How Facebook works: what you need to know

Everyone around you is on Facebook and they talk to you about it almost every day. Not to mention your classmates and colleagues: they too are eager for you to join the popular social network. In short, now almost everyone is on Facebook and all that's missing is you! If it's like that and you still haven't decided to join, it might be because you want to know more about how Facebook works. If that's the case, you've come to the right place.

Signing up for Facebook

The first thing you need to do before you can communicate on Facebook is to create an account. A procedure that you can easily do from the social network application for Android and iOS or from its official website. If you are interested, you can also download the Facebook app for Windows 10 via the Microsoft Store. In addition, you should know that you can download the free Facebook Lite app. It is available on Android and iOS. It is designed to be used on less powerful devices and also consuming less data, being optimized for 2G Internet connections. - The smartphone and the tablet If you intend to sign up for Facebook using the Facebook app for Android or iOS, you'll be happy to know that the process is very simple and immediate. Once you launch the app, tap on Sign up for Facebook, then Start and create an account by entering all the required data: first name, last name, date of birth and gender. Then choose to create an account using your cell phone number, or click on Use your email address and follow the on-screen procedures to confirm your account, either by pressing the Confirm your account button sent to you by Facebook or by entering the verification code received by message. Once you have created your account, you can begin to customize your profile by accessing it (by tapping on your photo, which should initially be the icon of a small man) and then pressing the Edit Profile button. On the next screen you can enter all your personal information and make your online description more complete. If you are unsure, please refer to my tutorial on how to create a Facebook profile or the one on how to subscribe to Facebook from your cell phone. - From your computer If you want to sign up for Facebook from a computer, link to the homepage of the social network and in the text fields on the screen, enter the data required for registration: first name, last name, cell phone number or email address, password, date of birth and gender, and then click the "Sign Up" button to start creating a new account. You will then be asked to confirm your email address or cell phone number by clicking the "Confirm Account" button or by typing in the confirmation code that was sent to you by Facebook. Once you have done this, you can already start adding contacts by clicking the Add Friends button. This procedure is optional and you can do it later. Next, you need to customize your profile. As you will see on the screen, click on the Add Image button, in order to upload a profile image, then click on your profile icon in the top right menu bar, in order to customize the cover image as well, by clicking on the Add Cover Image button.

How to use Facebook?

