What Is Facebook?
Facebook is the hottest medium for social networking today. Launched in 2004, it was created by Mark Zuckerberg and several classmates in his Harvard dorm room. The site allows people to friend (friending refers to the act of finding friends and family and sending them a request. Once you have approved someone, or vice versa, you can see each other’s profiles and communicate via messaging or by writing on each other’s timelines), exchange messages and meet people with similar interests by joining groups and liking fan pages. When Facebook first started, it was only open to students at Harvard, but soon expanded to other Ivy League schools, then to all colleges and universities and eventually to anyone over the age of 13. However, that age limit doesn’t stop people from signing their underage children up for the site. A May 2011 Consumer Reports study found 7.5 million children under the age of 13 currently have accounts. On average, Facebook removes 20,000 accounts per day for violations of terms of service; most of the accounts belong to children under age 13.
Facebook can be a great way for seniors to reconnect with old friends and stay in touch with family and friends all over the world. More and more seniors are accessing the Internet, and odds are, many of them are using Facebook on some level. With nearly 37 million senior citizens in the United States alone and just over 350,000 people becoming senior citizens each year, the demographic of seniors using the Internet is growing rapidly. People in the 65-74 age range account for nearly six percent of Internet users and 36% of seniors are regular Internet users.
Why Seniors Should Use It + Tips for Not Getting Overwhelmed By It
For someone new to Facebook, it can seem overwhelming, but it’s not something to be afraid of. With a little practice, you can be as adept as your children and grandchildren at using the site. There are a few things to keep in mind when accessing Facebook, especially for the first time.
1. Remain open-minded. This is quite possibly the most important thing. Facebook will likely be frustrating for you the first few times you use it. This isn’t meant to scare you off, but it can be a lot for a beginner, of any age, to take in. It’s still possible to get frustrated and not understand how things work, even if you’ve been actively using the site for several years. It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook is not something to be afraid of and staying open-minded will make it more fun and help you learn something new in the process.
2. Look at Facebook as another way of communicating with friends and family. It’s likely you’ll find many of your family members and friends already on the site. You may even find family members you didn’t know existed. I found a cousin several years ago whose grandfather was my grandfather’s first cousin. The more Facebook grows, the more convenient it becomes. Because it’s a free site, the only cost involved would be Internet service at your home, which you likely already have. The most important thing to have when beginning your foray into Facebook is patience! Being patient will go a long way toward helping you navigate the site quickly and easily.
3. There are a few reasons to join Facebook, but the most common reason is to keep in touch with friends and family. Perhaps your children and grandchildren live in a different state. Their parents may use Facebook to share photos with numerous people rather than sending out multiple e-mails to individual people. Facebook provides a way to share information quickly and efficiently. You can also find people around the world who share the same interests and hobbies you do or believe in the same causes. There are also a number of popular games on Facebook you can play, with friends and/or with people you don’t know. It’s a great opportunity to make a new friend or two while keeping your brain strong.
A. Fan Pages: These are pages made for celebrities or places or books or TV shows or movies or musical groups. You can “like” a page and the status updates will appear in your news feed. A news feed is where you see information from your friends. Many companies have fan pages, including restaurants, local businesses and corporations. Liking these pages can provide a forum for sharing your opinion about a company, whether it’s good or bad. For example, someone I know recently had a problem with a nationwide plumbing company. She sent a letter to their corporate office, but got no response. Posting to their Facebook page numerous times and chatting with other people who had had the same issues finally led to a result she could be happy with. However, it’s also important to post the good stuff. If you have a meal at a restaurant and the service was exceptional, post something about it on the page for that business. Your feedback will not go unnoticed.
How Timeline Works
Timeline is still a relatively new addition to Facebook, but everyone has it. If you are new to Facebook, you will automatically get timeline when you sign up. Timeline is basically a glorified wall. You can interact with your friends via their timelines, but there are a few other things you can do that you couldn’t do with previous versions of Facebook. One of those things is adding major life events to your timeline. You might add your high school and college graduation dates, your wedding date and the birthdates of your children and/or grandchildren.
Another capability of timeline is that you can go all the way back to when you joined Facebook and see what people wrote on your wall, pages you liked, photos you posted and more. It serves as a visual diary of your life. Obviously if you’re new to Facebook, you won’t be able to go that far back, but I can go all the way back to when I joined the site in 2005. It’s actually pretty interesting. There are a lot of things I had forgotten about and it is nice to have a brief reminder of those memories.
There are some cons to timeline, such as posts jumping around. Often, posts will jump back and forth from the left side to the right side. Unfortunately, this can’t be prevented. It means something you posted this morning might end up further down on your timeline just a few hours later. I don’t like this, as it means posts get lost in the shuffle. If you asked a question, looking for a restaurant recommendation or something, and nobody replied, it doesn’t mean they’re ignoring you. It just means your post might have gotten buried or not shown up in your friends news feeds at all.
If you have timeline, be patient. It will get easier to use over time. I voluntarily switched over to it and love it. I actually find it easier to use than previous versions of the site, but I’ve also been using Facebook for a long time, so the changes don’t really faze me anymore.