Welcome to Facebook! Now that you know about the basics and how to change privacy settings to your liking, it’s time to learn about how to navigate the site.
Each time you log into Facebook, you’ll be directed to your personalized homepage. Read the caption below the screenshot that corresponds to one of the functions we’ve numbered to see what it does.
1. Menu – Navigate to other parts of Facebook here. Go to the events page, check out some apps, or keep connected with groups you’re a part of.
2. Search Bar – Use this bar to search for friends, groups, or other Facebook pages that may be of interest to you (such as bands or actors). When you click on this bar and begin typing, Facebook will automatically make suggestions about what you’re looking for, based on what you type.
3. Publisher – Here is where you can post a status update, video, or photo to Facebook. You can also add information such as how you are feeling, where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with. Once you click Post, it’ll show up at the top of your News Feed, as well as on the News Feeds of friends.
4. News Feed – The bulk of your homepage consists of your News Feed. The News Feed shows you what your friends and the pages that you have “liked” have been posting. This can include all of the same kinds of information that you can post on Facebook, such as photo, videos, where they are, who they’re with, what they’re doing, or just something that they find interesting. Your own status updates appear here, too.
5. You – Click here to go to your personal Timeline on Facebook.
6. Alerts – This is where you will be notified if there is any activity on Facebook involving you. There are three different types of alerts: Friend Requests, Messages, and Notifications.
Friend Requests appear when someone asks to add you as a friend. You can also use this button to send friend requests of your own, or change who can send you friend requests.
Messages will appear if someone sends you a private message. You can also use this button as a shortcut to send a private message back to them, or to send a private message to somebody else. Our Facebook Messages tutorial has more information on how to use this feature.
Notifications appear if someone interacts with you in any other way on Facebook. Examples include if someone ‘likes’ or comments on a status update or comment that you wrote, or invites you to ‘like’ a page, play a game, or join an event or group.
7. Privacy and Other Options – The two buttons here allow you to adjust your privacy settings and access more advanced settings, respectively.
8. Trending – This is a list of key words or phrases that lots of people on Facebook are currently reading and posting related information about. Clicking one takes you to a new News Feed that contains only posts that have been tagged with that word or phrase, similar to how selecting a friends list shows you only posts that have been made by those friends.
9. Facebook Chat – See which of your friends are logged into Facebook so that you can instantly have a private conversation with them. Friends who are logged in will and available to chat will have a green light beside their name, along with “Web” or “Mobile” to denote whether they are logged in on a computer or on a smartphone. Friends who are currently logged out of Facebook but can receive messages on their smartphone will have a grey phone icon next to their name, along with how long they’ve been logged out. For instructions on how to use this function, head over to our Facebook Chat tutorial.
How the News Feed Works
Your News Feed contains status updates posted by you, your friends, or pages that you ‘like’. However, you may also see status updates from people who aren’t your friends or pages that you haven’t ‘liked’. This usually happens because people who are your friends ‘like’ or comment on these status updates. If you don’t want to see posts on your News Feed from a particular friend or page, you can unfollow them by clicking on their name and going to their Timeline, and then clicking on the Following button.
The more you keep connected with someone via Facebook, the higher up on the News Feed their posts will be. Likewise, the more popular something is on Facebook in general, the higher up on your News Feed it will be. A status update with many comments and “likes”, for example, will rate higher than a status update with few comments or “likes”.
Your Facebook profile page shows your basic information, from your employer to your birth date. It also includes the Timeline, which allows you to see your history on Facebook. The Timeline contains all of your Facebook status updates in reverse chronological order, including all Facebook activity that your friends have tagged you in. By going into the “Timeline” and “Tagging” sections of your privacy settings, you are able to monitor and approve what goes on your Timeline.
We’ve numbered some other important areas of your profile page in the screenshot below; the captions below the picture will explain what they do.
1. Profile Picture – The photo that represents you on Facebook. If you’re on your own profile page, by clicking your profile picture, you can change it.
2. Cover Photo – The cover photo is like a background image for your profile. It is only visible when someone is on your Timeline, unlike your profile picture that is visible throughout Facebook (like when you comment on a status update, for example).
3. Menu Bar – This menu allows anyone to navigate through specific parts of your profile. For you, they’re also a quick way to move view and edit these sections. Everything in the menu section is shown briefly down the left-hand side of the Timeline.
4. Activity Log – Press this button to go to your Activity Log, where you can review and manage anything you do (or that is done involving you) on Facebook. We’ll have a more thorough tutorial on it later.
5. Publisher – As with the News Feed, the Timeline includes a Publisher. Anything you post here goes onto your Timeline below and into your News Feed, and can be viewed by others in accordance with your privacy settings. If you are on a friend’s profile, this Publisher allows you to post directly onto their Timeline.
And those are some of the options on the common pages of Facebook!