You know how it is when you get to a certain age in life and have changed social circles a couple of time? You use to be involved with your kids and their friends and their friend’s parents, or you moved away or you’ve changed jobs or you have gone freelance…most likely you have lost touch with people that you enjoyed in your life. I know I have. But recently I found one great way to connect with all of my old buddies from all over the place. Don’t laugh…. it’s through Facebook!
You may have thought it was only for kids, but you would be mistaken. It started out that way, but over time the rest of us have discovered the benefits of this fun way of connecting.
What is Facebook Really?
Facebook is often called a social utility or social networking site, one of many that allows users to do such things as chat, share information, files, photos and videos, music, and more. O.K., so why would we need to do that when we have e-mail? We all have busy lives in our own little parts of the city or the globe and other than our six closest friends we tend to rely on proximity through work, church, clubs, schools etc. to meet and stay in touch with all of the other people that we enjoy knowing. Have you noticed though how easy it is to lose touch with people once you are no longer a part of their day to day lives? Do you even have their correct contact information? Probably not.
Recently, I came across my friend Sheryl’s name on Facebook. Our kids were in the same classes throughout the years. But since they have graduated and left home I rarely see her anymore. But would I pick up the phone and call her? Would I even e-mail her to see what was going on in her life? I probably wouldn’t. But I would and did “friend” her when I saw her on Facebook . And she confirmed that I was her friend and out of that exchange we ended up getting involved working on a project together.
Facebook is like hanging out at a cocktail party and catching up with people that you don’t see very often. You hear what they’re up to, tell them what you are doing and you may make some connections for work or fun. Thus the beauty of Facebook. It enhances your sense of community and allows you to network with people that are not in your immediate circle of buddies. It gives you access to friends of friends. Its great for marketing in the way that people would rather do business with people they know and like or that their friends know and like.
Pages and Profiles
Initially, Facebook was designed solely for individuals and only a person could have a “profile”. Now Facebook has the ability to add “pages” which are basically profiles that specifically represent a business, organization, musical group or author. So Sheryl and I each had an individual Facebook “Profile”, and then we started an alumni parents Facebook Page in order to stay in touch with other alum parents. Having individual profiles is cool but “Pages” are really wonderful ways of promoting a group or a business that you are involved in.
Are You Game to Try it?
It really won’t make total sense until you go ahead and do it. If you are ready the first step is to start up Facebook and make your Profile. Once you have a profile, you can find friends and join groups or pages . Don’t worry about being overcome with friends, Facebook gives you the option when you add a friend to have show you more or less about that person. As you add more friends, groups and networks, more information, events and news will be delivered or “pushed” to you.
In terms of privacy, Viewing the details of your profile is restricted to users from the same networks or confirmed friends. And Facebook gives you the ability to choose who can see what information about you and to determine how information about you shows up in searches. Of course, even though you have a great deal of control over who can view your information, remember the cardinal rule of posting anything on the web: don’t post anything that you don’t want the whole world to see.
How to get started using Facebook
- Go to Facebook and take the Site Tour (or go straight to Sign-Up and dive in)!
- Once you’ve signed up, make your profile page. (Tab found at top left, right of Facebook logo).
- Play with various links/tabs or look for any Paideia “friends” and see what they’ve been up to, to get ideas about what kind of mischief you can get into on your Facebook page. To get started try searching for people that you know that may already be there and inviting them to be your friend. You can also send e-mails to friends or family that are not on facebook and invite them to join and then friend them.
- When you logout and then log-in again, your page opens up to a News Feed page, which tells you what your friends have been up to; it might list a real news item or tell you if you have any “requests” you need to attend to. Oh. You’ll also find out if anyone has “poked” you lately. Yeousa!
- To change your profile you must click on the Profile edit tab. Your profile is seen by all your real “friends”; your “friends” will also be able to see ALL your other “friends” limited profiles, so, decide how selective you want to be about whom you invite or accept as a “friend”. The convention with the young folks who use Facebook is to be pretty open to “friend”-ships. You can group the friends and then assign different privacy levels for you different “friend” categories.
- You can add a link to your blog or blogs that you like, join groups like Facebook iPhone, or any number of thousands of groups that have made a place on Facebook. Heck! Make your own group! It’s very easy to do. Or, just start looking at what your “friends” have added and go to town!
- A Heads Up: If you write on someone’s wall, everyone can read it. If you click on the Inbox tab above right, left of home, you can send private emails that will only be seen by the recipients.
- The best way to learn about Facebook is really to just start looking around and clicking on things.
But if you’d like more detail then check out these 15 short (2 -3 minutes each) video tutorials on how to use different aspects and features of Facebook by Melissa Schenk at Expert Village.
Becoming a Fan of a Page
- Go to your profile page and search on an organization or product you like in the search box.
- When the page comes up there will be a choice to check off to Add as a Fan.
- That’s it. You are connected.
Now go have fun and let me know what you are up to. If you need help leave me a comment or call 770-714-8618 to get in touch with me and my company, New Tricks, Design and Communication. Our motto is
It’s Never Too Late.