Facebook – social networking made simple
February 7th, 2011 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna
Facebook is a membership-based social networking website where users can create free personal or organizational profiles, set up pages and groups, add friends, become fans, and share messages, blog posts, photos and videos.
Originally created as Facemash by Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz, it is now the number one social networking tool in the world, with over 622,697,060 users.
In Canada, there are over 16,841,560 Facebook users, which accounts for almost 50% of the Canadian population.
The Facebook Pages feature allows organizations, businesses and individuals to create customizable pages and to connect with Facebook users. Usually, the Page displays the content posted by the Page administrators, but it can be set up to display content added by the Page Fans as well. Posts added to the Page will appear in the Fans’ personal News Feed, allowing the Page to directly reach and connect with its Fans, who often become strong supporters and brand advocates.
Many literacy organizations have set up Facebook Pages and use them to successfully connect with their users and supporters. Explore our Spotlight section to learn how ABC Life Literacy Canada is using The Power of Facebook to support the literacy cause.
Here are some of the organizations you will find on Facebook Pages:
When setting up a Facebook Page, Facebook assigns a long number to a page address, which can make it difficult to remember. However, it is possible to request a short and customized username. For example, we were able to set up a customized address – http://www.facebook.com/alphapluscentre – by filling out a request at http://www.facebook.com/username/. Please note that you will not be able to edit or transfer this username once you set it.
The Wall is a space on every Facebook user’s profile page that allows users to post messages, sometimes called ‘wall posts.’ It is often used to post the latest updates, add pictures or videos or share links. Wall posts will show up in the friends’ and Fans’ personal News Feed, allowing them to see the latest news and updates from the person or organization adding the post. Depending on the settings, it is also possible to write on someone’s wall, making it easy to communicate with others, but it is important to know that those posts will be seen by everyone connected to that wall. It is a very popular activity for Facebook users to leave short wall posts for their friends or other organizations (if they are permitted). You also have the ability to post comments, and you can post links or pictures. This is one of the primary tools used on this social network! Click here to explore how The LearningHUB uses the wall to inform its followers on the latest courses, publications and website updates.
When logged into their account, Facebook users can see who else in their network is online. Using a chat feature, they can then instantly talk to their online friends. This can be an excellent tool to help organizations connect with adult literacy learners. Here is a fantastic example of how a literacy educator from Hull City Council Adult and Community Learning in the UK directly supports her learners via a Facebook chat.
Some Facebook members love the extra third-party applications that can be added to the Facebook profile. There are fun applications where you can challenge connected friends to movie trivia or “poke” another member to say hello. Other applications allow users to post links to other sites or to set up RSS feeds for their Facebook page. These applications can be accessed via the Apps section.