Facebook changes are redefining personal vs. professional online communication

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing


Not only will the improved friend lists aid in connection and network management, but they’ll also give you a little more peace of mind when it comes to privacy settings and network sharing.

Facebook is upping the ante following the launch of Google+ and their stricter method of privacy settings. Last week, Facebook unveiled their new and improved version of friend lists, lists that in the past allowed you to categorize connections into specific friend lists and then set up particular privacy settings.

According to Facebook, it will now be easier than ever to see more from the people you care about and simpler to share with exactly the right people. From a business standpoint, it looks like Facebook has finally improved their way of managing personal vs. professional communications.

And while the changes may have surprised you initially, have faith that these adjustments will be well worth the reorganization necessary on your part. Let’s take a look at the break down of the new friend lists.

Smart lists

You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you, such as your work, school, family and city.

For example, if you list your company in your profile a list will automatically be created for you with other friends who have listed that company. You can then manage who is on that list, what information they can view from you, and you can also send out messages directly to that list.

Close friends and acquaintances lists

These friend lists are not automatically created for you — it’s up to you whether you’d like to build a network of close friends and acquaintances to manage.

Hesitant to accept that high school classmate you haven’t talked to in 20 years? Add them as an acquaintance. The nice thing about these lists is that you can see your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.

Possibly the best part? You can create a restricted list that has the strictest privacy settings for those connections you’d like to keep at bay. For example, adding your boss, important clients or business partners to the restricted list will allow you to keep your privacy settings on lockdown — in other words, you decide what you want those connections to see.

Better suggestions

In true Facebook style, Facebook will automatically provide suggestions on which connections should be on your lists. And whether you find this service helpful or annoying, you can ultimately add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.

See and share with exactly who you want

This is probably my favorite part of Facebook’s friend lists improvements. Each of your lists has its own news feed where you can see just the photos, status updates and other posts from the people on the list.

To view the news feeds list, look for the lists section on the left side of your homepage and click the list you want to see. Whenever you feel like sharing something with a narrower set of friends, simply use the dropdown audience selector in the sharing tool and pick one of your lists. You can also use lists to help control who sees what on your profile, using the audience selector next to each detail on your profile.

Keep in mind that friend lists are completely optional – if you don’t want to use them you don’t have to. If you plan on utilizing Facebook for both personal and professional communications, I would highly recommend setting up your lists with at least the most basic settings. Not only will the improved friend lists aid in connection and network management, but they’ll also give you a little more peace of mind when it comes to privacy settings and network sharing.

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