I’ve seen a few articles tonight gawking about all the information people are able to see on Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s profile due to the new Facebook Privacy settings being “more open”. Of course, Facebook wants to be sure everyone knows what they’re getting into, and they’re also wanting to encourage each and every user to default to a more open status. There’s one thing they’ve changed with this entire privacy settings upgrade however – users now have full control over every single thing they post to Facebook and who sees it. Zuckerberg’s no fool – he’s only showing us what he wants us to see. Let me elaborate.
Facebook’s strongest feature to date has always been its list feature – they had lists for almost a year before Twitter even started testing the idea. One cool thing you can do with lists is take the groups of people you’ve organized and attach them to privacy settings. Previously you could do this for photo albums, videos, and even some privacy settings on a global level. If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, the chances are you’re not seeing all the photos and videos I post – I know that’s a travesty, but it enables me to protect my close friends and family, while still friending anyone who wants to be my friend. That’s pretty powerful!
What Facebook has been lacking however has been the ability to take these same privacy features accompanied by lists, and apply them to your status updates. The biggest thing Facebook launched with these Status updates has been the ability for you to now post a status update and only allow a specific list on Facebook to see that status update. Let’s take one example – I’m a member of the Mormon church. I have a lot of Facebook friends that are also LDS/Mormon. I also have a lot of friends that would prefer not to be inundated with shares related to religion. With this new update I can share things, just for my Mormon friends, and no one else will see them and my stream remains relevant to everyone else. This is also a powerful marketing tool for that reason. Now from one account, you can provide relevant data for each segment in your friends list.
This is also why Zuckerberg has finally been able to open up his profile. Sure, some photos people may question why a CEO of a profitable company of 350 million users would make public, but I am willing to bet he knows they’re there. It would take him 5 seconds to make those private, even with the new settings. The reason Zuckerberg has been able to open his profile is because he finally, without hesitation, can post anything he wants on Facebook, and only those he wants to see will be able to see the content he is sharing. Zuckerberg is leaving his profile open because he feels safe finally.
You should too.
So if you haven’t yet, create some friend lists on Facebook. Open up your profile a little on a default level. Then start using those granular privacy settings on a per-post and per-upload basis so you can be sure your content is being sent to the most relevant audience possible, while still maintaining your full privacy. This is all about giving you even more control, not taking it away. This is all about user-controlled context.