Just joined Facebook; what do I need to know?

I put it off for a long time, but I am now on Facebook. I know nearly nothing about it. It seems to be required for making comments on some newspaper articles, so it seemed like a good idea.

I understand I can limit how much personal info is made public, but it’s not very apparent how to do that. I don’t mind telling strangers I’m 64, but I’d like to hold my birthday back.

I’ve been on Facebook for a couple years, and to date have posted exactly zero posts there. I log in there once or twice a years, for no particular reason.

I’ve surfed around on the site a bit, and find it to be impenetrably obscure. The navigation is bizarre and quite non-obvious. It’s like one of those computer games where part of the game is to try to figure out, on your own, how the game and its controls all work.

They really really need on on-line users manual. Or, if there is one, then they need a users manual that gives instructions on how to find the users manual.

It seems like the kind of site that you just need to spend umpty-ump of your hours at, just poking around and playing around, until your gradually get the hang of it, which is what I suppose all those millions of Facebookers have done in lieu of having a real life. It’s not really usable by the occasional user who isn’t into spending that much time there.

Just because something says “repost this on your own wall”, doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, it means you definitely shouldn’t.

Hi. I’m an occasional user who isn’t into spending that much time there. A combination of knowing how to navigate a Web site and knowing how to use a search engine has helped me to figure it out without spending umpty-ump hours at it in lieu of having a real life.

Now, in the service of actually helping the OP:

Click the little icon near the top right that looks like a lock, then click “see more settings.” It’ll let you fiddle with your privacy settings there, among other things.

There’s a padlock icon in the upper right, by your name. Click it and you can set all your privacy settings, like who can see what parts of your profile.

Whenever you post something, you can also specify who (if anyone) can see it.

Privacy on Facebook isn’t taken very seriously and various bugs and deliberate policy changes will sometimes let people see things you don’t want them to see. The company has gotten better at it over the years, but it’s still wise to not ever upload anything you wouldn’t want to risk going public.

I guess right off you should know that the “OMG!! Did she really tell her dad that!!” And “Win an iPhone” and “Starbucks is giving out free vouchers” links are all fake.

Do you like receiving offers from companies? You can Like their pages and some companies will update you. I get my news from newspapers’ pages.

On your page, there’s a link to View As… Once in a while it’s good to check what your page looks like to the public, to see if anything is leaking out.

You don’t have to enter any information on your FB profile other than your name. Somewhere in the signing up process they ask for your birthday. They mostly want it on the record that you’re at least 13 years old. I lied about my birthday, then selected the privacy option that nixed them ever posting my birthday.

Here’s a thing about FB they really don’t explain up front… if you sign up to play one of the games, like Farmville, in the fine print, not only do you give the game vendor permission to access the information in YOUR profile for however they want to use it, you’re also giving them permission to access the information in the profiles of everyone you’ve “friended” on FB. What really torques me off about that is if a “Friend” signs up for some game, that “Friend” is giving the vendor permission to use MY profile information. So, I keep minimal information in my profile. Don’t tell them anything you don’t want broadcasted.


I’d still be logging in only every other year, except that I must send frequent stickers and “Sweet dreams” to my daughter. And, although there are 19,444 “stickers” to choose from, AFAIK bold-face and italics are not options. :smack:

The interface seems obscure to me also. Add a link and change your mind before clicking Post? AFAICT, the only way to cancel that link is to log out and answer “Yes, that’s the whole point” when warned your post will be lost. I’m afraid I never knew (or deliberately forgot) whether Friends of Friends can see my posts to Friends, or just Friends of Relatives. (or is Relatives of Friends?) I do need to avoid “liking” pictures of my daughter’s pretty friends. :stuck_out_tongue: Hitting shift-enter instead of enter to add a new line to a comment is something I figured out myself. Do other FB users know this? Or do the target users prefer run-on paragraphs?

FB stock is now hugely valued, worth as much as Amazon or Merck. I may be about to buy some LEAP Puts – wish me luck!

Install Ponyhoof.

No, I have never used Facebook, since you ask.

Yup, and Facebook will periodically badger you to ‘complete’ your profile - such as identifying schools and universities you attended.
Notionally, this is so that it can help you connect with lost friends, but I don’t like it - so to make it stop hassling me, I filled in ‘University of None Of Your Damn Business’, etc.

I’ve used Facebook for years. I’ve never worried about privacy issues, and it has yet to cause any problems. YMMV, I guess.