What is Facebook
Facebook is the most widely used social networking service in the world. By using Facebook you can:
- Share information, cheaply and easily, with friends and family all over the world.
- Join common-interest groups organised by schools, businesses charities and the like.
If you have an internet connection and an email address you are ready and able to use Facebook. There is no charge associated with using Facebook.
This article will give you step by step instructions of how to:
- Set-up your Facebook account – register
- Use your account – create a profile
- Ensure security and privacy
- Exit Facebook elegantly or abandon ship with no fear of damage
You will also be given basic guidance (there are other ways of achieving the same thing, but too many options can be confusing) on what you can do on Facebook and how to do it. You will be able to recognise where you are as you navigate through the screens. Once you are comfortable with logging into and out of your account, you will find that you are able to teach yourself as you go.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in 2004, while in his first year at Harvard university. The concept is based on the book given to students attending American universities at the beginning of the year, to help students get to know each other.
Membership was initially limited to Harvard students but proved so popular that it was soon extended to other universities and schools. According to the site’s terms of service, you must be at least 13 years old to have a Facebook account. With a reported 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts, it does not appear that this is enforced in any way.
The first thing you will need to do is register on Facebook so that you can set-up your profile. You will only register (sign up) once. Thereafter, you can simply login to your account. You can change aspects of your profile at any stage in the future.
If you are unsure of what to do on any of the Facebook pages, look for words written in blue. They are actions and you simply click on an action to initiate the process you have selected.
To register (sign up)
- Launch your internet browser
- Type in the following URLhttp://www.facebook.com
The following page will be displayed:
Fill in your details in the appropriate blocks. The Email address you supply on this page is the email address that will be used:
- as your login for future sessions
- by Facebook to send you notifications
- by friends searching for you
- by friends emailing you
- by Facebook as part of the validation process if you forget your password.
You will need to supply all the information requested. You can restrict who is able to view this information later.
Click on the green Sign Up button to continue with the registration process.
If you cannot seem to move onto the next page after having clicked on the Sign Up button, check that you have filled in all the information. You will notice that the site is very helpful and will give you instructions and let you know when you have made a mistake. (see Highlight 1)
You can always click on the Back option to backtrack and redo. (see Highlight 2)
Follow the instructions on the screen by typing in the two words you see on the screen.
Click on the green Sign Up button.
You can fill in all your details as you continue through the next 3 steps or you can add or change this information once your account has been created. To move to the next step click on the Skip (see Highlight 3) option, or the Save and Continue button on the following screens.
In the next step, you can upload a picture of something that identifies you. It could be a photograph of you, a picture that appeals to you or your business logo. This is the face you will show to the world. You do not need to load a picture at all.
At the top of your screen, you will see a prompt instructing you to access your email account. You will have 2 messages waiting for you from Facebook. One of them will give you a code you may be required to to type in on the site you can access by clicking on the URL in the email. You will notice that your email address forms part of the URL and you will be taken to your Facebook page to Login.You have completed the registration process successfully.
If you have had enough strain for the moment, you can leave Facebook at this stage by:
- Clicking on the downward facing arrow on the top right hand of the page
- a drop down list of options will be displayed and you can choose the Log Out option. This is a clean, elegant and correct way of exiting your account.
- Shutting down your browser. This will not do any harm and you will not lose anything unless you are in the middle oftyping a message.
You can use either of these methods to leave Facebook at any stage.
If you want to access your account after you have logged off or shut down your browser, simply:
- Launch your internet browser
- Type in the following URL http://www.facebook.com
If you are the only one working on your PC, Facebook will remember who you are and you will just need to type in your password to access your account. At worst, you will need to type in the email address you used when registering as well as your password.
You will recognise the page as the same one presented to you when you were registering. This time, you will use a different part of the page. (see Highlight 4 )
A Facebook page has a basic structure, so you will always have a reference point when all the screens look the same and you don’t know how you got to that point. Remember too that you can always just log off and login again as your starting point is always the same.
There are 4 panes to the page:
- Actions, lists and applications. These remain visible wherever you are on the site. You can move from one option to the next by selection that option with your mouse. You will notice that pane 2 and 3 will change depending on which option you have clicked in pane 1 because you initiate most of the actions from pane 1.
- You will be able to find friends, read news feeds, upload photos and maintain your profile in pane 2. Pane 2 is your interaction pane.
- Pane 3 is the supporting pane. It supports what is happening in pane 1 and 2. You will see help, instructions and suggestions in this pane. This is where advertisements will be displayed depending on what you are doing in your interaction pane.
- From the 4thpane, you will be able to:
- Modify your profile
- Find friends
- Log off
- As you make friends, they will appear in the 5th pane.
The example below shows the basic pattern of the pages.
The more information you display to the world, the more social your experience will be, however, it is safer to adopt a more cautious approach to sharing personal details. Facebook has levels of privacy settings which, at the most basic level, are controlled by grouping your friends and family and granting access at list level (see Pane 1 for creating lists).
To get started, follow a few basic security steps:
- Restrict visibility of your details to your friends by:
- Click on the downward pointing arrow on the right hand side of pane 4
- Click on Privacy Settings
- Click on Edit Setting next to How You ConnectThe following are suggestions for restricting access. Click on the Done button when you are satisfied with your choices.
- Only accept friend requests from people you know.
- Click on Edit Settings next to How Tags Workunder the same Privacy setting option and select the following settings:
- Do not set any of your settings to Everyone.
- I would suggest that you do not use public computers to access your Facebook account without getting a better understanding of security issues first.
- Click on Home in Pane 4
There are many sophisticated privacy settings you can research through Google or look at the online help on Facebook.
Connecting to friends
To search for friends on Facebook, you can click on the Find Friends option in Pane 1. From there you can select the place you are most likely to find their details. This could for instance be Skype or Hotmail .
The broadest search option would be Other Tools. You will be given a list of categories to search by under Friends, Classmates and Co-workers. As you enter details of the person you are searching for on Facebook, a list of potential friends will be created in the right hand pane. Click on the name of the person and you will be prompted to Add as a friend. This will automatically send through the request to your potential Facebook friend.
Once you have made contact with a friend, Facebook will suggest potential friends to you based on the number of mutual friends you share.
You will be prompted to respond when someone sends you a friend request. You will be given the option to ignore the request. They will not be told you have elected to ignore them.
Things to do from Pane 1:
- You can view friend’s photos and videos or upload your own to be shared.
- You can email your contacts
- You can write on their wall. Depending on your friends’ privacy settings anything you write on someone else’s wall can potentially be seen by all.
Enjoy your hours of fun and easy communication with friends and family all over the world.
Many thanks to Felicité Viviers for contributing this really interesting and informative article.