How To Keep Your Private Facebook Info Safe From Not So Close Facebook Friends

facebook fansOne of the things that I love about Facebook is that it’s just so easy to keep in touch with people. One of the things that I dislike about Facebook is that it consumes so much time. This is even more true when you’re very active online and you start developing a Facebook fan base. Whether you’re a frequent forum poster, blogger, or just a social network guru, eventually there are a lot of people that are going to want to follow you – and most of those people are not family and friends.

A lot of people start a separate Facebook “Fan Page” which needs to be maintained and updated just like your private Facebook account. The problem with this is that it takes double the time because now you’re maintaining two or more Facebook accounts. I barely have time to keep one Facebook account updated, I can’t imagine trying to maintain two or more.

There is a solution if you want to use your private Facebook account to welcome your fans. We’ve covered a number of Facebook privacy issues, such as Mahendra’s guide on Facebook privacy and Brett’s 6 simple tips to protect your Facebook Privacy, but we haven’t really touched on some of the unique ways you can customize privacy with a friends list.

By utilizing the Facebook “friend list” feature, you can define a unique class of friends that only see post updates that you allow them to see, while your friends and family are able to see everything.

Setting Up A Unique Fan List

Even if you’ve been using your Facebook account primarily for only family and friends, you can still welcome new acquaintances and fans by creating a new Friend List and defining your privacy settings in a way so that you can control how each individual status update gets displayed.

To get started, click on “Account” and then click on “Create a List“.

facebook fans

The “Create New List” window is where you define the name of your unique list name. This is the list that will have extremely limited access to your wall posts, so name it something that you’ll easily recognize. This way it’ll be quick to enable on those posts that you want to let everyone see.

facebook fans vs friends

Setting Up Default Privacy Settings For Posts

Now that you’ve created the name for the limited list (in my case I named it “Writing Fans”), you can control the visibility of each post. The easiest way to do it so that you can just post as normal for family and friends, and only have to manually add visibility for your special friends list, is to set it up that way as default.

Just go into “Account” then “Privacy Settings” and finally click on the “Customize Settings” list.

facebook fans vs friends

As you can see, I’ve set up information that I consider very private as “Friends Only; Except:” and everything else I leave open to all friends, regardless. What this does is blocks all of your posts and other private content unless you manually provide Facebook permission to show those friends the content. Each of the privacy settings above looks like this:

facebook fans vs friends

So now, I can continue posting as normal to friends and family.

Custom Privacy Settings For Individual Status Updates

Whenever you want to publish a link to one of my articles, or anything that I don’t consider too private for non-family and friends, all you have to do is click the dropdown button that has a little lock on it, and select “Custom Edit”

adding fans to facebook page

Then, you’ll see the same privacy configuration that you saw in your privacy settings above. Just delete the name of the list under “Hide this from” and then click “Save Setting.” Make sure “Make this my default setting” is not selected.

This will essentially allow you to customize the privacy settings of each individual post so that your “public” fans or acquaintances will only see what you allow them to see. Your friends and family will be able to see everything else.

facebook fans

This is a very cool way to have the bonus of offering your fans or acquaintances with a Facebook “friendship” without actually opening up all of the details of your entire life to them. By defining a “limited access” list, these unique friends will see your page updates that are tailored specifically for them, and they won’t see any of your private and personal updates that you make along the way. It’s the best of both worlds.

Do you maintain your own Facebook fan page? Would you consider using this approach instead? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!