| Haven’t logged on to Facebook yet?
Here’s what you need to know to get started
Profile: This is your domain. You can be as detailed as you like. It has your name and photo, as well as secondary photos and photo albums, interests, contact info (be careful, people!), educational info (for reconnecting with school buddies) and your wall.
News Feed: This shows up as soon as you log in. It is a compendium of every little move that each of your friends make. You can see that your pal Adam added Freaks and Geeks to his favourite TV shows at 11:53 p.m. or that five of your friends are attending a birthday party at the current hot spot this weekend.
Friend Request: No Facebook user is an island. When you receive a friend request, you must decide whether to accept or reject (or, as I did for awhile, leave them languishing in an eternal purgatory). Saying no is mean, right? Well, that leads to the next function…
Limited Profile: This function is your ally when it comes to privacy. You can have a limited profile, which is entirely under your own control, leaving all the gory details to only your inner circle. Don’t want your work friends to see your boozy photos from last week’s stagette? Add your colleagues to your limited profile and remove the photos from it. Some people are overzealous with this function and you may be accepted as a friend only to see that they have blocked every last bit of information. Now that’s not a friend, is it?
The Wall: This is where your friends can leave you public messages; consider it virtual graffiti in plain view. So if your friend writes on your wall to thank you for taking her cross-border shopping on the day you called in sick, you are very, as they say, busted.
Wall Post: A message someone writes on your wall.
Gifts: On Facebook, you can give a gift to a friend just like you would in real life, except that it’s merely a cute icon. Still, it will cost you cold, hard cash ($1 each)! You get one free gift, however, so you could give someone a cute seal pup or a sparkling tiara for nada.
Tags: Anyone can upload a photo and “tag” each person in it. That means if someone still owns photographic evidence of you in your E.T. Halloween costume (improvised, of course, out of your mom’s old nylons) from 1983, they could scan and upload it and it would be directly linked to your profile.
Groups: Simply put, people start groups and you can join them. Whether it’s an appreciation society or a political movement, those groups have as much energy and force as their numbers indicate.
Poke: If you poke someone and they poke you back, it will allow you to see a limited view of their profile for a week, without committing to becoming their friend. Poking has proven so popular, that there’s now a SuperPoke function, which allows you to do all sorts of things, such as bite, karate chop or throw a sheep at someone. Only on Facebook!
Network: As Facebook puts it, “See people who live, study or work around you.” What it means is that if you join the “Ottawa” network, you will be able to see the profiles of everyone else who has done the same thing (provided they don’t create a limited profile).
Applications: A few examples of the functions you can add to your Facebook page: fill in a map of the world to show where you’ve been, add favourite songs or include a graffiti function so friends can draw pictures on your wall. There are new applications all the time.
For more information about facebook and social networking, pick up the latest issue of FLARE.