How to make social networks less distracting

Have you ever thought about how much time you spend each day on social networks? And I’m not talking about the time you spend each evening updating your Facebook profile or those witty “quotes of the day” you post each morning on Twitter. Rather, I’m talking about the time you waste reaching for your phone every time another notification comes though, or the hours you spend opening every social networking update  that arrives in your Inbox.

The truth is that you probably spend several hours a day reading notifications and clicking on e-mail links that do absolutely nothing but distract you from your real job. It used to be that liquid lunches were the biggest drain on office productivity but who needs alcohol when you have the drug of social media?

Fortunately there are ways to wean yourself off the constant urge to check your social networking updates, and it starts by turning off those constant notifications and e-mails. This way, you decide when to check your Facebook or Twitter account rather than have your smartphone decide for you.

Here are a few ways to cut down on the social media noise:

Free up your Inbox

Let’s start with Facebook and your overloaded e-mail Inbox. Open your Facebook account, click on the arrow in the top right-hand corner of any page, go to Settings and then click on Notifications on the left side of the page.

Unfortunately Facebook starts from the premise that you want to hear about absolutely everything that happens on the social network, no matter how tedious or trivial. Changing this is a two-step process. First, click on Email and choose the second option, which is Important notification about you or activity you’ve missed.

If you are really fanatical in your bid to be less distracted, then you can opt for Only notifications about your account, security and privacy but this is a little bit like going cold turkey and you may feel like your Facebook presence has been  removed entirely. In reality, most people will still want to receive notifications about themselves but pretty much every other type of notification can go.

The second step is to unsubscribe from all the notifications that you currently receive about yourself. There are approximately 20 different types of e-mail notifications – everything from friend confirmations to pokes to comments you’re mentioned in. Each individual e-mail has an unsubscribe option at the end of the message. Unsubscribe from as many of them as you can. If you are particularly active on Facebook, then you may want to still see comments you’re mentioned in, but the whole idea is to cut down on the constant traffic and leave these updates until you can log onto Facebook in your own time.

Once you unsubscribe from a notification, it will appear on the unsubscribed list in the email notification settings and you can turn them back on at any time.

Wow – your incoming e-mail has just been cut in half!

Thankfully, eliminating e-mail notifications on Twitter is much easier. Open your Twitter account, click on the little wheel in the top right-hand corner, go to Settings and then click on Email Notifications on the left-hand side. Here you will see numerous check boxes covering everything from notifications when you get a direct message to updates about Twitter products and services.

If you are serious about eliminating social media distractions, then uncheck them all. However, you might still want to receive notifications if you are looking for a specific Twitter reply or are sent a direct message. A better way to do this might be to open a custom app like TweetDeck or Hootsuite, where you can see updates at a glance. Remember to turn off the audio notifications though!

Silence that smartphone

After bringing your e-mail under control, the next step is to silence your smartphone or tablet. Fortunately, this is a little simpler than silencing e-mail.

For Facebook, click on the Text message in Notifications and you will see a number of different options. Again, for the stronger types, you can just turn text notifications off and your constantly buzzing smartphone will be a thing of the past.

If you can’t quite bring yourself to do that, then there are various options to help you withdraw gradually. (In a very forward thinking move, Facebook has recently added the option of only receiving text notifications during certain time of the day. You can also opt to not receive texts when you are using Facebook; another smart move.)

For Twitter, there are similar options. Visit Settings, click on Mobile and you will be presented with a series of text options. Again, you can deactivate all texts, just choose to receive direct message texts, or turn off text notifications during certain hours.

By now a wonderful peace will have descended on your workspace and you will suddenly be more efficient, more focused and more productive. If you can persuade one or two colleagues to follow your lead, you may even be able to strike up a conversation! Remember, you can still access all your Facebook notifications by going to your Facebook home page; only now you read them when you want to, rather than when your e-mail or smartphone tells you to.

How To Video Chat With Your College-Bound Kid

The suitcases and boxes are packed, the car is loaded, and you’re about to say goodbye to your proud new undergraduate. You spent 18 years thinking this day would never come but now it has and you’ve got those predictable mixed feelings of joy and sadness: Joy that they are finally out of the house and sadness that, well, they are finally out of the house!

