The ‘Nitty Gritty’ on Facebook Lists

Facebook started as a golden moment for social interaction in an unfamiliar and often uncomfortable setting, college. And in college, Facebook’s friendship model made sense. Becoming Facebook friends with someone served as an all-access pass to their photos, statuses, events, and updates past, present, and future with the purpose of creating lasting friendships. 

However, the years of exclusivity has since past, sharing on Facebook is similar to walking up to a group of parents, teachers, friends, cousins, camp counselors, classmates, and colleagues, and boasting about my latest accomplishment or for that matter, my dog’s latest accomplishment (yes, I’m one of ‘those’ people). The fact of the matter is posting on Facebook is being treated as public announcements and is no longer segregated to one single list of people you know.

Facebook has made several changes to address these issues, one in particular is Facebook Lists.

Facebook Lists 

When people say, "I hate Facebook," what I think they are trying to say is, "I wish my real friends would post more stuff so my news feed wasn’t full of information from people I hardly talk to." Facebook now lets you share posts only with specific people or with a list of friends you’ve made, presumably in an effort to encourage private sharing. Snapchat was one of the first to introduce the idea of private sharing and research shows that Snapchat users actually share more often, on average, than Facebook users.

As a Real Estate Agent, lists can be very helpful when creating content posts. You can now Target Market your Facebook “friends.” Create a list titled “Leads” and send Real Estate related posts just to that list. Don’t feel comfortable asking everyone for a referral? Then create a list of the people you do feel comfortable doing so. This also gives you an opportunity to sit down and really go through your friend list. If you have not done so in a while you may be surprised who you’ve forgot to add to your Sphere of Influence (SOI). Here are some examples of lists you could make:

  • Past Clients
  • Referral Contacts
  • Leads
  • Family & Friends
  • Co-workers


Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

The majority of Social Media privacy settings I come across have a flaw and Facebook privacy settings are included in the list. There are some things on Facebook that you just can’t hide –- and it appears your list of friends is among them.

The social network allows you to set the visibility of your friends list, so if you want to keep that list private, you can do so by setting the list visibility to "Only Me." The problem is that other users can still see some of your friends even if they can't access the full list, and while Facebook explains some of this on the privacy setting screen, the "Only Me" setting doesn't actually limit your friends list to only you.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Say you post a status update to your Acquaintances list. No one you put on that list will be able to see the name of the list. They will, however, be able to see each other’s names.Facebook alerts users of this on the friend list privacy settings screen, but you may not notice unless you pay special attention. The warning reads:

“Remember: Your friends control who can see their friendships on their own timelines. If people can see your friendship on another timeline, they'll be able to see it in news feed, search and other places on Facebook. They'll also be able to see mutual friends on your timeline.”

The reason for this is to "give them more context." According to Facebook, if you see that a post is shared with your five closest friends, you're more likely to comment freely on it than you would if you didn't know who else could see the post. 

Although it is true that Facebook warns users about the transparency of their friends list, it is also true that language used in the privacy settings is slightly misleading. Facebook wants to facilitate connections between its users, not hide them, which is why it makes mutual friends accessible. The more you are connecting on the service, the more useful it becomes and the more time you'll ultimately spend on the site.

That mission, however, means that some elements of your Facebook life, including your friends list, will never be fully private.

For more information on how to use Facebook Lists for your Real Estate marketing purposes, join me this Monday, June 16th for an informative webinar! Comment below if you currently use Facebook Lists in your online marketing routine. 


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Amy Weiss

Amy Weiss

Social Media Director & Web Developer
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