What is Facebook and why should you use it?
Facebook is a social networking service that lets you connect with friends, co-workers, and others who share similar interests or who have common backgrounds. Many use it as a way to stay in touch after finishing school, or as a way to share their life publicly. What makes Facebook different from other social networks are its extensive privacy controls, its development platform, and its large and quickly growing user base. Facebook has been called the "thinking person's" social network. Compared to many other social networks, Facebook gets new features and improvements on a regular basis.
Facebook, like other social networks, is all about getting in touch with others. Luckily for novice users, Facebook has created some simple ways to find your friends using your e-mail address, or the buddy list from your AOL instant messaging account. You can also search by name, or pull up listings based on your computer's address book.
To get started adding friends to Facebook (many of who may already be on the system), I recommend a multipronged attack. Use your most active Web mail account (Hotmail, as one example), and your AIM buddy list, which in some cases could pull up nearly everyone you know. Since everyone needs an e-mail address to sign up with Facebook, giving Facebook permission to use your existing address books should make it possible to track down everyone with whom you communicate.
Once you've added the people you know or remember (you can always add or delete them later on), one of your first steps should be filling out your own profile. You're welcome to do this before tracking down your friends, but you'll find that people are almost always constantly making tweaks to their profile, so nothing is set in stone. The two main things that are important here are a personal picture, and your contact information--both of which Facebook highlights when you're setting things up. For profile pictures, it can be anything you'd like, and you can simply upload an image to the service from your hard drive. Filling out the rest of your profile is as simple as completing any Web form. You're not required to include anything about yourself, so don't feel too inclined to fill out information you don't want others to see; which brings us to the topic of privacy, which you can read more about after the break...
Continue reading to learn about privacy, saying hello, "poking," sharing bookmarks, and using Facebook applications. We'll also delve into some advanced items, such as add-ons and hidden features.… Read more