So…you got a friend request from your boss (or an ex-girlfriend, or a 9-year old niece (who is too young to be on Facebook))
Ignore it, right? Wrong!
- If you Ignore your boss …it may impact your job
- If you Ignore your ex…you’ll look like you have something to hide
- If you Ignore your niece…your family will wonder why you are being cold to a little girl
So what do you do? You can actually avoid the awkwardness of denying the invite (or “Ignore” in the passive-aggressive parlance of FB). Here’s how
- Categorize your friends into groups (I use Green, Yellow, Red…and TooYoungForFacebook)
- Set permissions at the group level so that Red people have one experience when visiting your page…and Green people another.
- People in the Green group can see everything that I make public to Facebook
- People in the Red group can see virtually nothing about me
- Yellow? As you can imagine, that is “inbetween”
- TooYoungForFacebook can see everything…except my status updates
Here are the steps:
1. Categorize your friends into groups
- Facebook.com => Account => Edit Friends
- Click on Create a List
- A box will pop up which asks you to name the list…and then add people to it
- Click on Create New List
2. Set the permissions
- Facebook.com => Account=> Privacy Settings
- Customize Settings
- For each entry on that page, click on Edit Settings…and then select Custom
- From there, the key is the Hide this from tool.(When you start to type the name of a group…Facebook auto-completes it for you)
For example: My Religious and political views can be seen by Friends (not Friends of Friends) plus my network. However, if you are Red or Yellow…you can’t see it
Yes…this one-time set-up takes a while…and if you have hundreds of friends, it may be too late for you to do this. But, once it’s in place…it’s actually very liberating.
- When you accept a new friend request, Facebook will automatically ask you what group you want to put them in, so that’s cool.
- You may need to periodically “sweep through” your groups to be sure that members are appropriately classified (relationships change over time, right?)
- You need to be a steward of your own data: There is nothing in Facebook which prevents people from being in two groups (or no groups) .
- Finally: there is a very cool feature on that page (Choose Your Privacy Settings => Customize settings): the ability to Preview My Profile. It enables you to Preview how your profile appears to a specific person.