A while back, I posted a lament about the perceived inability to “narrowcast” to a group of friends on Facebook. Why? I wanted to let my friends in San Francisco know that I was driving up to attend a lindy hop event there, but I didn’t want to go through the bother of creating an explicit event, nor did I feel like pushing a Facebook message (blech!) or e-mail to every buddy I know in SF. In short, I wanted to let both friends and acquaintances folks know I’d be in town in a non-intrusive way… like showing up in their newsfeed.
At the same time, I didn’t want the other 90% of my friends outside the Bay Area being bored or annoyed by yet another Bay-Area-centric post of mine. I mean, yeah, it’s not as bad as another one of those “I need [x] for my [y]” lame Facebook game-oriented posts that keep cropping up, but still…
So what to do? Well, bladam reader and astute commenter Chris suspected that one could indeed actually post to a Facebook list one had created… and I discovered that he’s absolutely right! So without further ado, let me outline the steps so you, too, can target just the right folks, and avoid boring other friends (and/or tipping off exes, parents, jealous roommates, bosses, parole officers, and other sensitive folks to your
scandalous private business).
- If you haven’t already created a Friends List on Facebook, you’ll want to do that first… by clicking on the Account link in the upper right-hand corner and selecting Edit friends.
Why do this, especially since it can be rather a pain to sort through your list of hundreds of friends?
- You can use this list to read a subset of your friends’ statuses… e.g., just your best friends, your family, whatever)
- You can share information with this same set of people.
- Now click on Create New List on the top of the page, and — in the shaded box that pops up — name your list (pretty much anything you want; only you will see this!), then select/de-select friends by clicking on them in the list of friends below the title you just entered.
- Now you’re ready to create and narrowcast a message! Click the big Facebook icon in the top left of your screen, and then note the big “What’s on your mind” field towards the middle.
You can do the friends-list selection either before or after you write (but before you hit share!). To select which friends will be able to see your post on their newsfeed, click the little padlock-with-arrow icon and select Custom.
If you don’t see this padlock, even after you type a few characters into the “What’s on your mind” box, then refresh the page in your browser (I had to do this on a couple of different occasions; not sure why).
- Now select Specific People… and then below you can type either the names of folks you’re friends with and/or friend lists (including the one you may have just created).
- Lastly, you can doublecheck that you’ve posted your message to the right group of friends by mousing over the padlock icon below your post. Yes, I know there’s a visual inconsistency in my screenshots, but I didn’t feel like either exposing who’s on my BA friends list or bothering blurring out the names :-).