LinkedIn. But, with lists, I think it’s OK to friend these potentially risky people as long as you put them in the “restricted” list and are diligent about sharing only the cleanest posts publicly, which those in the “restricted” list will see.
One other thing I advise you to do is to change your privacy settings so that you can exclude your “restricted” list from seeing what you’re tagged on. Here are the instructions on how to do that.
The world of social media is changing the way we interact with people, both good and bad. If we use social media we open ourselves up to the whole world. However, with the changes Facebook has made and soon the new Google Plus, we are able to maintain more privacy yet still invite people into our worlds, just at more of a distant.
What do you think of the new Facebook lists? Are you going to use them? Do they make you feel more comfortable friending those riskier people in your life like your boss or clients? Will you customize who can see your posts?