Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making the most of your Facebook settings

One of the questions I get asked the most about social media by educators and health professionals is how to retain privacy when using Facebook. My answer to that is to have a good look at the recent changes made to the settings on Facebook.

The key thing I have started to do is to identify who my "friends" are and putting them in the appropriate category - friends, close friends, acquaintances or family. I have lots of requests from people I do not know and cannot call them friends, but they have an interest that I share so I don't want to ignore them completely. So the category of "acquaintance" comes in useful for these people. This category is also useful to put work colleagues into so that you reduce the danger of mixing work with play. To do this, go to your list of friends and edit their relationship to you with the "edit" button to the right of their names. 

The next step is to think about who you want your profile update to be seen by. It can be made "public", or shown to just "friends", or "friends but not acquaintances". Or, you can customize who you want to see your update. I am using this functionality a lot. I post any general information like my latest blog post to "public", but more personal stuff like my latest thoughts on my weight loss campaign, to just my friends. The only snag I am finding is to remember to change my update to the appropriate people. But if you do forget, you can go back and change it after you have posted the update. To do this, click on the "edit" button to the right hand corner of your update.

How are you using your Facebook settings? Did you realize you had these choices? Are you deliberately targeting your updates or aren't you that bothered?

For more information, have a look at the Mashable Facebook Guidebook.

Image: 'Facebook Wants a New Face'

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