Once you are registered on Facebook, you can use all the features provided by this social network. - Add friends To get in touch with someone on Facebook, and send them private messages, you need to add them to your Facebook friends. It's very simple: Facebook itself will show you the profiles of some users, in a section called "People you might know", visible both in the Facebook for Android and iOS application and on your computer. Then click the Add button to send them an add request, which they will have to accept but can also decline. You can also view the list with other suggested people by pressing the button with the two little men symbol in the top bar of Facebook from your computer or in the bottom bar if you are using the app for smartphones and tablets. You can also add a person by using the Search text field at the top to enter a first and last name, then click the Add button and wait for the request to be accepted. If successful, you'll receive a notification from Facebook and you'll be able to see all the content posted by the added person. - Send Messages If you've added someone to your Facebook contacts, you can start a private conversation from your smartphone, tablet and computer. On smartphones and tablets, you'll need to download the Messenger app, which is available for free on Android and iOS (and is also available in a Lite version, which is optimized for less capable devices and 2G Internet connections, as it consumes less data per packet). On computers, however, you can take action using Facebook's built-in chat or using the Messenger website, dedicated to those who want to send private messages to users without the distractions of the News Feed. - The smartphone and the tablet If you want to send a private message to a Facebook contact from a smartphone or tablet, start the Messenger application previously downloaded on your device, tapping on its icon on the home screen or in the drawer, then log in with your Facebook credentials, so you can see the list of your contacts after syncing them, pressing the Activate button. If you've already started a conversation with a user, tap on their name on the main screen or on the text field at the top to find the name of the person you want to contact. To send a new private message on Facebook, you can also click on the pen and paper symbol in the upper right corner, then use the To: text field to type the name of the person you want to start a conversation with, or tap on one of the suggested names. In addition to texting, you can also send photos and emojis by pressing the button with the camera symbol or smiley face symbol respectively. - From your computer To start a private conversation with a Facebook contact from your computer, open Facebook's built-in chat by clicking on the cartoon icon in the top bar, or log in to the official Messenger site and sign in with your Facebook account details, so you can take advantage of the dedicated chat. In both cases, locate the person you want to send a message to from your contact list or, if you want, type the name of the person you want to contact in the text field. Click on the New Message button (on the Messenger site is the icon with the paper and pencil). Then use the Type a Message text field that you see below to write a text message. You can also use the icons just below, like the one with the smiley face symbol to send an emoji or the GIF button, which allows you to send an animated image. - Posting Another very important feature of Facebook is the possibility of sharing content with your contacts by posting messages in your profile, acting through the official website. In this regard, you should know that the content published on Facebook can be textual but also multimedia. You can also share photos, videos and status updates via the Facebook app for Android and iOS. Using Facebook from a smartphone, tablet or computer (the way the social network works here is the same), refer to the "News" section (on Android and iOS, this is the section with a newspaper symbol you see in the bar at the bottom or top) or to your profile section, accessible by clicking on your profile image from the computer and on the icon with a little man symbol from an Android and iOS smartphone and tablet. Then, refer to the text field you can see in the bar at the top of the page, under the heading What do you think [your name]?" to type an update to your profile and share it with your friends on Facebook. Before doing so, by clicking on the "Share" button, choose to make a post with a colored background, by clicking on the boxes that appear, or share photos/videos, tag a friend or even share a mood/activity. In addition to the options just listed, other tools regarding publishing a post on Facebook are visible by pressing the symbol... For example, you can publish a GIF or a survey. In addition, you can choose to share the post you created in the "News" section and/or in your profile stories (Your Story), by checking the appropriate entries. Before you press the "Share" button, remember to set the privacy of the content you post. By default, in fact, content posted to Facebook is only visible to contacts, but by clicking on this menu item, you can, for example, choose to share a post with everyone or only with certain contacts except for certain contacts or only with certain specific contacts. - Posting stories On Facebook, you can also post stories, which is media content that remains visible in a special section of your profile for 24 hours, after which it can no longer be viewed. You can also tap the smiley symbol to apply filters and effects in real time, or add media content from your device's memory by tapping the media gallery in the bottom right. Before publishing the story, by tapping the Your Story button, you can use Facebook's story editor, which allows you to write on a photo or video (Aa), add a sticker, such as a poll (the smiley face symbol) and draw on photos or videos (the doodle symbol). If you prefer to publish the photo also in the "News" section, press the "Next" button and check the corresponding item, then press the "Share Now" button. Published articles can be viewed both on a smartphone/tablet and on a computer by clicking on the "Your archive" item (it is called "Archive on computer"). For more information on this feature, read my tutorial where I explain in detail how Facebook Stories work. - Interacting with friends, pages and groups Now that I've explained the main features of Facebook, we can move on to the part where I tell you how to interact with other users of the social network, for example by "liking", commenting and sharing the post of friends, pages or groups. In this case, the way Facebook interacts is the same in its use from smartphones and tablets as on computers. Therefore, once you have logged in to the platform with your previously registered account data, the first thing you will see is the News Feed, that is, the section in which the content posted by your friends, the groups you follow and the pages you like are located. That said, if you see content that interests you, you can interact with it by liking, commenting and/or sharing it. To do this, press the "Like" button (thumbs up symbol), touch it (from the computer) or hold it down (from the smartphone/tablet) to see the menu of reactions: these put to express themselves through emotions, like heart or Wow for example. If, on the other hand, you want to comment on the message displayed, press the Comment button and use the Write a comment text field to type the message, then send it by pressing the button with the airplane symbol. The "Share" button, on the other hand, allows you to share content of particular interest by posting it on your profile. You can do all of the above to interact with all public posts or posts shared by your friends or your friends' friends, depending on your privacy. Facebook Pages, on the other hand, are public, so you can see all the posts on them. In particular, if you find a page that interests you because you typed its name in the Facebook search engine, you can click on the Like button corresponding to that page, so that you can see in the newsfeed the content that is published. If you have found a group through the Facebook search engine and you want to interact with it, you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot see and interact with the content published in that group. In this case, it means that you are actually undefeated in a closed group: click on the Join Group button, in order to ask the group administrators for an invitation. Only when you are accepted and you are informed of your registration you will be able to interact with the content published in it, as already explained in the previous lines.
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