This article is written for those who are new to Facebook, BUT there are several important facts here that are not well-known or understood by many who have been using Facebook for years. Whether you are new or not, I strongly recommend reading this to make sure you understand some of the most foundational principles and policies of Facebook, whether it’s for personal or business use.
Profile (not Page)
First of all, your Facebook account, at its most basic level, is called your “profile.” (Some people mistakenly refer to it as their “personal page.”) You must be able to log in as yourself, an actual person.
Your Name on Facebook
Facebook wants your profile to reflect your real name (defined as the name you go by in everyday life – not necessarily your legal name). However, there may be a time when they require you to submit a type of ID that verifies the name you are using. Nicknames can be used, such as Bob for Robert or Kim for Kimberly. The crucial thing to understand is that Facebook may shut down your account if it believes you are using a name that is not authentic, by its definition. It’s best to play it safe and use your real name to stay in Facebook’s good graces. Since Facebook has been misused in the past to promote propaganda tied to phony profiles, they are more focused than ever on shutting down profiles that are not based on real persons.
One Login per Human
Only One Login for You – Always. You might be thinking that you need a completely different account/login for your business or other entity. Since your profile should be based on your real name (and there’s only one of you), that is definitely not true. One login is all you’ll ever need, and all Facebook ever wants you to have. As for the separation between your personal relationships and your business on Facebook, there is all the separation you need. Nobody who sees your business page(s) or advertisements can see the person/profile who created them. This simplifies things in that you only need a single login to administer all types of personal or business functions. Also, Facebook doesn’t want business or other assets floating around and not tied to an actual human.
Making Connections as Your Profile
When you open a Facebook account, you create a profile that reflects yourself as a real person. The next step is to make connections with other people or entities (such as businesses, charities, and more).
Having a Facebook “friend” means establishing a two-way connection between yourself and another person. This is done simply by sending another person a “friend request.” If the other person accepts the friend request, the two-way connection is established. By default, you will henceforth see each other’s posts in your News Feed (the main feed of information you see when you first log in to Facebook).
Connecting with Businesses and Other Entities
It works differently when making connections to businesses and other entities that are not an actual person. These entities are given the opportunity by Facebook to create a “Page,” which allows the public to be informed and engaged with the goings-on of that entity. If a person wants to stay informed by receiving the posts in their News Feed from that entity, the person can simply click “Like” on that Facebook page. People who Like a Facebook Page are sometimes called “fans” of that Page. (NEW: Facebook is dispensing with the Like button on some Pages in favor of a “Follow” button.)
Businesses and entities that are not an actual person are not able to send friend requests. If they were able to, it would probably ruin Facebook for everyone because people would be inundated with requests from innumerable enterprises that are eager to expand their reach.
When you decide to be connected with a business or other entity, there are several choices for the level of connection desired. You can choose for it to be a “favorite” if you want a larger degree of exposure in your News Feed. You can keep the default setting, which will give a standard amount of exposure in your News Feed. You can “snooze” a Page, meaning Facebook will stop showing their posts in your News Feed for the next 30 days. Or you can “unfollow” a page. In this case, you are still logged as someone who Likes the page, but you choose to not see posts from that page in your News Feed.
This adds a level of complexity that can create confusion, but it’s most easily explained in that you can have a two-way friend connection with a friend — or be a fan of a Facebook page — but then choose not to see posts from them in your News Feed. This is a good solution in some cases. For example, perhaps there is a family member with whom you want to be connected, but you find their posts to be offensive. You can keep the friend connection intact but then unfollow them to avoid their posts. Or, perhaps there’s a non-profit organization that you like to support but find their fundraising posts to be too frequent or aggressive. You could unfollow the Page while still being a fan.
Facebook Groups are one of the best features of Facebook. If you have an interest, hobby, or profession that could benefit from being connected to other like-minded people, there is probably a Facebook group that you could join. And if not, you could create one and invite other people to join.
Facebook gives group creators and managers a wide array of tools to use to keep the group at its most productive. This includes the ability to keep the group open or closed (a closed group means that only people who meet certain requirements can join), and ways to explain rules, such as what type of subject matter is allowed and what isn’t.
The Primary Way to See Information
As I already mentioned, the News Feed is the information stream you see when you first log in to Facebook. It’s also called the Home screen. It’s the primary place to go to see the latest posts from your Facebook friends, other entities, and even groups you have joined. Keep in mind that the News Feed doesn’t show everything. This is a chosen set of posts that Facebook thinks you’ll be interested in. It won’t show all of the posts from all of the people and entities you follow. Why, you might ask? Because Facebook’s goal is to keep you interested and engaged, so it uses an algorithm to cull the information it calculates will be most interesting to you. That doesn’t mean you can’t see other posts. There are ways to find other posts, for example, you can click on the name of a Facebook Page to be directed there and find all of their recent posts. You can also subdivide those you follow into Lists that can create separate feeds for subgroups (e.g., You could create a List of only family members).
The Primary Way to Share Information
At the top of the main page, above your News Feed stream, you will see an open field that invites you to write something to share. You can simply add some text and then click the button to post it. This will send it out to be seen the News Feeds of your Facebook friends. You can also add pictures, videos, and more. You’ll also see other options for special purpose posts, such as creating events, fundraisers, broadcasting live video, asking for recommendations, and more.
Although Facebook’s primary function is to distribute posts to a group of people at the same time, they understand how one-to-one messaging is important too. So Facebook added a text-messaging-like feature to all accounts. This feature is now known as Messenger. Although it’s built into Facebook through its website interface, it also now has stand-alone tools to use, such as a phone app (called Messenger) and a website interface (www.Messenger.com). Through Messenger, you can send text messages, as well as photos, videos, files, money, and audio recordings to other people on Facebook. You can also initiate a two-way audio conversation (like a phone call) or a face-to-face video meeting.
Security of Your Account
Having a strong password is the first and most important step to take when considering the security of your account. Beyond that, Facebook offers a number of features to help keep your account secure, as well as features to help you get access again in case you get locked out.
Some of those features include:
- Two-factor authorization
- Recovery codes
- Security keys (hardware device)
- Trusted contacts
On Privacy and Privacy Settings
When you go into account settings, you’ll see a wide variety of ways to adjust the privacy of your account. Everyone is different, so you have choices to match your comfort level. Also, Facebook has a Privacy Checkup page that is a hub for various topics related to your privacy settings. Some of those topics include:
- Who can send you friend requests?
- Who can look you up by your phone number and email address?
- Who can see the people, pages, and lists you follow?
- Who can see your past posts?
- Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?
Also, you can choose whether you want advertisers to be able to reach you based on your relationship status, employer, job title, or education.
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