I’m sure that this has happened to you before. Someone you have ties to, whether it’s a co-worker, your boss, or even worse, a parent, has finally discovered social networking and wants to be your newest Facebook friend.
For me personally, that’s no big deal. I’m fairly open about my online activities. Everything I write, Digg, or otherwise share goes through my FriendFeed to my Twitter then ultimately onto my Facebook (my, that sounds naughty). Besides that, just about everyone I’d consider a co-worker is already on Facebook, and would have little issue about my other Internet activities.
Putting all that aside however, imagine for a moment that I worked at Domino’s Pizza and that I don’t want my boss to know that I just became a fan of Papa John’s (writing this one’s gonna make me hungry). Here’s what I would do to hide Facebook status updates and keep that fact confined to my closer friends:
On your Facebook home page, you should see the ‘Settings’ menu close to the search field on your upper-right. Open that menu and go to ‘Privacy Settings’.
On the next page, you’ll have four choices: Profile, Search, News Feed, and Applications. What you’ll want to edit here are your Profile privacy settings.
By default, everything on your profile is limited to your Friends and your Networks (your first Network is likely your city of residence, but you may have joined more). From the screenshot above, you can see that I’ve limited everything on my profile to my Friends and their Friends. Anyone else who visits my profile will only see that I have a profile, but will not see what’s on it.
In my example, you’re going to want to edit the setting on your Status Updates, since you don’t want your boss to know that you’ve “fanned” the competition. Click that dropdown menu and then select ‘Customize’.
You may want to tweak your overall privacy setting here, but what we’re aiming for is the “Except These People” list at the bottom of this dialog. Type out the name of any of your Friends to restrict that person from viewing anything in your Status Updates.
For all you faithful Facebook fans, we’ve got a lot of tips and tricks on how to make the most of the site. If you have any privacy tips or concerns to share, please drop them in a comment. I’m off to order pizza.