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Making a list and checking it twice

Hi all - Bridget's on vacation this week so I'm posting this on her behalf. Because she's not just fashion forward, but ahead of things generally, she wrote this before Facebook made a formal announcement today that it was really rolling out changes to its privacy settings.

Here's what you need to know about it:

Facebook privacy settings are the one social media tool that seems to elude most of our readers (and friends). The questions we get about privacy come as no surprise when you see how messy the system is now. How much do you want your school network to see? Your regional network? Your work network?

FacebookFriends And what about Lists? When you can lump your friend connections into categories called Lists, it gets even messier. I don't want this List of co-workers to see my photo gallery but what about my work network?

If you're a Facebook user, you probably saw the letter posted recently atop the page that addresses this issue from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In short, Zuckerberg said what Poked has preached before -- that regional networks are useless for managing your privacy.

Networks made a lot of sense in 2004 when Facebook started for college students. It was the first privacy tool the original Facebook users -- like myself -- depended on. But now, when millions of people can be in your network, thinking that a network is a way to keep some information private is a joke.

Instead, you'll be depending solely on Lists to keep unwanted eyes out. Every time you post something, whether it's a status update or YouTube video, you'll be prompted over which people or Lists will have permission to see. It's a huge improvement to the system now, because either someone can see your Wall posts or they can't.

To make a List, click "Friends'' on the top navigation bar. You'll see on the left-hand side there's a place that lets you add to your current Lists or create a new one.

So what are you waiting for? Make Lists for family members. Make Lists for co-workers you don't really want to share stuff with but friended so there's no awkward moment in the office.

Make Lists for the weirdos who used to go to your middle school and sent a friend request but you don't remember ever being their friend.

And finally, a farewell to my Miami network. I would say it was nice to know you, but I really didn't know any of you.

(For more on what Facebook says about the privacy settings, visit their blog.)

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