The 10 basics of Facebook

Before I returned to the writing life, Facebook was known to me only as a place in which many embarrassing photos of me — taken by my loving, smirking, family members — were floating around for the world to see.

Now I am the owner of a Facebook page, another option for my blog readers to connect with me. It’s also what I’m using to spread the word about Darla Writes as well as promote myself as a writer.

Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular social media tools. So, to keep in line with my writing mission, I signed up for both tools and I’m learning their worth as I go. What can these tools do for new writers who hope to be published someday?

The best way to get a good answer for that question is to start at the beginning.

What is Facebook?

  1. Facebook is a free social networking service that “helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”
  2. You can choose to have a personal Facebook account or a Facebook Page (i.e., businesses, celebrities, websites).
  3. Facebook users each have profile pages (name, age, education, and other personal information) that any registered user can see.
  4. Facebook accounts include privacy settings so users can choose who can see specific parts of their profiles. (Well… there is a lot of disagreement over just how private Facebook keeps its user information.)
  5. Users collect “friends.” Friends are people you connect and share with on the network. You may also “unfriend,” an action which removes a person from the friend status. (That’s not very friendly.)
  6. Friends on Facebook are either people you know, people who someone you know knows, or people you’d like to get to know. You connect with these friends via features like messages, chats, “liking,” and sharing. Users can ask to become your friend and there are various ways to accept, deny, or ignore the request.
  7. Users interact via the Wall, a space on every user’s profile page where people can post and read messages.
  8. Users can post “status updates,” a feature which allows you to post messages (e.g., their location or actions) that all your friends can see. Friends can then comment on the update or “like” it.
  9. There is a lot to “like” on Facebook: status updates, links, photos, advertisements, and other content. “Liking” content is the Facebook way to give positive feedback. You “like” something by clicking a “Like” button that you’ll find nearby. Fortunately, you can also “unlike” something. Heaven forbid if you discovered the link you just liked wasn’t as likable as you first thought.
  10. And last but not (by far) least: There are about 750 million Facebook users. It is the most visited website in the world.

As a writer, I opted to register a Facebook page instead of a personal account. Pages are different in that they include profiles that are publicly viewable. They have the look of personal profiles, but a Page user does not have access to most of the bells and whistles held by a personal user. I can add content and links as well as receive comments and “likes” from other Facebook users.  My page was easy to set up, and you can visit it by clicking the Facebook icon in the sidebar.

One of my short-term goals is to get 25 “likes,” the magic number Facebook requires before a page is eligible for a short user name. Currently my page address is long and full of numbers and not nearly as memorable as the lovely http://www.facebook.com/darlawrites that I’m striving to earn!

If you’re already a Facebook user, and this post is just a review for you, then please share this lesson with someone who can use it. Then head over to my Facebook page (excuse the ugly URL) and “Like” it!  I’ll work hard to learn the ins and outs of Facebook so that I can make the Darla Writes page another place of inspiration for my fellow writers.

Writers, we have the tools to share our work with others like never before. All we have to do is find those tools, learn how to use them, and take advantage of what they have to offer.

Let’s do it!

Question: What are your thoughts on using Facebook in your writing life? If you’ve never used it before, would you consider using it? Why or why not?


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