6 November 2016

How to Manage Your Personal Facebook Page

The past couple of weeks have left many of us wondering why we even use Facebook. We question why some people are on our friends’ list. We’re looking to give and receive love and support, but damn. It’s rough in Facebook Land. Here’s my rule about my personal Facebook page: I don’t want anything going on in that space that I wouldn’t have going on in my own living room. I wouldn’t let anyone invade my real life space in the way people try to invade my personal Facebook page.

Listen, we get to express ourselves without fear of attack or explanation in some spaces. We don’t have to talk to everyone about everything. That’s the truth in real life too. Having our best friend’s cousin’s boyfriend dismiss us, antagonize us, or be a jackass isn’t cool. We’re all grown ass people. We get to decide with whom we will discuss and share anything. It’s possible to create a safe space on Facebook without falling into the trap of negativity.

I call my safe space my positive bubble. I fill it with the people who generate love and light in my life. These are not people who will c
ome at me for saying I’m scared or make fun of me and or drag me down. We don’t have to be of the same mind on all topics. Nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion with those I love. The people in my positive bubble don’t feel the need to deliver an epistle in the comment section under a picture I’ve posted to encourage myself and others. They won’t use my thoughts and feelings as an opportunity to declare their opposing view.

If I wanna talk to a friend about something which concerns me deeply, I’ll call them. I’ll ask them over for coffee. I’ll private message them. It’s like we forgot we could do any of that. The internet is rife with places I can engage in all manner of debates and differences. My personal Facebook page doesn’t have to be one of them. Especially when I’m feeling vulnerable.

I want to state, clearly and openly, I’m not attempting to stick my head in the sand or to silence other folks’ world views. Within my positive bubble, I can commiserate and have discussions about all manner of topics safely. I promised my children I would never look away from wat’s happening in the world again, because what’s happening in the world is important for all of us. I may have to regroup every now and again, but refusing to acknowledge shit is hitting the fan is inexcusable for me. What I consider repugnant and morally suspect is something I have to work to change. I can’t do that if I look away.

Here are three simple ways I’ve created a safe space on my personal page. I deserve that. We all do. No matter what anyone has to say about it. This isn’t passive-aggressive social media shenanigans. This is self preservation.


1. Clean house.

I’m not obligated to be “friends” with anyone on Facebook. None of us are. Maybe I don’t need to communicate via social media with my neighbor, Uncle Ted, or the guy who sells me insurance. I get to decide with whom I interact online and how I interact with them. Hell, I get to decide that in real life as well. So, I cleaned up friends’ list by blocking people who are assholes or unfriending people with whom I don’t want to communicate online.

To unfriend someone:

  1. Go to the person’s Timeline.
  2. Click the Friends button. A menu appears that is for assigning people to Friend Lists. …
  3. Click the Unfriend link. A window pops up asking if you’re sure you want to remove this friend.
  4. Click the Remove from Friends button.

To block someone:

  1. Click at the top right of any Facebook page.
  2. Click How do I stop someone from bothering me?
  3. Enter the name or email address of the person you want to block and click Block.
  4. If you entered a name, select the specific person you want to block from the list that appears.

Or, simply click on their name. When their profile appears, click on friend. In the drop down menu, click block. Boom. Done.

2. Unfollow folks.

This is a simple way to sweep negativity from my Newsfeed. If the person just spreads negativity, but doesn’t do it on my personal page, this is my answer. And listen, they won’t know I unfollowed them. I’m not unfriending or blocking them. I’ll simply have to visit their personal page when I want to catch up.

I limit my intake of news from my list of friends in this way. Sure, I want to know if my friend’s kid made honor roll. Good goin’, friend’s kid! I started doin’ this when I saw folks I adore making fun of people. That used to be my game as well. I just don’t gee-haw with it anymore.

To unfollow someone:

  1. Go to their page or hover over their name.
  2. Click on Following.
  3. Click on Unfollow.

3. Creating custom lists.

What if someone I value deeply has no sense of personal boundaries and uses my personal page to express themselves in ways I find disturbing? What if it’s someone who would be destroyed if I walked away from them on the internets? What if this person would view a Facebook unfriending as an unforgivable offense and I don’t want to put either of us in an awkward position? I may simply adore them, but not how they invade my personal Facebook space.

This is where creating custom lists comes in handy. I have three lists I use regularly- friends, work, and positive bubble. That’s it. Most of my personal posts go out to my positive bubble. Some of my posts only go out to a list of people with whom I work. Facebook already has that default friends list. That one is my entire friends’ list.

To create a custom list on Facebook:

  1. Scroll down to Friends on the left side of your Newsfeed. Hover over Friends and click More.
  2. Click Create List.
  3. Enter a name for your list and click on the names of friends you’d like to add. Keep in mind you can add or remove friends from your lists at any time.
  4. Click Create.

It’s that simple. You’ve just ensured that a specific set of people can see what you post at any given time. How do you do this for each post? When you post something on Facebook, there is a box right beside the Post button. It’s usually set to friends which means all of your friends list will see what you post. To change this, click on the box. A drop down menu will appear and you’ll see your lists as follows.

  1. Public- Everyone on Facebook can see and comment on the post.
  2. Friends- Only your friends’ list can see what you post, but note that once your friends comment, their friends can also see your post. That’s a creeper function of Facebook.
  3. Close friends- I don’t use this list created by Facebook. You can if you’d like. You can choose to make someone an acquaintance, a close friend, or add them to any of your custom lists by hovering over their name. Note: You can also unfriend and then, block the person as well from this same drop down menu.
  4. Custom Lists- Only the people on that list can see your post.

Be aware that whatever you set your list for on one post, your next post will automatically go out to that same list. Always check to make sure your posts are venturing into Facebook Land to the people you want to see them!


   I’ve employed all of the tactics above, so my Facebook experience isn’t punctuated with drama and unwanted interactions. This is a good practice to have in place anyway. Right now, it’s absolutely necessary for me, because Facebook became more contentious than it usually is. I’ve seen that most folks can’t post anything on their personal Facebook page without all hell breakin’ loose. It’s like their mama, third cousin, and kid’s soccer coach wanna get all up IN their business, slinging opinions, preaching at them, making them uncomfortable. We don’t need that in our space, y’all.

Right now, many of us feel outraged, scared, and a little hopeless too. We don’t need folks popping up to engage us in debate or asserting themselves into our worlds to “represent both sides.” I’m not saying a healthy dose of civil discourse isn’t a beautiful part of growing and learning. We can do that if we want to or feel like it. Don’t forget, we decide with whom we’ll interact online. We decide where and how we’ll interact as well.



  • KAthy sLemp
    KAthy sLemp

    Beth, I love the way you write so professionally. I teach professional communication, may I copy this blog and share it? The class is behin our schools firewall and we are studying social media this week.

  • Susan Martin
    Susan Martin

    I’ve set my Instagram to post only to close friends as well when I share to fb. My Instagram account I run tighter, closer to the vest, due to making my own meme which I do t want shared to everyone. I just change privacy settings after sharing if needed. So you can really customize a lot of different elements. Thanks for this post!

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Copyright 2017 by Beth Hallman. All rights reserved.

Posted November 6, 2016 by Beth in category "Mental Health

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