I mentioned going to a web-based communications class in Duluth where I took photos of fabulous murals. The class topic was focused on using the various online communication tools in ministry. One of the communications tools talked about was Facebook. This was particularly of interest to me, since I have grand plans of (eventually, but hopefully soon) using Facebook as a means of communicating with our wonderful group of nursery volunteers as well as our ladies' ministry, since a good many of us are on Facebook and I am trying (trying) to be more active there.
With the Facebook portion of the class, there were the more obvious-if-you-think-about-it things, like leaving political views and affiliations vague at best on your profile page and being careful about what you post in regards to such things if you are a public face for a ministry. It was also suggested that you never post your phone number or address on your profile page for security reasons. The reason behind this is the "Friends of Friends" privacy setting.
Assuming that each of the following people have the "Friends of Friends" setting in place, suppose I am friends with Jane. I can click on any of her friends and see their profiles, wall, and photos; let's say I click to find out about Jane's friend Sara. While I'm on Sara's page, I click on her friend Tina, and then Tina's friend Barbara, etc. I don't know anyone except Jane, yet I can see all of these other people's profiles, wall posts, photos, and comments by all of their friends, all with the help of the "Friends of Friends" setting. Yikes...I like my privacy. ;) I have all of my Facebook privacy settings set to "Only Friends."
Now onto photos...You can change the privacy settings on individual photos while having a global privacy setting for all photos. The example given was if your global privacy setting for photos is "Friends of Friends" or "Only Friends," you can change the setting to "Only Me" if there is a photo of your niece in one of your albums and your sister doesn't want the photo to be seen by anyone. Go to your photos, click on "Edit Photos" along the top of the photo, click on the "Edit Info" tab along the top of the photo, click on the "Privacy" drop down menu, choose "Customize," and choose "Only Me." (You can also block certain people from seeing individual photos here, too.) NOTE: I have only one photo I've uploaded to a Facebook album--all my photos are on my blog--but hopefully these steps will be the same if you have many photos.
One more note about photos...any photo in your Profile Photos cannot be made individually private. After I realized that, I deleted the photo I had uploaded as a Profile Photo of my kids (with their names and ages listed) and put it in an album. I use pseudonyms for my kids on my blog, which is totally public; I don’t want their names to be available to anyone I don’t already know on Facebook, either.
I also learned how you can "Hide" people and/or applications. I love this, and it doesn't take as long as it sounds like it will take to do it. I have hidden applications such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc.--things that my Facebook friends do but I have no interest in--and it has cleaned up my page tremendously! Now I can easily read the activity that I'm interested in without scrolling through Farmville updates or seeing a new high score on Bejeweled Blitz. (I'm really not picking on y'all! :) It's just not something I play, OK?) To "Hide" an application, hover on the applicable post and the little box that says "Hide" will appear; click on "Hide" and you will have the option to hide the person or the application.
You also have the option to "Hide" the person rather than the application. You can do this if, for instance, you reconnected with your long-lost friend from middle school but you have vastly different views on life now. You still want to keep in touch and don‘t want to go so far as to remove them from your list of Friends, but you don't want to see the off-color things she and her friends post on a daily basis; you can "Hide" this person and she will remain in your list of Friends, where you can send her a message anytime you'd like. For information on how to unhide people or applications, see http://socialmediaanswers.com/how-to-unhide-people-and-applications-from-your-facebook-feed
If you want to remove someone in your list of Friends, they will not get a notification of any kind that you did this; you will simply no longer show up in their list of Friends. To remove a Friend, go to Account, Edit Friends, click on your list of Friends, and click on the X beside the person’s name to Remove Connection.
One last thing about Facebook, and this wasn't at all part of the class but I will share it...I consider my online activity to be much like the way I consider my phone and even my front door. I don't always answer my phone just because it's ringing, and I don't always answer my door just because someone has rung the doorbell. This can really drive my kids a little nuts, but my phone is there for my convenience, and my home is my private area. In the same way, my computer is for my convenience. I am "invisible" most of the time when I am on Facebook so if I only have a couple of minutes to spend at my computer, I don't have to explain to someone that I don't have time to chat. To be invisible on Facebook, look at the lower right corner of your screen and click the "Chat" box. A small box will pop up, and from there you will click on "Options" and then "Go offline." To go back "online," all you have to do is click on the "Chat" box and you will immediately be back online and able to see who is available to chat with you.
Have you learned any tips for Facebook? Please share!