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Facebook seems to be everywhere. The majority of websites have a Facebook button where you can “Like” the company. Even TV advertisers have begun to sport the Facebook logo. So, it appears, Facebook is the online place to see and be seen. That leaves those poor users who do not have an account out in the cold. So, the answer is to get yourself a Facebook page, but how do you go about signing up?
Sign Up for Facebook
Simply type the Facebook.com address into the address bar of your browser and the log-in page will appear. You will see fields for email address and password, which you will use whenever you want to access your account once you’ve signed up. Below this is a “keep me logged in” box, which you should tick in future if you want to bypass the log-in page whenever you log on. The next section is the one we are interested in. Next to the log-in button is a link (highlighted in blue) which states “sign up for Facebook.” Click on this.
Creating New Account
You will be taken to the sign-up page. Complete all the fields on this page to generate your account: first name, last name, email address, re-enter email address (to make sure there are no typos), password, gender and date of birth (so they can provide the right content for minors). Then click “sign up” and your account will be created. All these details should automatically transfer to your profile once the page appears.
Edit Facebook Profile
Once you have an account you need to set up some basic details on your user page. There will be a space in the top left-hand corner for your photograph. Besides this will be your name and a link which states “edit my profile.” Click on the link and you will be taken to a suite of pages where you can update your basic information. The first page is for the most basic information, such as your hometown and date of birth, plus a short bio.
By clicking on the next item in the menu on the left hand side – profile picture – you will be taken to a page where you can upload a photo. After this comes friends and family, where you can link yourself to other Facebook users, followed by various pages where you can expand on your hobbies, likes, and personality. A word of warning on the last item – contact details. If you add all your contact information, be careful your page is not accessible to the general public. Certain security settings can allow anybody surfing the net to view your entire profile, and if your contact details are visible you could be opening yourself up for a whole lot of problems. Click on the “account” link at the top right hand side of the page and choose “privacy settings.” Ensure your default privacy settings are selected as “friends.” It is also a good idea to keep your contact details hidden. This can be done from the Contact Details page.
Finding Facebook Friends
Next comes probably one of the most important facilities on Facebook, finding your friends. If you look in the blue bar at the very top of the page there are several links on the right hand side. If you click on “find friends,” this will take you to a number of tick-boxes which, when highlighted, will suggest people you may know who are already on Facebook. It can take a lot of searching to find the people you want as friends but, once you have, clicking on their profile picture will take you to their public profile. Until you add them as your friend, and they have accepted, you won’t usually see much besides their photo and a little basic information. In order to see their full profile you need to click the “add friend” button beside their name. You will then get a message to say they have to agree you as a friend, and you will have to wait for them to accept the request.
Changing Facebook Status
There is not much more to do at this stage. The page you will see mostly is the newsfeed, which is accessed via the home button. This is not a guide to what’s happening in your local area but a real time update of your friend’s statuses as they are changed. This is the crowning glory of Facebook, the ability to inform all your friends what you are doing at any point in time. This page is where you can also update your own status. Go to the field at the top of the page (that holds the words “What’s on your mind?”) and type in anything you like. Once you have clicked “post” then everybody will be able to see what you have written, so you might want to be a bit circumspect in what you say. As you will soon learn, people write all sorts of things as their status and it is entirely up to you how often you change this.
Keep Me Logged In
Once you have done all you wish on Facebook, you can either log out by clicking on the “account” link at the top of the page and choosing “log out,” in which case you will have to log in again next time you visit, or you can merely close the page. If you have ticked the “keep me logged in” box then next time you open up Facebook you will be taken straight to the Home page.
If you have logged out, or forgot to tick the “keep me logged in” box, then you will have to log in again by typing your email address and password into the boxes at the right side of the blue band next time you visit. So it is always worth ticking the “keep me logged in” box unless you’re using a shared computer.
So you now have a Facebook account. You may find that you only dip in occasionally, or you might find yourself more and more addicted as you follow the lives of friends and colleagues through their status updates and replies. Whatever your level of use, you can feel confident that you have joined the online generation in the brave new world of social networking.