I can imagine that there are many people who view my Facebook profile who think that I share a lot.
And some weeks, they’re probably right.
However, I am choosy in what I share. I still like my privacy and I am careful about who knows what.
Facebook has changed a lot in the past 3 years especially and there are tools for how we can manage who sees our profiles and our posts.
Currently, I have 146 friends. That fluctuates a lot. At my high point I was at about 220. At my low point(last fall), I was around 110.
My profile is NOT publicly searchable, meaning unless you are FB friends with me you can’t just search for me in the FB search bar.
Here is how you change your visibility:
- go to the little asterisk icon in the upper right corner and click on the drop down menu
- select Privacy Settings
- Go down to the part that says “Who Can Look Me Up?” and edit accordingly. I have mine set to “Friends”.
I also have a private profile. For the life of me I cannot comprehend why some people have their entire profile public. Meaning, even if you are not FB friends with them you can see their photos, where they work, and any statuses they post.
There is now a handy little tool so you can check what is visible. It’s called “Who can see my stuff” and it’s located in the upper right corner symbolized by a lock icon.
- Now you have a choice of viewing your profile as a specific person or as the general public
- At this point you HAVE to select “View As Specific Person” because public is not highlighted(see next step)
- Now that you are onto the screen where you choose who to view as, you can now select public as shown above.
- Now it says that I am viewing as “Public”
- You should do this with your kids and periodically on your own profile just to keep tabs on it. Sometimes you make a post public(especially if you have friends that have restricted access) and forget to switch it back. All of your posts since that point may be public and you didn’t even realize it. This is also helpful for making photos private. The only photos you can not make private are your cover photos. If you want to keep those from the public view, don’t use cover photos or simply delete all of them from the album when not in use.
- This step completely voids the necessity of paying any attention to the rogue forwarded statuses that say “Facebook has recently changed their privacy settings- now all your content is public….blah, blah, blah” . No they haven’t and no they aren’t.
My profile is private, except for my friends.
I have limited who can contact me and how.
I also keep private a lot of my life. For example, if my husband and I argue, you won’t find out about it on FB. I actually find that deeply private and personal and it’s no one’s business but ours. I have messaged(privately) people , especially women, who complain about their spouse or boyfriend online. It is a horrible breach of trust and it is also very harmful to a relationship. Sadly, some of these women continue and I have had no other option but to defriend them. I just won’t put up with that kind of garbage online. The first and only person you should be talking to is your spouse when you are angry; no one else.
If I have a concern, a prayer request , or something personal to share, I inbox it. I can do group messages to a couple of people or I can do one on one. My inbox is busier than my wall/feed on FB if any of you were wondering. Busier because I have a lot of conversations that are ongoing that really don’t concern the rest of my friend list.
Then there’s secrecy:
Secrecy is intentionally going behind someone’s back(for good or for bad) to keep something hidden from them. This is a good reason to use the inbox but it can also be bad. Check your motives. If you are purposely keeping things from certain people to hide what you’re doing, you may want to take a step back and consider why.
One very cool feature(which my kids do often) is the ability to customize your posts. For example, if I”m having a surprise party for one of my kids, I can post a status and leave their name off the list of who sees that post. All of my friend list can see it but that one person cannot. You have to make sure to double check the visibility of this post and the cool thing is , you can! Just use the same “Who Can See My Stuff” link and select that person’s name. You are now viewing your profile from that friend’s perspective. Just make sure to switch back to your entire friend list’s visibility for your upcoming posts so you’re not inadvertently leaving one person out.
Back to privacy for a minute:
I have a few “friends” on RESTRICTED access. They are still my FB friends but they will only see posts from me that are intentionally posted as public. I have done this for the sake of privacy. Some people, though they may be family or acquaintances that you want to keep in touch with, do not take the same care with your information as you do with theirs. Maybe they assume they know you better than they do. Maybe you hear through the grapevine that they are talking about you and your life though you never actually hear from them on FB and they never comment on your posts. I use my gut. If something doesn’t smell right or feel right, I use conservative restraint in who can see what I post. Apart from defriending or blocking(which we will get into later), this is a very good way of keeping in touch with people without them having access to all of your photos and posts.
Okay, so, after all that, any questions?
My main concern is that I respect my friends’ privacy and they respect mine. If I share something privately in an inbox message, there’s a reason for it. It isn’t public knowledge. So if anyone breaches that trust, they have just voided the contract of “friend” on Facebook.
You can have privacy and still be on a social network.
You can still have lots of friends and still have control over your content and your life.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about what makes someone “friend” worthy. And trust me, I have a lot to say on this issue.
For my previous posts in this series, click here or on the heading “Facebook 101” on my front page.