Lives intertwine on Facebook in a way that they never do in real life. There are any number of people you might not want to give full Facebook access to: A potential employer, your mother, your ex, but a new boyfriend should be on that list as well. When your friend comments on your night out partying, your old roommate posts pictures of you from college or your mother asks you about that guy you stopped dating six months ago, do you want your new beau to see those posts? He can if you haven’t taken steps to define what others can see.
If you’re contemplating friending your new boyfriend on Facebook, I suggest you take it in stages and that means managing your privacy settings.
To access your Facebook privacy settings, click on the "Account" dropdown in the upper-right corner of the Facebook page and select "Privacy Settings." In the “Sharing on Facebook” section, you’ll want to click on the “Customize Settings” link. This is the page where you can pick and choose what individuals see.
There are 17 options that relate to sharing, excluding your contact information, and for each one, you have four choices: Everyone; Friends of Friends; Friends Only; Only Me. There is also a "Customize" setting that allows you to either hide your information from specific people or only let specific people view it.
So what should you share? If you "friend" your boyfriend, he’ll expect to see your posts. That’s the point, right? But if you click on the lock symbol below the status box (the one that says "What’s on your mind" on every page), you can choose who can see a specific post.
Photos and videos work essentially the same way. From the "Privacy Settings" page, clicking on the link "Edit album privacy" on the Facebook Privacy settings page lets you pick and choose which albums he sees.
To block him from seeing an album, you simply select "customize" from the pull-down menu of who can have access. Then type his name into the box that says "Hide this from these people." That’s it.
So what else should you think about blocking? If you’re leery of what your friends might decide to post, you can block your new boyfriend from seeing your friends’ posts as well as the photos and videos they upload. You’ll find those controls in the "Things others share" section of the "Privacy Settings" page labeled "Photos and videos I’m tagged in" and "Can see Wall posts by friends."
You should think about whether you want your boyfriend knowing where you are, if you like to use Facebook Places to check in when you go out. If you decide to block check-in information, you should also disable "Include me in 'People Here Now' after I check in."
Finally, think about what you want your relationship status to be. When you edit your profile and select "Featured People," you’ll see the options: Single, In a Relationship, Engaged, Married, It’s Complicated, In an Open Relationship, Widowed, Separated or Divorced. So do you change that when you "friend" your boyfriend?
So you can block anything you are reluctant to have your boyfriend see in his News Feed or read on your wall. Remember, it may be harder to cut him out at a later date and it’s always easy to grant access to more information as your comfort level with him as a Facebook "friend" grows.
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