Of course, you can always check in on your nearest and dearest via smartphone, but sometimes a phone call, e-mail or text is not enough. You want to see how they look and make sure that you will still recognize them when they come home for the holidays!

That’s where video chat comes in. With smarter devices, updated apps and faster networks, there are lots of ways for you to get a little face time and make sure everything is OK. Here are some of the more popular apps that will make it seem like your baby never really left after all!

  • Skype

    skype-vcSkype is still the best known and most popular video chat platform, with over 650 million registered users worldwide. Making or receiving a Skype call from a desktop or PC requires custom software but both the download and the calls are free. Skype video calling is also available on properly equipped smartphones and tablets with the Skype for Mobile app.

    Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls are free, whether the other party is on a mobile device (Android, iOS, Windows Phone), or a PC or Mac. Skype can also be used to make or receive international calls from regular landline or mobile phones at heavily discounted rates.

  • FaceTime

    facetime-vcFaceTime is Apple’s custom video calling app, which is available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac computers. FaceTime is a proprietary app, which means it can only be used on Apple devices. But it’s “cross-platform,” which means an iPhone can call an iPad and an iPod touch can call a Mac.

    FaceTime is very versatile and easy to use. Just find the contact you want to call, tap the FaceTime button, and the person you’re calling will be invited to join the chat. You can switch from a regular call to a FaceTime call mid-conversation, and even use Siri, Apple’s voice activation tool, to initiate the call.

  • Google Hangouts

    google-hangouts-vcOne of the most popular features of the Google+ social network, Hangouts allows instant video chat between individuals in the same Google+ network. Up to 10 people can be on a Hangouts chat at the same time. A mobile app allows you to initiate or join a Hangouts video chat from a properly enabled smartphone, and easy access to Hangouts is a feature of many of the latest Android phones.

  • Tango

    tango-vcTango is a popular video and voice calling app that is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. With Tango, you can make free video calls, free voice calls, and even send free video messages. Once you are registered, Tango will search your contacts to see who else is on Tango, and making a video call is as simple as tapping a button. There are some fun features in Tango Surprises, and Tango calls can be made over Wi-Fi or your carrier’s network.

  • ooVoo

    oovoo-vcooVoo is another service that allows you to make free video calls, free voice calls, and send free instant messages on your Android device, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can also download ooVoo software to make or receive video calls from your PC or Mac. ooVoo can search your contacts, and Facebook and Twitter accounts to find friends already on ooVoo, and the app features an option to invite up to 12 different people to join you on free group video calls.

How To Get The Most Out of Your Smartphone Camera

I love my smartphone. I love being able to stay in touch with my family, check e-mail, surf the Web, do a little shopping, and even make dinner reservations. But most of all, I love my smartphone for its amazing camera. There was a time when cell phone cameras were no better than the cheapest point-and-shoot, but that has all changed. Now, the latest smartphones compare with top-of-the-line stand-alone cameras and come equipped with enough features to satisfy even the most discerning photographer.

But better equipment doesn’t necessarily translate to better pictures. Too many photos remain trapped in smartphones, either because they’re not interesting enough or the quality is poor. Smartphone owners then get discouraged, often taking photos with the knowledge that their work will never see the light of day.

However, since I started using a smartphone camera a few years ago, I’ve found that better pictures are less about technical expertise but more often depend on how prepared we are. Here are few things to think about as you try to get the most out of your smartphone camera.

Be ready

The beauty of a smartphone camera is that it’s always right there when you need it. That should mean more pics and less missed opportunities – but only if you’re ready to shoot at all times. Many smartphones now have ‘quick’ buttons, which can activate the camera as soon as the smartphone is turned on. Make sure you know how your smartphone camera works and be ready to capture the action at a moment’s notice.

Use the camera’s settings

As smartphones have become more sophisticated, so have the camera settings. Whereas before it was mostly point-and-shoot, we now have to cope with ISO settings, white balance, scene modes, and more. While most of the time we can rely on the camera to make the adjustments for us, there are times when those alternative settings can make a big difference, particularly in low light or when taking action shots. Get to know your camera settings – it can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.

Light your subject well

The number one reason for poor quality smartphone pictures is poor lighting. Despite the often-limited sensors in smartphone cameras, we put extra strain on them by shooting indoors or in poor light. Try to shoot your subject outdoors or turn up the lights if you have to stay indoors. Wherever possible, use the camera’s flash to boost the amount of light. You can always edit out red-eye later.

