12 Facebook Tips Everyone Should Know

12 Facebook Tips Everyone Should Know.

Become a master of shortcuts. Facebook automatically converts certain character combinations into graphical emoticons: for example, if you enter “:D” it will appear as a laughing face, while “<3” gives you a heart. See emojicodes.com for a full list. Laptop users can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the site quickly; on Chrome for Windows, for example, pressing alt+2 takes you directly to your timeline, while alt+3 opens your friends list. The key combinations vary depending on your browser: see this page for details.

Create blogpost-style notes. Status updates are great, but ephemeral. If you want to post something more permanent, create a note and it will be forever visible under your user profile. To do this, you’ll need to be using a desktop browser: you’ll find “notes” under the “more” dropdown on your profile page. Click “add note” to create as many entries as you like and optionally decide who can see them. To view notes on the mobile app, simply open a user profile and tap “about”.

Save interesting posts for later. Facebook shares and stories have a tendency to whiz past. If you see something that you’ll want to come back to, you can easily save it for future reference. Simply tap the ellipsis at the top right of any post and select “save” from the pop-up menu. To revisit saved items, tap the menu icon at the top right of the screen and select “saved” from the list of links that appears. On a desktop browser, click the “saved” link to the left of your news feed. 

Create “friend lists” for privacy. Don’t want to share everything with your family and work colleagues? With “friend lists” you can easily post updates that are visible only to certain people. You can create as many lists as you like, but you’ll need to use a desktop browser to do it: the friend-list link is to the left of your news feed. Once you’ve made a list, you can tap the “privacy” dropdown while creating a new post allowing you to specify who will be able to see it.

Review (and censor) your activity history. Facebook remembers everything you do – creepy, eh? But it means you can review your past searches and actions by simply tapping the “settings” icon at the top right of the app and opening the activity log. You can revisit old posts that you’ve previously liked or events that you went to, plus other people’s posts that you were mentioned or tagged in. If there’s something that you would prefer not to be reminded of, tap and you’ll see the option to delete it or hide it from your timeline. 

Nominate someone to manage your account after you die. What will happen to your Facebook account after you pass away? Nominate a trusted “legacy contact” and they’ll be able to update your profile, share information with your friends and, optionally, close your account. (Don’t worry, they can’t edit your posts or read your messages.) To choose a legacy contact, open “settings” in the mobile app, then go to account settings > general > manage account. If you’re not the trusting sort, you can also opt to have your account quietly deleted after you die.

Sync events and birthdays with your regular calendar. Facebook alerts you to forthcoming events and birthdays, but it’s often more convenient to view these in your regular calendar. You can set this up easily: open Facebook in a desktop browser, go to the “events” page and scroll down; towards the bottom right of the page you’ll see two inconspicuous links for “upcoming events” and “birthdays”. Clicking these will generate a link that can import iCal, Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook so that all your important dates are in one place.

Create an account with a one-word name. Facebook doesn’t normally allow single-word names such as Cher or Bono, but there’s an exception for Indonesian users who often genuinely don’t have surnames. So, if you want to ditch your surname you just have to persuade Facebook that you’re in Indonesia. This calls for a bit of technical trickery: use a VPN (such as expressvpn.com) to route your internet connection via Jakarta, then change your language to Bahasa Indonesia. Go into your account settings and you’ll find it is now possible to delete your surname.

Download videos from your timeline. Facebook makes it easy to download full-quality photos from your news feed. Sadly, downloading videos isn’t an option, although it can be done with third-party tools. If you’re using Chrome on the desktop, the easiest way is to install the free Social Video Downloader extension , which adds a convenient download button to embedded videos. If you’re using a mobile device (or just don’t want to install an extension), visit fbdownloader.net and paste in the URL of a shared video to download it automatically.

Create a “story” and see who’s paying attention. Facebook “stories” combine images, video and fun graphical overlays into an instant slideshow that vanishes after 24 hours. To get started, tap “your story” at the top of the home screen; then, once you’ve assembled your masterpiece, press the big arrow at the bottom to share it with the world. The trick with stories is that they can also give you a sneaky insight into who’s stalking your feed – tap the eye icon at the bottom left of the story to see who has viewed it.

Post status updates via SMS. Facebook’s account settings include an option to enable text messaging support, so that you can post updates and receive notifications by SMS. The idea might sound old fashioned, but in an emergency it could be a lifesaver: when you’re desperately low on battery power or have no data coverage, you can get a message to all your Facebook friends by simply texting it to 32665 (“FBOOK”). You can also text “OTP” to receive a one-time password so that you can log in if your account has been compromised.

Facebook without the bloat. The Facebook app is notorious for slowing down your phone and devouring your battery. One option is to access Facebook via your smartphone’s web browser or try a free, lightweight third-party client such as Facebook Lite for Android or Lite for Facebook on iOS. Facebook also publishes its own Lite app, but it’s only available in developing countries such as India, so if you want to try it you’ll need to use a VPN to spoof your location.

Credit: Darien Graham-Smith for The Guardian 8 October 2017.