Facebook.com recently celebrated its 6th birthday. Founded by a group of college students in February 2004, Facebook has more than 350 million members who use it to connect to family and friends.
Why do you need Facebook?
You don’t, but if you’re not on Facebook yet, you might want to join in the fun. There is no subscription fee to join, and you can set up an account in a matter of minutes. Facebook is similar to having a personal bulletin board – you write a sentence or two to tell your friends what you are doing, thinking, or planning. Your friends do the same. You can even post pictures and links and play games.
Setting up your account
- Use your real name
This way friends and family can find you easier
and, when you send “friend requests,” your friends and family will know who the request is from. If your name has changed since high school or college, you may want to include your former/maiden name.
- Add a photo. Facebook is casual. Changing profile photos on Facebook is part of the fun, so don’t get hung up on which photo to use initially.
- If security concerns you, Facebook allows you to implement certain settings to control who sees your picture, name, age, etc.
Searching for people to add to your friends list is as easy as typing in their name, part of their name, or their e-mail address. You decide who you want to “friend.”
Facebook allows you to passively follow your friends. If you don’t log on to the site for days, your friends don’t know, and you have the ability to look back and see what your friends have been up to.
In addition to finding and reconnecting with high school and college friends, you can also stay in touch with family – even if your family is local. (Keep in mind that some teenagers may find it “uncool” to “friend” their parents. Don’t be offended. That is their personal preference.)
I use Facebook for friends and family and rarely “friend” work acquaintances. I also don’t “friend” anyone I don’t know. Because of these restrictions, my “friends” list is less than 100. There are people on Facebook who have thousands of “friends.” I don’t enter the popularity contest.
Here’s a snippet of what my friends have shared in recent weeks:
- Listening to Nick Hornby’s latest book – Juliet, Naked – while painting sure makes the job easier!
(a neighbor two houses down the street)
- will be seeing Music Man at KFHS. Boy, I like those musicals!
(a former neighbor from our days in Spring, TX)
- Facebook: Yet another way to (try to) ignore the 20+ inches of snow in the driveway….
(an elementary school friend now living in Fairfax, VA)
- looking to the skies to see hot air balloons today…. depending on weather of course ~ it is the 21st Annual Hot Air Affair in Hudson, WI…..
(a former North Oaks neighbor now living in River Falls, WI)
- It started to snow at 10:30 this morning. It is coming down at about 1″ per hour. We are looking at perhaps 10″ or more by Saturday morning
(my father-in-law who lives in Powell, OH)
- I am gonna be a mom of a teenager in 3 more days! That makes me so old!!!
- need to figure out something to wear tonight. That is dressy, yet I can dance in. And is red. Hmm…
- cannot wait for Toy Story 3!
(my daughter, who’s at college 100 miles from home)
Some myths debunked
- Spam: If you open a Facebook account, you won’t be spammed. You control who has access to your email address and when emails are sent to you from Facebook. “No e-mails” is an option.
- Unwanted Friends: You control who your “friends” are – you must confirm any friend request and can reject any you want. You can even “unfriend” someone in the future, if you want.
- Privacy: You control what information each “friend” can see using easy privacy settings.
Check out “Facebook 101: The Basics,” which goes into more detail.
Have fun. I look forward to, perhaps, having some new friends on Facebook. Future blog postings will discuss the other fun features of Facebook including sharing photos and links. I’ll also explore the increasing number of businesses using Facebook.
Special thanks to my guest editor and daughter Sydney for her contributions to this blog posting.