Be creative

Whether we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or just catching up with a good friend, we are seeing a lot more photos than we used to. In fact, the signature legacy of the digital age might be the sheer volume of images that we deal with on a daily basis. That means it takes a lot for a photo to stand out. A picture of your cat with glasses on will no longer cut it. Be constantly on the lookout for different subjects and different angles. Start looking at everything with a reporter’s eye and ask yourself what would be interesting to an outside audience. A good picture starts with good subject matter.

Don’t discard ‘bad’ photos of ‘good’ subjects

While we’re discussing creativity, it’s amazing how a little editing or giving a picture the Instagram treatment can make an ordinary photo look interesting. If you have a good subject but are disappointed with the quality of the image, don’t give up on it right away. Built-in or third-party editing tools can transform a photo, as can Instagram and other photo-editing sites.

Use your camera wisely

With everyone carrying smartphone cameras, the opportunity for taking awkward or embarrassing pictures has never been greater. And even if you don’t upload those pictures to Facebook or public photo-sharing sites, someone else might. Ask permission before you take pictures of other people, and think about the impact on others before you post pictures online.

How to find a lost smartphone

You love your smartphone. You never go anywhere without it and you have steadily loaded it up with more and more of your personal data. You have dozens of the latest and greatest apps, and you constantly reach for your phone to play video games, enjoy your favorite TV shows, and occasionally watch a full-length movie.

And then suddenly the unthinkable happens: Your smartphone is lost. Maybe you left it in the back of a taxi cab, or maybe it slipped out of your bag when you were checking in at the airport. Whatever happened, it’s now gone and your indispensable electronic friend has been replaced by a feeling of rising panic and the inevitable question: ‘What do I do now?’

Luckily, several apps have been developed for the sole purpose of finding lost cell phones. You no longer have to wait and hope that someone will find your phone, go through your address book and call up a friend. Now, you can be pro-active and start the search yourself. Here are just a few of the apps that can help:

iPhone users

Find My iPhone is a custom iPhone locator app, which is built into iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system. You go to Settings, tap iCloud, and enable Find My iPhone. Then if you misplace your phone, you can sign in to iCloud from any computer or web-enabled device. Find My iPhone will show you where your missing iPhone is on a map or play a sound to help you locate your phone if you think it’s nearby.

Find My iPhone also includes Lost Mode. If your iPhone is missing, you can immediately lock your phone with a 4-digit passcode and send a message that will display a contact number on the home screen of your phone. This enables anyone finding the phone to call you from your locked screen without accessing any other data. While in Lost Mode, the device will also keep track of where it’s been and report back to you anytime you check in with the Find My iPhone app.

With this week’s announcement of iOS 7, Apple has added another layer of security. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. This is to combat the increasing threat of iPhone thieves, who are not looking to use your iPhone themselves but instead will seek to re-set the phone to its factory settings and sell it.

Find My iPhone can also continue to display the “please call me to return my iPhone” message even after the phone has been wiped. Again, it will be impossible to reactivate the phone or unlock the device without the owner’s Apple ID and password.

Keep in mind that Find My iPhone and Lost Mode will only work if the phone is turned on and connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network.

Android users

Google recently updated its Android operating system to add a new feature called Android Device Manager, which helps Android smartphone owners find their lost or stolen smartphones and tablets. Android Device Manager is activated through the Google Settings app. The locator feature is enabled by default, and there is also an opt-in feature to allow you to remotely lock your device or erase the data.

To use the locator feature, visit Android Device Manager online and log in with your Google account. You will get a prompt asking for permission to allow Android Device Manager to use location data. Click on the “Accept” button to continue.

There are three options under Android Device Manager: 1) you can locate your phone on a map, along with the place it was last used; 2) you can choose to ring your device; and 3) you can force a factory rest, which will erase all your data, including apps, photos, music and settings. Once your device has been wiped, you will no longer be able to access it through Android Device Manager, so this is truly a last resort.

