Explaining Facebook

Recently my mother-in-law and husband joined up on Facebook, adding themselves to the “everyone else I know” contingent. And in the last week or so, both have had questions or comments about it. So as a public service, I hereby offer this explanation of what the heck you do with Facebook.

1) What the heck does it mean when you post that you have “Mastery in Artichokes”?
Facebook offers a bunch of games like “Mafia Wars”, “Farmville” and “Fish World” — to name a few. These are cooperative games, so if I do something in my game, I can offer a “bonus” to all my friends on Facebook who also play. This creates an altruistic incentive for me to do things like announce my recent Artichoke victory. The other people who play the game can get points because of it.

Facebook games are funny things. They’re pretty simple to play. The way you “win” is by checking in on them regularly. They’re also highly interactive. For example, in Farmville you visit your friend’s farms (you can see what they’re doing with them) and help out in some way. You’d think this would be entirely the purview of time-wasting losers like me, but I’m continually surprised and amused by just who plays and how seriously.

You have three choices when your Facebook friends keep announcing they’ve found Lost Kittens. First, you could join the game. Why not? You don’t have work to do anyway. Second, if you choose not to join the game, the appropriate thing to do is politely ignore the posts and pretend you don’t notice that your friend just posted about finding a lost moose on a rollercoaster. Third, if you find them annoying (and who can blame you if you do), you can block all similar content by hovering over the offending post. A drop down will appear on the right and pick “Block Farmville” (or whatever is driving you nuts).

No more cats
No more cats

2) Friend regret
So someone you vaguely remember from High School asked to be your friend. You thought she was nice enough 15 years ago. But once you friended her, you discovered that she keeps posting about Artichokes, church events, and linking to her boring blog. You don’t want to offend her by “un-friending” her, but you also really don’t care about the Advent Workshop (November 22nd after church! We’ll be making Advent Wreathes!). If you look at the image above, you can see that there is a “Hide (Name)” option. The person in question won’t know that you are “hiding” them, and you can still check on their wall if you want to talk to them about something or see what they’ve been up to.

3) Have you forgotten that I live across the country/will be taking care of our kids while you go this event?
Yesterday I sent out an invite to Prayer at the Close of Day tomorrow. My husband made a growly noise because since I will be there, he can’t be. My mom pointed out she lives 3000 miles away. But often times if you belong to a group (like our church group), invitations will go to all group members. I didn’t actually pick each and every person and send the invitation to them.

If you find Facebook is sending you too many emails (or not enough!) Facebook has very granular settings for controlling emails. Click on the “settings” link in the upper right hand corner when you are logged in. The third tab in controls notifications. Scroll through and make choices appropriate for how you want to be contacted:

More details than you ever wanted
More details than you ever wanted

Hopefully these will help you enjoy Facebook more. If you have any additional questions on how it works, please feel free to let me know!

Published by


Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s