September 25, 2023   8:52pm

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Social media, obviously, isn’t just for the kids. Here, we demystify gifts, events, updates, pokes and whether or not to “friend” your kids …

From how to approach “pokes” to how to go about “friending,” read below for quick explanations and tips on your way to becoming a Facebook pro– without stepping on your kid’s toes.

Status Updates:

These are one-liners that people can post to their profile about any random thought they’re having at the moment or what they’re doing. Status updates can be found at the top of your homepage where it says “What’s on your mind?” Simply click in the tool box and begin typing. But remember, most members write status updates in the third person. For example, instead of Ashley Smith writing “I’m so tired right now!” a seasoned member would write, “Ashley Smith is so tired right now!” Any random thought or feeling will fly in this area.

People generally use this function as they would their Twitter page, and, since Facebook is formatted to look more like a Twitter page, the rules of the Twitterati have begun to bleed over.  Facebookers are even starting to use Twitter language in their status updates. For instance, if you want to respond to someone on Twitter an @ is placed before their Twitter name. If you are simply copying and pasting someone’s Twitter post, the letters “RT” (signifying Re-Twittering) is placed before the @TwitterName.  For instance, “RT @snoetytweet Can’t wait for Spring on Friday!” may be something you see on the site, as many users are now connecting their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Facebook also allows you to comment on someone’s status. So, for instance, if your friend posts that they’re looking for someone to see a movie with over the weekend, you can comment below and tell them you’re interested. Or, you can simply click the “Like” button that will make a thumbs up appear with your profile picture below their status. Your message and picture will be available for them (and the rest of the community) to see on their profile.


With the new Facebook homepage, the Status bar is now called the “Publisher.” The Publisher usually only posts status updates and any links, pictures or videos you choose to share with the community. This function has made the “Live feed” obsolete– something many die hard Facebookers are not fans of. The live feed used to allow users to see every action a user made on the site, but now it offers more privacy to the user, letting them clearly make a decision to share something. We like this more than the other stalker-friendly live feed, although it makes it slightly more difficult to keep up with friends this way.

Accepting the friendship of someone you don’t really care to keep up with that continues to pop up in your stream? Simply put your cursor over the update and click the X that appears to the right. This stops future updates from this person being posted on your page. Convenient. See below for a graphic describing the new homepage.



So now that you’re well immersed in Facebook, you can start joining causes and groups. Groups are a collection of Facebook members that support a similar cause or are part of a particular subset that aligns with their interests. Usually you’ll receive invitations to be a part of groups, or, if you’re eager to get started right away, search for keywords for your interests in the search bar and start joining. Be sure to check out the number of people in the group though, as many of them are just small inside jokes between friends. To avoid this, it might be better to check out a friend’s groups with similar interests.

Also, be aware that if you join a group, this makes you susceptible to group mailings flooding your Facebook in-box, which can be more than annoying if you’re A) not that interested in the group to begin with; B) have admins that send out way too many messages; and C) get excited when you see that you have a new message, only to find out that it’s spam. Just like with joining e-mail list-servs, be selective, but don’t worry, if you find yourself in one of these situations, you can always leave the group. Still want people to know that you stand for certain things without being in a group? Easy. Just add it to your interests or activities on your profile or become a fan of the cause.


With Facebook, inviting friends over for an event such as dinner or a birthday is easier than ever. Being able to create events is probably the most convenient social tool Facebook offers. It works similar to eVite, without the hassle of having to look up individual addresses, uploading address books or decorating your invitation. To create an event, go to “Events” on your applications listing and click on “+Create an Event” at the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Instructions on what to do will follow, including a convenient Facebook friend list for inviting people. On the event itself, you can load not only the who, what, when, where, why, but also photos, videos, songs, and RSVP function.

Feeling a little nosy? You can also access your friends events from the “Events” page.


Gifts are a little random, and (most) cost money. They’re small animations that you can give or receive from friends that appear on your profile. They usually run $1 for every gift, but considering they’re just animations of gifts, not even our pocket change is worth that. Unless, of course, a simple wall post is unable to convey the inside joke reference as powerfully as a gift can. If you feel so inclined to give a gift, simply click on the “Gifts” section of your profile and surf through the images.


Practically from the beginning, Facebook has included a “Poking” option. To poke a friend means whatever you want it to mean, and that’s straight from Facebook. Basically, it has become a practice used just to remind someone you’re thinking of them, whether it be an old friend, someone who hasn’t responded to a wall post/message in a while, a romantic interest, a significant other, anyone really. You can find the “Poke” function under your friends’ profile pictures. Pokes are private, meaning the rest of Facebook is not alerted in any way when you poke someone. Use these sparingly though, as, just with poking in the real world, it’s a slightly annoying way of trying to get someone’s attention.


Your Kids and Facebook

Now that you’re well on your way to becoming a Facebooking pro, keep this in mind while you’re friending people and browsing profiles: do NOT be the first to friend your children.

Facebook may not be on par with opening your kid’s diary, but it might as well be. You can see who their friends are, pictures (and sometimes, even video) of them, read notes their friends leave, and get a personal peak into their lives. But you, my friend, are not theirs. You’re a parent, which means friending your children may pressure them into purging their profile of everything not appropriate for mom or forcing them to Limited Profile you. Best to just let them know you’re on Facebook, and let them friend you if they want.

If you don’t take my advice and friend them anyway, try not to pry too much into their profile– that is, if you even can. Don’t be surprised if you’re unable to see their pictures, wall or anything else on their profile. This means you were probably Limited Profiled, and, while not the biggest diss in the world coming from your child, it might still make you wonder, and you don’t need that added stress. Best to just leave the friending up to them, and accept whatever they allow you to see, without question.

Did we miss something on Facebook you’ve been wondering about? Post any other questions you may have in the comment box below, and we’ll write back.

Modesta Zapata
Modesta’s at

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