Does it seem like everyone you know is pushing you to get on Facebook? Do your teenage grandkids tell you that it's the only way to keep up with them? Are your best friends from church using it to make plans? There is something remarkable about the hugely popular social-networking site: I first went on Facebook because I had to learn about it for my job, and then one day my college boyfriend, whom I hadn’t seen in 30 years, “friended” me. I was stunned. This site really works! And it's easy to create a Facebook page of your own.
How It Works
Facebook has millions of users, but you create your own home page and network within that larger group. After you become a Facebook member, you can invite friends and relatives to join your list of friends. When you visit your Facebook page, you can update your "status," by sharing what you're doing or what you're thinking. Your friends will see that update on their pages the next time they visit the site, and they can comment on your status or send you private messages about it. You can also share photos, videos, and website links with your friends and see the photos, videos, and links that they've posted. No one but your selected group of friends will see your updates.
1. Sign Up
First, go to the site: facebook.com. It's free to anyone who wants to join. Just fill in your name, gender, birthday (the date will suffice; no need to reveal the year), and e-mail address. Facebook does not publish your e-mail address but uses it to forward you any messages people send to you on the site. Then click "Sign Up." You'll be asked to enter a security code that appears on the page. This is called a "captcha," and it helps the site keep out spamming software. Soon, you'll receive an e-mail confirmation that your account has been launched. (If you don’t receive it right away, you may want to check your e-mail program's spam folder to make sure it didn't end up in there.)
2. Get Started
Click on the link in your confirmation e-mail and you'll be taken to Facebook's "Getting Started" page. If any of your friends have already been looking for you on Facebook, you'll see their names here and you can add them to your friend list, if you like.
3. Seek Your Friends
Facebook will now ask if you want to allow the program to scan your e-mail account to find any friends who are already registered on the site. This is a great way to find out if any of your friends, relatives, or professional contacts are on Facebook, and then, if you like, add them to your network. But none of them will be added automatically, and you don't have to include anyone you don't want. Rather, you'll be asked to choose which contacts you want to add to your network. (You can skip this step if you prefer.)
Next you'll have the opportunity to enter your high school, college, employers, or other affiliations, to find out whether more people you know might already be on Facebook. Again, the site gives you the option of adding each suggested person as a "friend" or ignoring them. You can always skip these steps or ignore people you don’t know or don't want to friend. (No one will ever know that you chose not to add them to your friend list.) Once you complete these steps, you'll be taken to your brand-new Facebook page. You're done!
Congratulations, you have a Facebook page! Now it’s up to you to set up and edit your profile. Be sure to upload a photo and add any other information you're comfortable sharing, such as what city you live in, where you work, and whether you're married. (You can set your Facebook preferences so that as little or much of your personal information as you like is shared with people outside your network of friends.) Now you can start sharing: Just go to the box at the top of your page that asks, “What’s on your mind?” and let your friends know what you're up to.
* The site was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, now 25, when he was a freshman at Harvard, as a virtual space for his classmates to connect.
* The site takes its name from the books of photos, or "facebooks," many colleges distribute so that each year's freshman class can get to know each other better.
* Facebook reports having more than 200 million active users, more than half of whom visit the site at least once a day.
* The fastest-growing group of Facebook users is people 35 years old and older
* The average Facebook user has 120 "friends" on the site.
* More than 30 million users update their status at least once a day.
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