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Using Facebook Like a Pro: Privacy

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

I joined Facebook eight years ago when my brother made me. OK, he didn’t MAKE me, but he also wouldn’t e-mail me pictures of my niece and nephew and told me I’d have to join Facebook to see them. He is so mean.

But eight years later, I really owe him one. I’ve helped many clients build their organizations, and I continue to be blown away by the impact of this platform. One thing I like to remind people is that Facebook is a tool. Make it work for you. There are several parts of Facebook that people either don’t know about or underutilize. My goal in this series is to help you make Facebook work for you and redeem it for your life.

Keep in mind that Facebook changes faster than I change my mind at the Dairy Queen ordering counter. While this all might be true today, it may all change tomorrow. I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated.

Our first installment is about privacy because it seems to be one of the central issues that people have with Facebook. I hear people say, “I don’t like posting on Facebook because I don’t want people to know my personal business,” while at the same time saying, “Tell everyone about my garage sale happening today.” The good news is that you can have it both ways.

My Facebook friends list contains the most random of random samplings of people. There are childhood friends, gobs of relatives, neighbors, clients, my kids’ friends’ parents, and people who I may have met once but could never pick out of a lineup. My husband coaches two sports and chooses not to be on social media, so I end up serving as his liaison with parents and the community via Facebook. Needless to say, I have to get very creative with the privacy of my posts.

The first step to giving yourself options for privacy is to go through your friends list (yes, this takes a chunk of time…) and add people to lists. My lists look something like this: close friends, acquaintances, family, and New Castle area. You can get very specific. (Side note- Do you have an acquaintance who drives you crazy with their political/scammy business/personal drama posts? You can go into their profile and simply “unfollow” them. You will still stay friends, but it removes their posts from your News Feed.)

The second step is to utilize the settings when you post something. If you’re posting on your phone, this is at the top and says “To:” and if you’re on your desktop it’s below your post to the left of your “Publish” button. This little button can change your world. Say you lost your dog and want everyone to be looking for your pooch. Make the post “Public.” Say your kids are doing awesome stuff, but you’re pretty sure the neighbors already read it in the paper. Make the post for family only. Say you want to remember a particular life happening, but don’t necessarily want to announce it to the world. You can make the post viewable to only you. You can customize the settings very specifically. It’s a wonderful, beautiful thing.

Be aware that anything shared on the internet has the likelihood of becoming public at some point, so be very judicious in what you say… just because you make the post viewable to some doesn’t mean those people might not screenshot it to share with others.

A simple word of wisdom from the Bible is most helpful when considering what to post. I wish I followed this advice 100% of the time, but it is what I aim to do.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think [AND POST] about such things.” –Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Coming up next in this series: Hackers

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