If you wish to use Facebook for both work and personal purposes, you might want to consider organizing your contacts in to lists. This way, you might be able to minimize awkward or embarrassing situations.
Of course, there’s still no substitute to keeping vigilant and not posting anything that you would be ashamed of, if it comes out in public. But, lists can help to shield you from people you don’t wish to offend or to get too familiar with, by keeping them in the “acquaintances” or “restricted” list.
Facebook has three main lists available: Close Friends, Acquaintances, and Restricted.
Facebook also has something called the “Smart List”, which will be pre-populated with people that meet certain criteria. For example, if you have indicated Singapore as your home city, everyone else in your contact list that indicated Singapore as their home city will be placed in that list. Other smart lists also get pre-populated with any other relevant groups of people (eg, your existing or past workplaces, schools you attended, etc). You can still edit these smart lists, if you wish to do so.
You can also create custom lists, if you plan to further organize your contacts for whatever purpose.
You can find access to your lists on the Facebook sidebar on your newsfeed. It will be under “Lists” or “Friends”. If you can’t find it easily, try to click on the link “More” in the bottom part of the lefthand sidebar.
Once you’re in the list that you’re editing, you can hover on the profile photo and click on the ‘x’ if you wish to delete someone from the list. Or, you can start typing your contact’s name in the box provided for, if you wish to add them.
Once your contacts are in those lists, your Facebook stream should reflect your preferences, unless you do things that can alter the algorithm. For example, even if you put someone in “Acquaintances”, if you still chose “Show in Newsfeed”, then their updates can still show up in your Facebook newsfeed.
Also, you can maximize your Facebook lists if you wish to read quick updates from the people in your lists. Just go to your chosen list, and it will show you the latest posts from people in that list.
You can also hide certain posts, or allow only certain groups to see, your Facebook posts if you wish, using lists.
Feel free to share some of your favourite tips in organizing your Facebook usage in the comments section below.
Shai Coggins is the Manager and Chief Digital Media Specialist at Vervely, an Australia-based agency serving local and international clients. One of the company's main clients is Microsoft. Shai has been featured in a number of media due to her online work, including being named as one of Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list (2009).