An Adult's Guide To Facebook
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Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.
Social networking is not just for tech-savvy tweens and teens!
A few years ago, I had heard of the growing MySpace and Facebook phenomena, but had yet to take part.
When I finally did sign up for MySpace, I was shocked to find that my dad already had an account.
I signed up for Facebook as well, to compare the two sites. (Dad's on Facebook now, too. So is Mom, actually.)
Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter aren't just for the kids anymore!
MySpace vs. Facebook?
Since the time I joined both websites in about 2005, both have gone through some serious overhauls. At first, I preferred MySpace because of its simplicity and the ability to customize your profile background and layout. Eventually, I realized that, for whatever reason, more of my friends seemed to be on Facebook, so I tried to maintain my presence on both. MySpace recently underwent some changes, adding more "applications" and in a sense, making it seem more and more like Facebook. Facebook also revamped their site recently, making it almost Windows Vista-like, with tabs for different profile sections and applications.
The site you choose is up to you. Both MySpace and Facebook can help adults reconnect with old friends, keep in touch with family members, or meet new people.
Signing up for Facebook is free and easy. You supply your information and choose a "network" to belong to. Your network can be the city you live in, your hometown, or the college or high school that you went to. Belonging to a network makes it easy for you to find people that you may know in that area.
When filling out your profile, you can add as much or as little information about yourself as you would like. Your name, birthday, relationship status, schools, work. Your interests and activities, favorite music, books, tv shows, and movies. You can include a picture of yourself, as well.
You can start building your friend list by searching for people by name, e-mail address, or network. When you find the person you are looking for, you send a request asking them to be your Facebook "friend." One of the features that Facebook (and MySpace) has is that it will suggest "People You May Know" based on your network and mutual friends.
Your News Feed is a running list of interaction between you and your friends that appears on your home page. It is what lets you and others know what everyone is up to. In your profile and application settings, you can modify how much information appears in your News Feed.
Your News Feed will contain several links. You can use these links to navigate to friends' profiles, to different applications, and to photos. You can also post comments on the items that appear on your News Feed.
Facebook has several apps, or applications, that you can add to your profile. There are applications for everything from religious and political affiliations to trivia quizzes and virtual aquariums. When you add each application, you can change the settings so that as much or as little (or no) information about it appears in your news feed.
As far as I know, there is no limit to the number of applications that you add to your profile. If you tire of an application or decide that you don't like it, all you have to do is delete it.
Walls and Messages
You can communicate with people on Facebook in two ways. By posting comments to their wall, or by sending them a message.
Posting a comment to a friend's wall is a public action. Anyone that is friends with that person will be able to visit their profile and see what others have posted on their wall.
You can also send messages, like e-mail, to people on Facebook. These messages are private and can only be seen by the recipient. They will receive a notification that lets them know that they've received a message.
Groups and Fan Pages
When searching for people or applications on Facebook, you may come across pages or profiles for bands, movies, or TV shows. You can become a "fan" of the types of entertainment you enjoy, and these will be posted on your profile for others to see. Being a "fan" will give you updates and information such as upcoming concerts, movie and CD releases, and television appearances.
Facebook also has several "group" pages, where you can join a group based on your interests and preferences and post on the message or discussion board. This is another way to network and "meet" new people.
Is social networking for you?
You won't know if social networking is for you until you try it. I've been a member of both MySpace and Facebook, and have just recently joined the world of Twitter. My preferences have volleyed; for awhile I liked MySpace more than Facebook. Then MySpace changed their format, so I liked Facebook better. Then Facebook changed their format as well, and I guess I stuck with it. Technology changes all the time, and so do social networking sites. I just keep playing around with them until I figure things out!
Just like any fad, once you get involved, your interest in social networking may eventually wane at some time and it won't be nearly as exciting (or intimidating) as it may have once seemed.
Some people don't see the point in the online sites, still preferring to do their social networking face-to-face. Others quickly become dependent on social networking sites as a way to keep tabs on what their friends are doing. The whole purpose behind the website Twitter is to answer the question, "What are you doing?"
New mobile phone applications for Blackberry and the iPhone make it easy for people to do their social networking anywhere, at any time!
Try it and see! You may be surprised at who you run into online!
- Limit the amount of information you provide about yourself. You don't need to tell everybody everything.
- Do not give out any private personal information. I'm still skeptical when it comes to providing my address and phone number for all to see. You don't have to do this to join Facebook, so I don't.
- Think twice about accepting friend requests from people you don't know.
- If you make a Facebook or MySpace profile and decide that you're not going to maintain your site, go through all of the "delete account" procedures to remove your profile from cyberspace for good.
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