Along with Android Device manager, there are a host of third-party apps that can do the same job. Perhaps the most comprehensive are two security apps. The first is Lookout, which allows you to track your phone online via GPS, and also remotely lock and wipe your phone if you believe it’s stolen or permanently missing. The other is WaveSecure from McAfee, which offers location and SIM card tracking, backup and restore, and lock and wipe. WaveSecure costs $19.90 a year after a 7 day free trial.

SeekDroid ($4.99) is another app that offers a slew of features for tracking down a lost or stolen Android phone. You can access a web site to locate your device via GPS, set off the phone’s alarm, lock it, and remotely wipe it. SeekDroid even works if a thief swaps the SIM card. Phone Locator Pro ($3.99) and Where’s My Droid (Free) are also well-regarded Android phone recovery apps.

Windows Phone users

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 offers a very similar service to Android Device Manager called Find My Phone. Just log in to Windows Phone using your Microsoft ID and password and you will have the option to locate your phone, ring it, or erase all the data.

The old-fashioned way

All the above solutions rely on your phone having a cellular connection or being accessible through a Wi-Fi network. But what about the times when it’s turned off or a network isn’t available? Well, you can also revert to the tried and trusted method of including your name and contact info on your lock screen, so anyone who turns your phone on will immediately see who to call.

This is as easy as taking a photo of your contact info with your phone and then selecting it as your home screen, or you can design something a little more interesting and upload it from your computer. Remember, this may get you a quicker response from someone who randomly finds your lost phone but it’s unlikely to deter the criminals!

How to get rid of annoying apps on Facebook

You made the mistake of logging on to some obscure web site using your Facebook ID and now your News Feed is littered with irritating updates; or you stopped playing Bejeweled Blitz and Diamond Dash months ago but you are still pestered with constant reminders to check back in.

It often seems like you have moved on in life but your Facebook account is still stuck in the past. That’s because you have collected various apps along the way, and, like jilted lovers who won’t take no for an answer, they refuse to let you go.

Fortunately, Facebook has given us a way to show those annoying apps the door. Here’s how you do it.

  • Log in to Facebook, click on the little wheel at the top right-hand corner of any Facebook and choose Privacy Settings.
  • Choose Apps from the left-hand menu.
  • In the new window, you will see a list of Apps you use. Click on Edit next to the ones you want to get rid of. Scroll down to the bottom of the new window and click Remove app.
  • In the confirmation window, you will see a useful reminder that the app you have been using may still retain the data that you have already shared. More on that later. Here, you are just trying to remove the app from Facebook. Check the box and click Remove.
  • If you want to take the more drastic step of removing all apps from your Facebook account, follow the first two steps above and then click Edit next to Use apps, plugins, games and websites on Facebook and elsewhere.
  • Click on Turn Off Platform. Note that this not only disables all your existing Facebook apps but also means you won’t be able to use your Facebook account to log in to any third-party web sites. Also, even if you turn the platform back on, all your existing apps will have been removed and you will have to reinstall them to get them back.

app-settings

As mentioned above, removing an app from Facebook doesn’t mean that you are no longer registered with that app or web site. For example, if you signed up with Foursquare, UrbanSpoon or one of dozens of other third-party sites using your Facebook account, removing a related app on Facebook doesn’t mean you have severed your relationship with the third party. To do that, you would have to visit each individual web site and close or deactivate your account.

Facebook is already integrated with games, apps and third-party web sites on a massive scale and it’s only going to get worse. Every time you install an app or sign in to a web site using your Facebook account, you are handing over your personal data to developers, ad networks, and more. Even if you’re not concerned about a cluttered News Feed, it makes sense to give yourself a regular Facebook app check-up and get rid of the ones you no longer use.

How To Build an Audience for Your Videos

It has been possible to shoot video on cell phones for a number of years now but the level of sophistication of today’s smartphone cameras is taking video to a whole new level. Suddenly, amateur videographers who previously only shared their creations with family and a few close friends are now looking for a wider audience.

But how do you find that audience?

While there are many places online where you can share your videos, including Facebook, Vimeo, Shutterfly and more, YouTube remains the dominant force when it comes to Web-based video distribution. And, as the production values of videos have risen, so has the quality of YouTube, both as a broadcast platform and a potential production partner.

