A Few Facebook Tips for New Users
Eventually most Facebook users figure it out by clicking around for a while. I hear the same questions and concerns frequently, so I thought that it might be helpful to post a few suggestions for new Facebook users. The Help pages for Facebook appear to be well written, you might want to check them out
I suggest that people be conservative about how much information they post to their profile. While information such as phone numbers, mailing address and date of birth are probably already in the public domain, do you want everyone who looks at your profile to know them? Date of birth is required to use Facebook; you can suppress its display, as you a number of other elements in your profile. While I wouldn't encourage anyone to set up false profiles, by using a throw away email ID or a fake birth date, how would anyone know?
(Lisa Fredrickson just sent me, minutes ago, a link to an article on Facebook privacy. I don't agree with all of the recommendations, but it is interesting: 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know And yes, Lisa sent it to me via a Facebook message.
Anything you post to Facebook can be seen and read by your "friends", and possibly "friends of friends". I would suggest that you start out conservatively, until you get a feel for Facebook. (Do you really want your elderly relatives or the Rabbi (G*d forbid!) to see that video of you covered in olive oil cavorting on a faux bearskin rug.)
I suggest that you be sensitive about wha,t you post, think about how it might make other people feel.
Facebook has a number of tools for finding people who you might want to add to your network. It is probably best to start out slowly and invite only a few friends to join your network, and resist the temptation to invite EVERYONE on your email list or all of 1973 Stanford graduating class. You will probably start getting loads of requests from people who want to be your friend, just by being on Facebook.
Do you want to see every comment your basheret makes on Facebook, but don't really care what your great-aunt Sadie's toy poodle Fifi had for breakfast this morning. There are a number of parameters that can be adjusted, to customize Facebook for you. When you sign up for Facebook, the defaults are adjusted to be fairly noisy, so as you add friends you may find you are getting way too much information. You can adjust the amount of newsfeed updates you get on your home page by clicking on the link to "Options for News Feed", at the bottom of your Facebook home page.
You can select friends who you want to hear more or less about, through the news feed option or by moving your cursor to the right of one of their news items and clicking on "edit".
In addition to the basic Facebook functions, you can add applications. You should be a little wary of these. Many of these applications are from 3rd parties and want to collect information and others are total wastes of time and somewhat invasive. On the other hand, some are quite useful.
While the owners of Facebook would like their site to be your only "Web 2.0" site, there are some sites that IMHO provide better versions of features that Facebook provides, at least, as of this writing (Feb. 2009). Facebook offers an Inbox and Messaging facility; I believe that regular email is better. For serious photographers, Flickr.com is a way better place to post photos. Blogs are a good way to share thoughtful information. Skype or
are better for IM Chats. And the list goes on, one of these days, I will post recommendations on the boborama.net website.
And please remember that Facebook is a privately owned company, which could be bought by the evil-doers or change their use policy at any time. So, don't put all your web surfing eggs in one proverbial basket.
I hope this is helpful, if you have other suggestions or comments. Please post them to the MCJC group page.
© Robert G. Evans 2009
updated 02/27/2009 - rge