Welcome to the “Leper Colony”

Google + and Facebook both present an interesting question to us eventually; what do we do when we are asked to (or already have) friend someone we’d really rather not have amongst our friends.

Blocking a user is rather extreme, and often, I don’t want to take the chance that someone might find out I blocked them. Often I have trouble with people who are too verbose, posting 30 tech articles a day that I have no interest in reading.  Other times I friend people I haven’t seen in 20 years, and the first post I get is “Check out this deal!” (and so is the second, third and fourth…).  Then again, there are the folks who send endless Farmville or Mafiawars requests.

Here is how to remove that stuff so you never see it again, and how you can do it without annoying someone who you might actually need to deal with again in the real world.

Removing Mafiawars and Farmville Requests
  1. The next time you get a request from one of these (or any other app that posts directly to a Facebook wall) click in the main field of the message.
  2. You will see a gray box appear at the right side of the post.  Click that.
  3. Select “hide all by <Mafiawars, Farmville or whatever app you want to remove> (or just hide the user)

    The application to remove would be Fan Appz (Sorry, I've had FV and MW blocked so long, I can't easily get a picture of how to remove them)

The Leper Colony

If you don’t mind the offending user seeing some of your posts in Google + you can create a “Leper Colony” list/circle.  This works very nicely to allow you to block certain users from seeing certain posts, looking at your photos, etc.

In Google +:
  1. Go to circles
  2. Create a circle called “Leper Colony” or something like “Unknown”
  3. Drag and drop offending users into that circle.  Do not leave them in any other circles.
  4. Now they will only see public posts…so be careful what you post publicly.
Facebook:

While Facebook used to support privacy rights by friends lists (the sublists you can create from your “manage friends” page, I was surprised to find that this feature has gone away.  You can either “hide <username>” as outline in the Mafiawars section above, or you will need to block them.  Way to go Facebook…changing privacy settings…again, without letting me know.

The Golden Rule

The big thing with all social media is this:  never, ever, rely on the systems privacy settings.  If you don’t want someone to see something, then you better not post it.  Ever…

Think of it this way: Google has a very, very long memory.  Even of the stuff you’ve deleted.  Merely sanitizing your own Facebook profile or Google + account before you fire off that resume for that dream position at Acme Inc. doesn’t mean they won’t find those pictures of you doing belly shots off an Asian Hooker when you were college.  What happens in Vegas will most certainly dog you all your days if your boneheaded frat bro tags you in a pic that shows you wearing a diaper and drinking been our of a baby bottle during initiation.

 

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