If you believe your videos are ready for primetime, YouTube encourages you to create your own channel, to generate a loyal following, and to raise the quality of your work along the way. The YouTube ‘Playbook’ incorporates important tips, best practices, and strategies on how to build an audience for your work. Here are a few of their recommendations:

Grab your audience early

Most people’s attention spans are short. With millions of videos to choose from, your audience will decide in the first 10-15 seconds whether they want to continue watching. Make the opening scenes of your video compelling and you will hook your audience for the rest.

Feed your feed

“A consistent audience requires consistent content!” This quote from Top YouTuber Freddie W. neatly describes the approach to building a fan base. Not only do you sustain an active channel by uploading videos but also by constantly engaging your audience through comments, ‘favoriting’ and ‘liking.’

Use trailers and short form video to get the audience interested

In much the same way that movie theaters tease an audience with trailers for future films, you can interest and excite your audience with clips and trailers from longer videos. And don’t be shy about publishing deleted scenes or bloopers!

Use analytics to understand your audience

Maybe your audience favors your more humorous offerings; or maybe they tend to watch more on weekends. Use whatever tools are available to understand your audience and tailor your videos accordingly.

Cross-promote and collaborate

Don’t try and exist in isolation. It’s much harder to get noticed and it greatly reduces the chances of one of your videos going viral. Collaborate as much as you can and see if you can ‘guest’ on other people’s channels or appear in other people’s videos. After all, YouTube is not just a home for video but it’s arguably the biggest social network of them all!

How to choose the right video games

You finally gave in and bought your kids a gaming console but now comes the hard part: How do you make sure that your kids are playing age-appropriate games?

There is certainly no shortage of great titles for teens and younger kids. Despite the fact that games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed grab all the headlines, M-rated titles represent only 5 percent of all games that receive a rating, according to statistics released by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). But if you’re not familiar with video games, how do you distinguish the good from the bad?

When checking on the suitability of a video game, the first place to start is with the ESRB Content Rating on the front and back of every game box. The ESRB provides movie-style ratings for every published game, breaking them down into six categories, from “Early Childhood” to “Adults Only”. The back of the box will also have a short description of any questionable content, e.g. “Lyrics” or “Blood, Violence.”

If you still have any questions on the suitability of a title, you can check out the game’s Rating Summary, which can be found on the ESRB web site. Rating Summaries include a detailed explanation of the content that factored into a game’s rating, including specific examples. Last year, the ESRB added a mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch, which allows you to access the Rating Summaries right from the store.

Remember that most ratings and Rating Summaries will not cover online interaction. You need to make sure you are comfortable with any component of the game that involves accessing the Internet.

Web sites such as Family Friendly Video Games and Common Sense Media also provide helpful tips on choosing appropriate titles. Don’t rely on what your children tell you, or on the claim that “everyone else has it.” You are selecting games for your child to play, not someone else’s.

But by far the best way to choose a great game for your children is to get involved with their gaming activities, and even pick up a controller yourself. You’ll get to know their interests and enjoy spending quality time with them…and you might just discover that video gaming is way more fun that you thought it was!

(Most gaming consoles also have extensive parental controls, with the controls on the Xbox One and the earlier Xbox 360 probably being the most comprehensive. Check the installation manual for instructions on how to implement these controls.)

How To Get the Most From Your Tablet

We carry our smartphones with us wherever we go, constantly checking them for e-mail and messages and flipping between those favorite apps that we can no longer live without. In contrast, tablets tend to be home-based devices, there for us when we need them but rarely accompanying us 24/7 as we go about our daily tasks.

However, the idea of a tablet as something to come home to greatly undervalues the extraordinary usefulness of these devices, and how they can enhance both our productivity at work and the quality of our entertainment experiences. Sometimes it only takes a few tweaks to turn a tablet from an occasional leisure device into a must-have everyday workhorse. Here are some suggestions:

1. Customize your home screen

If you want more from your tablet, then start by making it your own. Choose a unique wallpaper, download your favorite apps and widgets, and decorate the home page with photos of family and friends. Many tablets will let you set up slide shows or interactive backgrounds, so the images are constantly changing. Take advantage of all the available graphics to give it that personal touch!

2. Find the right keyboard style

Many people get frustrated with tablets because they are too small for the regular keyboard experience of a laptop but too big for the finger-tapping versatility of a smartphone. Because of this, tablet manufacturers have gone out of their way to come up with keyboard experiences that will suit any preferred typing style. There are on-screen keyboards, with finger-typing or Swype-style finger sliding; there are keyboards built in to the cover; or there are any number of plug-in or wireless options. Find a style you like, and your tablet will instantly become more useful!

