Facebook 101: Tips and Tricks Presented by Alpine Communications Excerpted from the Switched.com article posted Nov 13th 2008 http://www.switched.com/2008/11/13/facebook-101-25-tips-and-tricks/
Facebook 101: Tips and Tricks
Chances are, if you're not on Facebook already, then you're likely to be getting on it pretty soon. Whether it's your kids or your next door neighbor (or those old friends you just reunited with at your high school reunion), folks around you have been hounding you to sign up, set up a profile, and start "social-networking" with all your friends, and their friends, and so on.
Truth is, social-networking sites such as Facebook (and MySpace , Bebo , LinkedIn , etc) are increasingly turning into the first place people go when they get on the Internet, as these services offer e-mail, chat, music players, photo sharing, and so much more beyond just staying in touch with your Friends.
But the best (or worst) part about Facebook is all the people from your past who come out of the woodwork (we're talking grade-school past). All this means you'll want to look your very best on your Facebook profile, and make the best use of all that the service has to offer, which is why we've come up with tips that'll optimize your social-networking experience.
Facebook Main Page
Step 1 – Sign Up It’s free. Enter your first name, last name, email address, password, gender, and birthday.
Use a current profile picture
While Facebook allows you to post as many pictures as you like, and tag yourself in pictures that your friends have taken, the Web site only allows you one profile picture, so make it count. You may very well have some potential suitors on the Web site, so be sure to portray yourself as accurately as possible. A clear, well-lit picture of you will help you to put your best foot forward, particularly if it's a portrait or captures you in the midst of one of your favorite activities. And you might ought to refrain from using one of the pictures from that New Year's Eve party, as your profile picture is accessible to everybody on Facebook, even with the privacy settings engaged.
Invite All of Your Actual Friends (and Family)
For those of us who grew up in the pre- Facebook era, it's sometimes tough to reach out to old friends and say (in a smarmy voice) "will you be my Facebook friend?" But it's something we should all get over, because the flurry of social-networking only starts getting good when you have a size able community of folks you know and like that are also out there making new friends and contacts.
Don't add random friends
We have a hard time understanding the mindset of wanting to send friend requests to perfect strangers in faraway places, but plenty of people do it. If it happens that you stumble across somebody on the Web site whose profile piques your interest, it is best to send that person an introductory message. You wouldn't ask a stranger to lunch without speaking with them first, would you?
It's okay to decline random 'Friend' requests
Inevitably, you will receive friend requests from folks that you've never laid eyes on or, frankly, don't like all that much. In those instances, you are well within your rights to decline friend requests. No, really, it's okay.
Make friend suggestions on behalf of new members
When you become friends with somebody new to Facebook , you will get a prompt asking you to make "Friend Suggestions" on behalf of the newbie. Scroll through your list of friends, and
select the folks that are also friends of the new user. Notifications will be sent to those you select, informing them of the new friend's presence on the site. This is simply the nice thing to do, the Facebook equivalent to baking a pound cake for your new neighbor.
Know the difference between suggested friends and friend requests
This one may seem like a no- brainer, but it can be a challenge to tell the difference between "Suggested Friends" that your other Facebook pals are recommending, and actual people who are asking to be your friends (known as "Friend Requests"). So, to be clear: Suggested Friends are at the top of your pending Friend request page and Friend Requests are on the bottom half.
Note the “People You May Know” section at the top right of the page.
Do write on your friends' "Walls"
Possibly even more so than messaging, the Wall feature is the cornerstone of interpersonal communication on Facebook. That being the case, Facebook etiquette requires that you write on friends' walls periodically.
As the Wall is there for the whole world to see, though, it is best to follow some simple guidelines. When writing on a friend's Wall, don't leave personal information ("I got a new phone: (205) 555-1234."), sensitive correspondence ("Hey, man. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt passing away."), or incriminating stories ("I was just thinking about that time we got arrested in Tijuana. You remember that??").
Keep Wall postings light-hearted, leaving the other stuff for messages, or -- better yet -- e-mail.
Privacy Settings By clicking on “Account”, then “Privacy Settings” at the top of your homepage, you can put limitations on who can and cannot view different parts of your profile.
Manage your online profile, because potential employers may be checking
In the early days of the 'book, you didn't really have to worry about everyone having access to your friend lists, photos, profile, etc... Now, anybody can join the site, and we're not surprised to hear that employers are using Facebook as research for applicants, thanks to its treasure trove of information on people. While you don't have to be incredibly uptight and formal about it, it's probably a good idea to fill out your education, work, and interests on your profile, because it just could snag you that job interview.
On the cautionary side , use a bit of common sense when posting images and messages to the site. It's probably best not to post those pictures from that crazy party last weekend.
Update your 'Status'... occasionally
Let your friends know what or how you're doing with Facebook's 'Status' feature, the speech bubble situated near the top of your home page. Folks often use the feature to concisely and quickly inform their friends of personal goings on ("John Doe is now happily married to Jane."), current events ("Jane Doe is excited about the outcome of the Alabama-LSU game!") and – of course – non-sequiturs ("John Doe is a maniac, a maniac on the floor.")
While friends' Status updates can be fun to read, their humor decreases as their frequency increases. We don't need to know about your every move; one update every few days is certainly sufficient. And please keep your Status updates at least relatively interesting. Nobody cares to read: "John Doe is going to take a nap."
Create and invite 'Friends' to 'Events'
If you're hosting a party, going to a football game, putting on an art show, or something of the sort, Facebook has you covered. Create a Facebook Event for your happening and enter all the pertinent information. Once you've done that, you can invite folks from your friend list, as well as via e-mail, and designate
whether your event is open to all of Facebook, a particular network or just your friends, or whether it is only open to those you invite. If you're throwing a surprise party for somebody, then use the latter option.
Do 'tag' your friends in pictures
When you post a new picture, or just come across one a friend has posted, for that matter, you have the opportunity to "tag" the folks that appear in it. By doing so, you include that image in that particular friend's "Photos of..." section. This function is a particular boon to friends who do not own cameras and might not otherwise have many pictures on the site.
Your buddy will always be grateful for a tagged picture , unless, of course, it features him with his eyes closed or was taken when he was going through that awkward trying-to-grow-a-moustache phase in junior high school.
Make a page for your business, club, band, candidate, pet...
With Facebook's Page Manager application , you can create a Web page for – well – just about anything, from your social club or politician to your favorite puppy dog. Once you've started and customized your page, you can keep watch over the page's Web traffic and even promote it on the Web site, with the ability to target a specific demographic of Facebook members. Due to the ever-increasing number of those members, a Facebook page – and an advertisement, to boot – really could bolster the number of your business's customers, your group‘s fans or your candidate's supporters.
Be Wary of Scammers
As with any other popular place, Facebook (and other social-networking sites) has its share of evildoers -- namely, in the form of spam e-mail and Facebook messages and random messages posted on your wall . How to stay safe? We recommend typical online anti-scam best practices such as not opening any links or files in any e-mail messages or Facebook messages from folks you don't know. Also, be skeptical of links posted on your wall that don't seem legit (in other words, from random sites you've never heard of).
Safety The site provides Q&A general safety guidelines (How can I be safer on Facebook?), as well as sections focused on teens (I'm receiving unwanted messages. What should I do?) and parents (What should I do if my teen is being cyberbullied?).