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Facebook Privacy Settings

I recently opened up my Facebook to find the following post from a professional colleague:

“Just swapped pants in the middle of a bar in the Valley. Oh the wonders of Tequila”

First, I was jealous that my Saturday had not been so post worthy. Secondly, I wondered if she had clients or work superiors reading the same thing.

I had pretty much assumed that anyone with a Facebook account and a job knew about the old “Friend vs Work Profile”.  I chatted about this over the water cooler and got some surprising news — even tech savvy people don’t understand exactly how to do this. People had even opted out of using Facebook for fear of what business associates may stumble upon on their page. The truth is that Facebook can be a fantastic tool for both career-oriented networking and communicating with friends.

So, here is a quick guide of how to separate work life from private life on Facebook:

1)      Establish Lists of friends:

To do this, go to the Friends tab, and select all friends. At the top of your friend list you will see a “Create List option”.  I recommend three lists:

  1. Inner Circle: Really intimate friends you don’t mind seeing your newborn child, you really drunk, or every other personal detail of your life
  2. Acquaintances: Work associates you have lunch with, friends you haven’t spoken to since second grade, or your aunt.
  3. Work Contacts: people you work with (or want to), clients, or your really conservative parents.

2)      Put each Facebook friend into one of these categories. To the right of each Facebook friend, there is a drop down menu that says “Add to a list”. Drop down the menu, and add each person to a list.

*Remember that each time you add a new friend or accept a new friend request, you should add them to the appropriate list.

3)      Set Privacy Settings for Each List. To do this, select “Privacy Settings” from the “Settings” drop down on the top upper right hand corner of your profile. Click on Profile. From here, there are ten options of Facebook actions that you can select to allow or not allow for each group.

*If you want everyone but a certain group to be allowed to view something, select “Custom” from that items drop-down. A pop-up will appear allowing you to allow everyone but a certain list. For example, I allow everyone but Work Contacts to see my tagged pictures (the group of pictures friends post of me that I prefer not to obsessively monitor)

4)      Make sure your photo albums privacy settings are appropriately set. I had one of a particularly rambunctious Fourth of July that I would rather keep to the inner circle but had posted before I set-up my lists. So, we must go back and adjust viewing permission.

To do this, go to your profile. Click on pictures of me. There should be a group of tagged photos and albums which you have posted. Click on “Album Privacy” right about your albums. From here, select which groups can (or cannot with “Custom”) view each album. Save settings and voila.

So go out, swap pants at a bar in the Valley and maintain your professionalism Monday morning.

About Kate Shaw

Hailing from the high desert where I began my love with all things shiny by working with film production. Abandoning my love for film for a “real career”, I started marketing and PR for a non-profit in Sacramento. Having lived from Europe to Central and South America, I can ask for a beer in any regional Spanish accent one can imagine. Settling in Argentina, I did social media marketing for an international tourism company for 2 years before landing in Santa Monica and The Search Agency.