If you find yourself hooked on Castleville but don’t want to flood your friends’ Facebook feeds with your gaming posts, check out Lists. Guest author Anna Blake explains how to use Facebook Lists to make sure your status updates reach only your intended audience!
We’ve all had the same experience as Facebook users: you’re tired and frustrated at the end of a long day at work, and all you want to do is vent. Normally, that would involve a brief and somewhat cryptic status update on Facebook – just to let everyone in on how you’re feeling. But wait – you just added that new girl from the marketing department, and she talks to your boss a lot. So, perhaps that update isn’t such a good idea. Oh well, maybe you can have a quick gripe about the argument you’re having with a friend. But wait a moment, your friend’s sister added you a few days ago, so you’ll be in the bad books in a matter of moments. Are you frustrated yet?
There are two solutions to these problems: one, wean yourself off venting via social media (and rob yourself of one of life’s great pleasures), or two, use Facebook’s latest ‘Lists’ feature and make your life a whole lot easier. As any marketing agency worth its salt will tell you, with your settings tweaked to perfection, you’ll never again have to worry about your Great Aunt seeing you wax lyrical about the driving skills of that fellow on the way home. Lists can give you a new level of power over your social networking in just a few clicks… let’s find out how.
Time for some ring-fencing
You may not want to compartmentalise all of your friends and relatives, but to live the easiest of all online lives, you’re going to have to bite the bullet. The first step is to ‘ring-fence’ your Facebook friends, or pigeon-hole if you prefer, into certain Lists. You’ll need to think up some unique names for each of these Lists, meaning you’ve got a good opportunity to be creative. Try to put everyone in a list that best describes them; examples include ‘Colleagues’, ‘Extra Cool people’, ‘Acquaintances’, and so on. If you’ve ever been on Google+, you’ll likely have encountered Circles. Facebook Lists are the answer to this, and they’re great if used properly. They let you share certain information with some people, and other information with others – giving you the fine grain control over your networking that, in an ideal world should, have been there in the first place.
Create your Lists
Once you’ve concocted a few clever names, you can start to create your Lists. In the sidebar of Facebook on the left you’ll see the link to your Lists. You’ll also see that there are some pre-selected ones such as ‘Close friends’ and ‘Relatives’. You can use these if you like, but it’s probably safer to create your own and be sure. To do so, simply click on the ‘More’ link next to the title ‘Lists’ in the sidebar. Then you’ll see a button in the upper right that says ‘Create a list’. Click it, and you’re on the way. It’s pretty self-explanatory from here, tap on the name and add the chosen members. Then you’re all set to start managing your relationships better.
Using your lists to best effect
Lists you create will appear in the left hand sidebar. You can click on each to see what people in it are up to. If you create a lot of Lists, just click on the Lists header to be shown a list of your Lists!
But here’s the best part: when you post a status update, you can press the down arrow that says ‘Friends’, then you will be shown your Lists. Select a List and broadcast your update to only the people on that List. Alternatively, you can click ‘Customise’ from that drop-down menu and choose to display or hide your update from specific Lists. This latter option is quite useful, as you’ll be able to protect your rants from the tender ears of your more conservative friends, or protect your job by hiding certain updates from your colleagues.
Remember, this guide is meant only to enhance the way you use Facebook. Don’t rely on your Lists to be foolproof 100% of the time, even Facebook has bugs. For this reason, it’s sometimes better to simply bite your tongue. But Lists can still be massively helpful if you want to say different things to different people. Try it out now and see how easy it can be to manage your Facebook experience.
Do you use Facebook Lists? Do you post status updates you’d rather be kept from some of your friends? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Facebook Window image by pshab
** Lemur image by Lone Primate
*** Facebook List image by Philip Ashlock