Getting a Little “Face” Time

Its never easy living far away from loved ones. Phone conversations, or letters with photos tucked inside are nice to look forward to, but as good as our intentions may be, we never seem to pick up the phone as much as we’d like. If we do, it seems as if were playing a constant game of tag. Similarly, the art of letter writing seems to have gone by the wayside. Sending off a quick email is more efficient these days, than what is now known as snail mail, but it usually consists of just a quick note.

Fortunately, the Internet is constantly evolving and presenting us with new ways of staying in touch. Seniors who have access to a computer, or one of their own, should consider exploring Facebook is a wonderful tool, which allows you to keep up with family and friends day to day life. It even opens the possibility of finding old friends, and creating new ones. There is no fee to join or for using the website, and it is very simple to get started.

To begin, type into your browsers address bar, at the top of the screen.This will bring you to Facebook’s homepage. Once there, you will see on the right hand side where to sign up. You will be asked to enter your first and last name, and an email address. Your email address will allow Facebook to notify you if you’ve been tagged in a photo, when someone has written on your wall, or invited you to join in a discussion; all of which I will briefly explain in a bit.

The next step is to create a password. It is best to choose a word or name that you frequently use, and will be easily remembered. You will then select your gender, and input the month, day, and year of your birth date. You will also need to upload a photo of yourself, so when someone is searching for you they will be able to distinguish you from another Jane/John Doe. As strange as it may seem, there are other people out there with your exact same name. Click on the green Sign Up button when youre done, and youre ready to get started. For future visits, you will only need to input your email address and password to log on to the site.

Once you have signed on, you can begin searching for friends and loved ones. In the top right hand corner is a search box, where you can type in the name of the person you’re hoping to find. The next page will present you with a list of everyone who is a member of Facebook, with that name, along with a profile picture of them. Of course, you will then have to search for the one you know. Once you have found them, click the “add as friend” link to the right. You’ll have to wait for confirmation from that individual, that they have added you as a friend. Once confirmed, you will have access to all of their personal information, photos, and their friends photos and information. In turn, their friends will now have access to your profile too.

There are many ways to communicate on Facebook. You can send someone a quick message, similar to an email, which only they will see. The other option is to write on someones wall, as I mentioned earlier. This message will be seen by all of their and your mutual friends, which sometimes spurs a back and forth conversation between anyone who wishes to participate. This provides all types of interesting input and feedback.

Someone may have a new business they’re starting, an estate sale they’re having, or a new movie or book they’d like to discuss. If so, you can start a group and invite your friends to join in a discussion about the topic.

When you are tagged in a photo, this allows people to see the name of everyone in the picture, as they scroll over it with their mouse. One other tool that is interesting is, Whats on your mind? You can type in anything that is on your mind, at that moment. It will then add it next to your profile picture. You can change this blurb as many times as you’d like.

Even if you only have one friend or loved one that youve found, Facebook assists you in making other connections. They let you know what friend requests, or event invites you have waiting for you. There are also suggestions, including a short list of your friends, letting you know the mutual connections you have in common. Facebook suggests that you may know them, and wish to add them too!

Facebook is a fun and easy way to keep in touch with those that you don’t frequently get to visit with, or speak to as often as you’d like. So, the next time you sit down in front of your computer give Facebook a try. Youll feel more connected to those youre missing, and may even develop some new friendships you never new existed.