Embarassing Facebook Moments

Paul Madsen confesses he was able to, just in time, avert an embarassing Facebook moment:

On what started as an innocuous thread on the relative merits of curling and football, comments were made by a non-work friend that, while completely appropriate to the relationship between myself and the commenter (we having a long history of questioning each other’s masculinity and mental health), were not appropriate for a work context (or 98% of any other contexts it must be said).

Paul also points to what he thinks is the root cause:

The fact that my Facebook friends list is an aggregation of both work and non-work hit home yesterday.

Facebook allows me to create lists but not, AFAICT, use those lists to compartmentalize through differentiated permissions, e.g. allow members of one list to participate in a thread and not another.

Since the first day I have been using Facebook I felt very uncomfortable with the way various friends list are managed. On Facebook, you always risk having embarassing “red face” moments when you have different types of friends list (work and friends for instance).

Facebook does have various settings related to privacy, who is allowed to see what, etcetera. But honestly, even I sometimes have it difficult to configure those in a way that I am confident no information is spilled from one group to another. Currently I even practically closed down my Facebook profile for everyone who is not a close friend. If you are not a close friend, you will only see some very basic information about me and that’s it (if you do see more and don’t consider yourself a closefriend, drop me line ;). But even with all careful configuration work, I know I will one day face a “Paul Madsen Moment” on Facebook.

Clearly, offering a bunch of configuration settings like Facebook does not solve the issue. First, it becomes (too) complicated very fast and second, even when configured properly, it still has open holes. Who has a good solution that works in complex environments like Facebook?