A Guide to Facebook

Top Tips

What You Need to Know

  1. Do not reveal too much about yourself online.
  2. Keep your login details secure and do not share them.
  3. Do not discuss your work life on your profile page, especially if your colleagues are able to view it.
  4. Ensure your privacy settings adequate. You are able to put greater or lesser restrictions on how much people are able to see by tailoring your profile settings.
  5. To gain complete control over images you are tagged in, set your profile so that only you can see them. You then upload them again if you're happy with them.
  6. Suspicious-looking links may contain viruses and lead to your friends being spammed.

Is Facebook right for me?

Chances are that you have already heard about Facebook. The world's most popular social networking site is now used by one in 13 people on the planet, with the average user having around 130 friends. There is no doubt that using Facebook is an excellent way to communicate with friends and family, but some people are still reluctant to get involved and sign up.

It may be that you prefer to keep details of your life private and do not want to be hassled by long lost school friends, distant family members and work colleagues. If you don't fancy Facebook then there are plenty of alternatives, including sites for travel enthusiasts and people interested in gothic culture and charity fundraising. These include SocialVibe and WiserEarth. It is unlikely that many of your friends will have profiles on these smaller sites, but they offer a way to connect with like-minded people.

Facebook Profile

If you decide to go ahead and open a Facebook account then you will be required to make a profile. It is up to you how much or how little information you want this to contain. Generally it will include a photograph, as well as details of your work, education, birthday and relationship status. Your profile picture is the image people will see when they search for you or you make a comment on another friend's profile.


You can make your Facebook profile as private or as open as you wish. How private you make your page will probably depend on your age, your job and the kind of details you share. You can also have different privacy settings for different groups of people. For example, you can permit close friends and family to write on your wall and see photographs, while blocking other friends from doing this. People may be able to access your Facebook page by searching for you through Google. However, you can opt to remove yourself from search results by using the privacy settings tab at the top of your profile page.


There is nothing worse than having a dodgy picture taken of you, which is then displayed to all of your friends, family members and work colleagues through Facebook. If you want to prevent this from happening then use the profile privacy page to control who sees pictures you are tagged in. If you want to vet them all then change your settings so that only you can see the photographs. If you are happy with them, you can then download the pictures and upload them again yourself.

Your Employer

The newspapers have been filled with horror stories in recent years about Facebook users who have been sacked or disciplined over comments they have made online. Unless you have something positive to say, it is generally advisable not to talk about your employer or work colleagues online.

Many bosses monitor their employees' Facebook pages and are not likely to be pleased if you have publically criticised them or their organisation. Save these comments for when you are down the pub. If you are looking for a job or going for interviews it is advisable to check your Facebook profile and make sure it portrays you in a positive light. Although your privacy settings may prevent potential employers from reading your wall posts and status updates, they may be able to see your profile picture. If this features you dancing on a table or looking drunk, then it may be wise to replace it.

Further Reading

  • You can learn more by visiting Facebook
  • there are many videos on YouTube that explain social networking and provide tutorials for using Facebook.
  • Looking to make the most of the net? Read our guides to Spotify and Freecycle.

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