Facebook, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg, was created to map out—online-- people’s existing real-life relationships. Although this article is ancient given the speed at which the Web evolves, it’s good background information on this social force du jour.
But you’re eager to get your hands on this phenomenon you’ve heard so much about, right? Since the whole premise (or marketing angle depending on how cynical you are) of Facebook is that it’s about mapping out your existing social networks, you’re going to have to take the plunge now. Yes, that’s right, the first task in this Thing is to…
Create a Facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/
If you try to do this at work, you may notice that your IT department has blocked Facebook from your staff network. Mine had. Try a little gentle persuasion, mentioning the way Facebook allows you to stay in touch with professional colleagues, maximize business network effectiveness, and collate voluminous information from disparate sources with minimal effort…etc, etc…and hope that they can see reason. Or bribe them. Whatever it takes.
If you need help with any aspects of Facebook, try the Facebook tutorials at Expert Village.
Once you have your Facebook account, you’ll need to…
Create a Facebook profile
Facebook profiles are for individuals. Facebook pages are for organizations. We’ll talk more about Facebook pages in the next Thing.
One aspect of Facebook you should notice right away is that Facebook discourages anonymity. Scary? Maybe. You can blog the pros and cons of that later, but if you want the full Facebook experience, surrender to transparency. Or make up a name. Some of you may have full-fledged alter egos already—feel free to use those as well.
As you create your profile, Facebook will ask you if you want to find friends by using your email account. Facebook will ask you to provide your email account password. I strongly advise against this. There are other ways to add friends later. As a matter of fact, you can skip all of the steps in the profile setup if you want, as long as you enter your name and secret question. You can always go back and edit your profile information later.
Blog your thoughts and observations regarding setting up your Facebook account, and ways you think you might use the service in the future. Also, please feel free to blog any feelings regarding the balance of privacy and transparency, the marketing potential of social connections, conspiracy theories about all the personal information Facebook collects, or anything else that may have popped into your head throughout this experience.