SANDY BERGER: Joining Facebook Is Easy and So Much Fun
A few months ago I joined Facebook and invited you all to join and be my "Facebook" friends.
I must say that the response was overwhelming. I am closing in on 1,000 friends on Facebook, and I am truly enjoying finding out about everyone's interests, their daily lives and, especially, their philosophy on life.
It is not surprising that I have been inundated with questions about Facebook from both new and potential new users. How do you get new friends? What about the games? I've even had several people who have accumulated so many friends that they wonder how they can handle all the posts. So today, I'll try to answer a few of these questions.
Let's talk about getting started first. Basically, Facebook will walk you through the sign-up process, and it is quite easy. After you enter your name and some basic information, you are quickly taken through the registration procedure.
During that process you are asked if you want Facebook to find friends from your address book, which Facebook can do automatically from Outlook, Outlook Express, Apple Mail and a few other e-mail programs. This is an easy process. Or you can go through your address book yourself, find friends who are already on Facebook, and invite those who do not yet belong to join and be your friend.
The Facebook help file can be found at www.facebook.com/help. There is also a Help choice, but it is somewhat hidden at the bottom right of the page.
Once you are in the Help Center, you will see a Getting Started Guide, which will walk you through posting your picture and your profile and give you more information on finding friends and using Facebook. The Help Center general area will also answer many questions on using Facebook.
Once you have been on Facebook for a few days or weeks, you will probably be surprised to find how many people play games on Facebook. The game that is the biggest right now is called Mafia Wars. You will see people looking for objects to use in the game. If you want to try the game yourself, you just click on the Mafia Wars link that shows up in their post. You will be transported to the Mafia Wars page where you can sign up to play.
If you decide that you don't like the games, you can hide them so you won't be aggravated by seeing them constantly. This may sound a bit redundant, but there is a hidden menu that lets you hide the game.
When someone posts something from the game you want to hide, you simply move your mouse along the right side near the top of the post. A drop-down menu will appear where you can choose to hide the game. You can use the same procedure to hide all of the posts of any person. Just move your cursor to the right side of that person's post, move the cursor around till the hidden menu appears, and click to hide that person.
If you decide that you want to see any game or any person you have hidden, you simply click on "Edit Options," which is near the bottom of the page, and you can choose to see the game or the person that you have hidden.
As you use Facebook, you will accumulate friends. That's part of the fun of it -- keeping up with old friends and finding new ones. If you amass more than 20 or 30 friends, you may want to make using Facebook easier by putting your friends in lists. Just click on the Friends option from the top menu and choose All Friends. Next to each friends name you will see a place where you can add their name to a list.
You may want to put all of your family members in one list, business associates in another and acquaintances in a third. You can create many lists. The beauty of lists is they allow you to check on the posts of some people more often than the others.
To do this, you simply go to your Home Page where you will see your lists on the left side of the page. Click on any list and you will see only the posts of the members of that list. Click on News Feed and you will see all of the posts of all of your friends. By using lists, you can always quickly check on what's going on with your family or certain friends without having to look through everyone's posts.
Facebook is fun. I have made new friends and have resurrected some old friendships as well. If you decide to try it, don't forget to put me on your friend list. You can find me pretty easily at www.facebook.com/sandyberger. (Yes, I got the Sandy Berger Facebook address before that political scoundrel with the same name.)
Sandy Berger welcomes all of your questions and comments on today's column. Please post them on the Compu-Kiss Message Board at www.compukiss.com/happycomputing.
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