3. Only download tablet apps

It’s easy to get frustrated when your favorite smartphone apps are either incompatible with your tablet or are not formatted for the larger screen. However, with tens of thousands of apps specifically designed for tablets, there is no excuse for not finding exactly what you want. In fact, once you start to familiarize yourself with the tablet app stores, you will uncover an amazing array of apps that are only available for tablets, including games, news magazines, video apps, and other entertainment options.

4. Watch your favorite shows

Talking of entertainment, nothing will get you to fall in love with your tablet more than having anytime, anywhere access to your favorite movies and TV shows. Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, or any of the many other options for watching movies and TV shows, a Wi-Fi or 4G LTE cellular tablet is the perfect platform for buffer-free on-the-go HD viewing.

5. Accessorize your new best friend

Once you’re up and running with your tablet, you can personalize it even more by adding an array of accessories. Along with keyboards and covers, there are tablet stands, docking stations, any number of protective cases, and even headrest mounts for watching your tablet in the back of the car.

Your tablet may never be as convenient as your smartphone, but if you invest a little time in customization and set-up, it will soon become just as valuable!

How To Organize Your Facebook Friends with Lists

When you first open a Facebook account, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to add new friends. After all, you don’t want to be the one with only 50 friends when everyone else has 500+. But there comes a time in most people’s Facebook lives when they scroll through their friends list and think “Who is that person?!”

If you don’t use your Facebook account to share family updates, bikini photos, or rants against your inconsiderate boss, then it probably doesn’t matter who you’ve picked up as a friend along the way. But if you do more with your Facebook page than post cat videos, then you might occasionally wish that you could restrict your updates to a slightly more select group.

Luckily, Facebook has made this extremely easy through the use of Lists.

The Facebook Lists option has been around for a couple of years now but it remains an extremely underutilized feature. This is partly through lack of awareness but there is also some confusion with the Facebook Groups feature. Groups are collections of individual Facebook members who are brought together around a common theme. They could be college alumni, classic car enthusiasts, or members of a local book club. The group can be Open, Closed or Secret but it is independent of any one member’s News Feed.

Lists, on the other hand, are a way of sub-dividing an individual Facebook member’s friends into more manageable categories. Lists came into being in 2011 when Facebook introduced Acquaintances. Facebook not-so-subtly describes Acquaintances as “Friends who should show up less in News Feed” – in other words, friends who aren’t really friends.

Very soon Facebook extended the Acquaintances feature to allow members to create any List of their choosing. To create a List, just click on the Friends header on the left-hand side of your Home page and then click on Create List. You will need to give the List a name and then you can start typing the names of the people you want to include. As each person appears, just click on their name to confirm. When you are finished adding names, click on Create and the List will appear in the left-hand column.

To make life easier, Facebook has also created Smart Lists, which are pre-populated Lists based on your family, your employment, your old school, and your location. For example, if you have identified various Facebook friends as sister, brother, nephew, etc., then they will automatically be added to your Family List. If some of your friends also share your employer, then they will be added to a List with your employer’s name.

With Lists you have complete control over who receives your updates. Just click on the little dropdown arrow when you are completing your post and select the appropriate List. Now, family moments can be shared with just family, office jokes can be shared with work colleagues, and comments on last weekend’s college reunion can be shared with just alumni.

There are two benefits to the Lists option. One is being able to control who sees your posts, the other is being able to divide up your News Feed. Again, just click on the appropriate List from the left-hand column and you will only see posts from those members included in that List. If you post an update while you are viewing the News Feed from a certain List, your update will automatically be restricted to members of that List.

There are a couple of things to note about Lists. First, Lists do not guarantee an additional layer of privacy. Because Lists are compiled from your total friends pool, there is likely to be a lot of cross-over with people not included on your Lists, so likes and comments might re-post your update to a wider audience within seconds. Second, even if you delete or edit a List, there is no impact on posts previously sent to that List.

However, if you are becoming overwhelmed by your growing number of Facebook friends and need a way to make everything more manageable, then Lists is a great place to start!