how to manage facebook lists

Can you be Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde on Facebook?

By Social Media

It’s a challenge many of us face — straddling the chasm between our personal and professional lives or the personality we have among friends and the personality we have with, say, our grandmothers.

It’s not that we’re necessarily two different people altogether, it’s just that some content we want to share with friends, and some we really don’t want our grandma to see.

So who to be on Facebook, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? And can you successfully manage being two different people on that social network? 

My first piece of advice is this: DO NOT HAVE TWO DIFFERENT PROFILES. First of all, it’s weird. Second, it makes it really hard for people to figure out which one of you they should be friends with.

Instead, manage who sees what by developing lists. For some, that list may be “Grandma and Mom,” or “Colleagues,” or “Exes from Texas.” The other list, the one you share ALL your crazy stuff with, may be simply “Friends.”

For me, I have lists like “Besties” and “Charlottesville” — the town where I live. I have “Business Contacts” and “Family.” Separating my friends into categories serves another purpose; it keeps me from boring the pants off of the people who just don’t really care about my Pinterest pins, my social activities or my cousin’s wedding.

This means, of course, that I have to manage my posting more carefully — I have to actually select to whom any given post is visible. It takes work!

Is it worth it? Well, for those of you struggling to maintain some kind of illusion with your grandmother, I suppose it is.

To get started, click on Friends in the sidebar and Create List. Give your list a name you’ll remember so you can, at a glance, know who’s included in that distribution.

Now, when I post an update, I can select from my list to decide who gets to see that update. For example, if I want to post something relevant to my St. Louis friends, I would select only that list.

It’s a bit cumbersome, sure, but can save a few embarrassing conversations with Grandma over the Thanksgiving turkey.

Facebook has also built in a setting that defaults to the LAST LIST TO WHICH YOU POSTED. So be careful to select the right audience before you post.

Editor’s note: Seriously — go see Jekyll and Hyde at Play On Theatre in Charlottesville this week — it’s spooktacular!