Putting the Anti-Social in Social Media

16 Jul

I got some lovely feedback on my last post about Facebook quizzes. And by lovely, I mean, “a few people suggesting I was bitter Facebook hater in need of marital relations.” And that is simply not true.

I love Facebook. 

I am not particularly discriminating about who I accept “friend” requests from, either. I play Mafia Wars, and sometimes, after I kill someone, they will send me a request that says “please stop kicking my ass and let me be your friend.” I find that irresistible. I have only declined a couple of times, and my litmus test is pretty simple. If you are pointing an actual gun at me in your profile picture, and share a name with a presidential assassin, we are not going to be friends. Move on, nothing to see here.

Everyone else is pretty much golden. Used to work with you? Check. Went to school together? Awesome. Have friends in common? Welcome! We dated once?  Sure, as long as you haven’t aged better than I have.  My mom? Uh… sure.

But this accepting all applicants policy *can* get the Facebook stream pretty crowded. And sometimes, it becomes embarrassing. Like if you’re friends with your boss and a crazy friend tags pictures of you partying on a sick day. Or you friend a Mafia Wars player with a potty mouth who starts dropping the F-bomb in the same comment stream as your mom.

And that, my friends, is why you need some filters. You can be friends with both potty-mouth and your mom. Your boss and your Friday Night Karaoke club can co-exist without any awkward eye-averting on Monday mornings. You just need to compartmentalize.

And because I love you, I’m going to show you how.

First, let’s talk lists.


This is a look at my Facebook screen. See down the left-hand side there?  I have the main news feed, then a series of categories… BFFs, Social Media SA, TV Peeps, Mafia Wars, High School, and of course, Recently Paroled. Most of my contacts are organized in these groups. 

It’s great for three reasons: First, if I just want to see the status reports from one group, like my friends from High School, I highlight the list, and all I get are their updates.

Second, if I need to tell everyone in a group something, I can send one FB message to a group all at once. For instance, if you got a new job, you could tell everyone you used to work with “ha ha, suck it!” if you wanted to. Or, if you were trying to get a new job, you could tell them all, “Hey, looking for work. So if someone calls about me, I was awesome to work with, right? RIGHT?”

And finally, you can set limits on what a particular group of people can and cannot see, and can and cannot and post to your Facebook page. Let’s demonstrate.

First, you’ll create a list, like mine titled “recently paroled.” If you look at the picture above, you just click on word “create” at the bottom of the left-hand column.

Then, add people to that list. 


You do this by highlighting the name of a list, clicking on it to edit, and then, adding people from your friends. Here, I’ve searched for my friends named “Sean.” One is a wholesome, trustworthy individual, whose name I have cleverly blurred out.

The other is Sean Wood. We are going to add him to the “Recently Paroled” list. To do that, just click and you’ll get a little blue box around the person’s name.

You can add a whole bunch of people at once, but I am only worried about Sean. So we’ll move on.

Once you have your list created and friends added, you can set new permissions for that list.

First, get into your settings Menu. It’s on your home page — looks like this.


Choose the option on the drop-down menu that says “Privacy Settings,” and from that, choose “Profile.” Then, you’ll see a whole bunch of settings, like who can see your status, who can tag pictures of you, who can comment on your page, who can call your mother to tell her you dropped the f-bomb in your blog, etc.

Go to one of those settings like “Who can post comments,” and select “customize.” You will get a box that looks like this.

custom box

 Then, you can pick and choose who sees what. Don’t want recently paroled friends to see when you’re going on vacation? Pop their names, or the name of a list in the “Except these people” list. You can similarly limit who can tag pictures of you, who can comment on your wall, etc. They can still be your friends, they will just think you don’t update or post pictures. Keep the peace *and* keep your privacy. Or your job.

You’re welcome.

P.S. Also, Sean Wood is really an upstanding member of the community and really, not recently paroled. He left that past behind at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth. The only list I really have him on is “Facebook Friends with a great sense of humor.” I hope.

8 Responses to “Putting the Anti-Social in Social Media”

  1. Sean July 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m like the kid who pulls girls’ hair so they’ll tell him to quit. There’s no such thing as negative attention. Now, I’ve got to go drink plenty of water. I’ve got to pee in a cup to make sure I’m honoring the terms of my probation.

  2. Ed Harvey July 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    I hope I’m not on the potty mouth list. If I am,… OH F’ing well! I’ll just have to accept it! LOL!! Just kidding!! You are on the ONLY list I have.Which is people who know me and like me anyway! Luv YA!

  3. ingrid July 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    I’ve yet to venture into the world of facebook. I’m still struggling with my blog and twitter.

  4. Stephanie July 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    What a great education!!

  5. Elle July 17, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    I’m clearly not spending enough time on FB. I had no clue you could do all that. Still trying to get rid of my old blog on there and replace it with the new one.

  6. Mocha July 18, 2009 at 6:54 am #

    The “recently paroled” list title is absolutely hysterical. I wish I had used that as a name for something. Anything. I feel this was a missed opportunity.

    BUT! It would be a fine t-shirt. You know, for family reunions.

  7. SweetPeaSurry July 18, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    What a fantastically informative post! Oh yup, I followed it step by step. I recall reading your ‘Facebook List Whores’ post and I couldn’t agree more. (Yeah … I renamed it.) I am addicted to FB games such as Zoo, Farmville, Superpets and My Fairyland. It’s getting rediculous! FB is an addiction, not a social network! Heh!



  8. Jennifer Jasiczek November 17, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    Great post. I had to pause to get all my laughter out. Sean’s post about his relationship w pizza, recently paroled. LOL.
    Now off to find Dawn and friend her on Facebook.

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