Introduction to Facebook

Hi everyone! It’s Corbin from Techboomers, here to give you a primer on how to get started on Facebook. Chances are that you’ve at least heard this website’s name, and maybe even heard it referred to as an example of “social media”, but you may still be a bit confused as to what it’s all about. Basically, Facebook is a stage for people to show off what they find important or interesting to other people that they know or like. Those people can then show appreciation for, comment on, or ask questions about what they see from other people. If it helps, think as Facebook as a big game of show-and-tell.
There are two important steps to getting started on Facebook: creating an account and connecting with people, and adjusting your privacy settings.
Create an account and connect with people
The first step to joining Facebook is to create an account on the website. To do this, head over to www.facebook.com and fill out the form on the right side of the screen with your name, email address, account password, birth date, and gender. Then click “Sign Up”.
Facebook sign up
On the next screen, you can type in your email address again (or your other email addresses, if you have more than one), and Facebook will see if any of the people you’ve contacted over email have accounts on Facebook. If they do, you can send those people “friend requests”. A “friend request” is basically asking someone to add you as a contact on Facebook (i.e. contacts on Facebook are called “friends”). If they accept your “friend request”, then it generally becomes much easier for each of you to see what the other is doing on Facebook.
Once you’ve sent out “friend requests” based on whom you converse with over email, you can add more information about yourself. This includes where you live, where you grew up, where you went to high school and/or college/university, and where you work. You can also choose who can see this information on Facebook (see the next section). When you’re done, click “Continue”. Depending on what information you choose to put in, Facebook will find even more people whom you might know, and you can send each of them “friend requests”. If they accept, then you’ll be connected with them on Facebook! When you’re done, click “Next”.
Facebook 2
Next, you need to choose a picture to represent yourself on Facebook. Everyone on Facebook can see it, so make sure that it’s a nice picture. Click “Add Picture”, find the picture of yourself that you want to use on Facebook, and then click “Open”. Click and drag the corners of the frame (or the frame itself) to select the area of the photo that you want to use, then click “Save and Continue”.
The final step is to go to the email account that you used to sign up for Facebook, open the confirmation email that you receive, and click “Confirm Your Account”. This will verify your account for Facebook. Congratulations! You’re almost ready to start using Facebook!
If you’d like to see this process illustrated with pictures and videos, head over to this How to Create a Facebook Account tutorial on Techboomers.com.
Adjust your privacy settings
Just because Facebook is a “social” network doesn’t mean that privacy isn’t important when using it. There are certain things that you do on Facebook that might be understood by some people, but frowned upon by others (or are just none of their business, like sharing certain personal information). There are two general ways to control your privacy on Facebook: using the “audience selector” function, and by using “lists”.
The “audience selector” function allows you to quickly choose who can see information that you put on Facebook. Generally, you have four options: “Public” (i.e. everyone on Facebook), “Friends” (i.e. only people whom you’ve connected with on Facebook), “Only Me”, or “Custom” (which lets you include or exclude certain people or lists of people; we’ll cover lists in a minute). You can set a general rule as a shortcut, or you can choose for each piece of information that you post on Facebook.
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“Lists” are categories of people whom you’ve connected with on Facebook. Some are close personal friends, others are work colleagues, still others are old schoolmates… you can create lists to organize your “friends” on Facebook any way that you want. Once you add “friends” to a “list”, if you post information in that “list”, then only the people in that “list” will be able to see it. Conversely, if you post information on Facebook and use the “audience selector” to select a “Custom” audience (as described above), you can choose one or more “lists” of people whom you do or do not want to see that information.
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There are also other ways to control your privacy on Facebook, such as setting who can find you or send you “friend requests” on Facebook, or who can “tag” you (i.e. connect your name to a picture or other piece of information) on Facebook. For more information and detailed instructions on how to protect your privacy on Facebook, check out the following tutorials on Techboomers.com:

  • Understanding Facebook Privacy: www.techboomers.com/t/facebook-privacy
  • How to Change Facebook Privacy Settings: www.techboomers.com/t/changing-facebook-privacy-settings
  • Facebook Lists: www.techboomers.com/t/facebook-lists
  • Facebook Tagging: www.techboomers.com/t/facebook-tags
  • Facebook Account Settings: www.techboomers.com/t/facebook-account-settings

Once you create an account on Facebook and set your privacy options up the way that you want them, you’re ready to enjoy all that Facebook has to offer! Share your thoughts and interests with your friends, comment on what your friends are up to, organize real-life events, play games, and more! To learn how it all works, visit the rest of our Facebook tutorials on Techboomers.com!

About the Author

Steve Black

Techboomers is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use the most popular websites and apps on the Internet. It offers over 75 free courses composed of 1000+ video and article tutorials. A few of their most popular courses include: PayPal, LinkedIn, Instagram, eBay, and Uber.

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