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A Beginner's Guide to Facebook Basics

Are you thinking of joining Facebook? Or are you new to Facebook and are now staring at Facebook's homepage thinking: What the hell to I do now? Then this article is just what you need to learn the basics of Facebook. You'll be connecting with your friends in no time.

The first thing you'll probably want to do is upload a profile picture. You can do that easily by clicking on the link that appears when you hover your mouse over the space for your profile pic. Once you've done that, you are ready to tackle Facebook.



Table of Contents


The menu bar is located at the top of every page. It contains four items on the left side: Home, Profile, Friends, and Inbox. Let's run through each of these briefly.

By default, Facebook takes you to your Home page when you log in so that's probably where you are right now. It's where you will find your friends' activities, that is if you have friends already. Your Profile page is where you will find all your stuff on Facebook. It's also where you will find your "wall", which is a Facebook term that you're going to be hearing a lot of from now on. Your Friends page is, of course, where you will find a list of your friends and where you can search for other people who you would like to be your friend. Your Inbox, well, I don't think I need to tell you that it contains mail that you receive or send to friends.

Now that you know that you can navigate between these pages using the menu bar, let's discuss each page in detail.

Your Home Page

Your home page has five major components: News Feed, Filters, Requests, Suggestions, and Highlights. (See figure below.)

Facebook Home Page Layout

Facebook Home Page Layout

  • News Feed. Here you will see all your friends' activities on Facebook. Wall posts, uploaded photos or videos, posted links, etc. If you want to know what your friends have been up to, this is the place to go.
  • Filters. You can create filters so you can manage how you see your friends activity on your homepage. You can do that once you already have many Facebook friends.
  • Requests. Any request or invitation that you receive, such as friend requests and application invitations, will appear here. (More on Facebook applications later.) Clicking on an invitation gives you the option to Accept, Ignore, or Block.
  • Suggestions. Facebook suggests friends, groups or pages that it thinks you may know or be interested in. It will appear in this space.
  • Highlights. This area shows things like pictures your friends have commented on, videos they have liked, etc.  It also contains links that enable you to "join in the fun" your friends are having.

Your Profile Page

Your profile page is your own "personal space" on facebook.  It is where your friends will find your profile picture or avatar, your friends list, applications widgets, and your tabs.  By default, there are two tabs when you sign in: Wall and Info.  Later when you start uploading photos or videos, corresponding tabs will appear next to the Wall and Info tabs.  (See figure below.)

Facebook Profile Page Layout

Facebook Profile Page Layout

  • Wall. The wall is your main "space" on Facebook. Just like on a real wall, you and your friends (if you choose to let them do so) can "write" on this wall by using the What's on your mind? box right below the tabs.
  • Info. The basic information you typed in when you signed up for Facebook can be found in your Info tab. You can add or remove data at any time.
  • Other Tabs. Additional tabs such as Photos, Videos, Boxes, Notes, etc. may appear once you have used these internal applications. Once you've uploaded a profile picture, for example, the Photos tab will already be visible.

Just type in what you want to write on your wall and hit the Share button.

Just type in what you want to write on your wall and hit the Share button.

Clicking on the What's on your mind? box reveals the buttons for posting a link, photo, video, etc. on your wall or someone else's wall.

Clicking on the What's on your mind? box reveals the buttons for posting a link, photo, video, etc. on your wall or someone else's wall.

Your Friends Page

Clicking on Friends in the menu bar takes you to a page where you can find your other friends who might also be on Facebook. You can choose to find people through your email address or simply use the Search for People option also in the Friends page.  Once you already have some friends, you can see all of them by clicking on All Friends in the filter located at the upper left corner of the page.

Your Inbox

You can have a "conversation" with one of your friends by sending them mail. I say "have a conversation" because your replies are appended to the original message and you can see the full history of the conversation in a single thread.

A circle with a number on it beside the word "Inbox" on your menu bar indicates that you have new mail, the number in the circle corresponding to the number of new messages you got.


You can also talk to your friends through the Chat feature in Facebook. You'll see the button for it on the lower right corner of the page. Clicking on it brings up a menu with friends who are available for chatting. So what's the difference between the inbox and chat? Chat conversations are lost once you sign out of Facebook, mail in your inbox stays there until you manually delete it.

I should also mention that you can turn off chat if you don't feel like it. Just click on Chat > Options > Go Offline. Going offline doesn't sign you out of Facebook, it just makes you unavailable for chatting.


Basically, there are two types of applications or apps for short: those that were created by Facebook and those made by third-party developers. The internal Facebook applications include Notes, Photos, Links, and Video. Third-party applications include games, quizzes, etc. I've talked about my favorite third-party Facebook apps .

Where do you find Facebook apps?  Click on Applications on the lower left corner of the page and select Browse More Applications.


Right beside the Applications button I mentioned above are your bookmarks.  By default, you should see icons for Photos, Links, and Notes along with some others.  Hovering your mouse on them shows a description of each icon.

You use bookmarks as shortcuts to where you want to go.  I should mention though that clicking on the bookmarks will bring you to a recent activities page.  For example, if you click on the icon for Photos, it doesn't bring you to your photo albums, it shows you the recent photo albums of your friends.  From there you can go to your photo album by clicking on the My Photos link at the top of the page.  The same applies for the other bookmarks. 


See that small icon that looks like a signboard? That's where all notifications can be found. Facebook notifies you if your friends post something on your wall, comment on your uploaded photos, etc. When you see a red bubble with a number on it, it means there's been some new development. So aside from watching your inbox, you'll also want to keep an eye on those notifications for friend updates.


Hovering your mouse on the Settings button on the upper right side of the page, you'll see three options: Account Settings, Privacy Settings, Application Settings.

You can change your real name, email address, password, etc. through Account Settings. Privacy Settings allows you to create different levels of privacy. For example, you can set certain information to be viewable by selected friends only. Application Settings allow you to control how applications behave. Just have fun and experiment with these options.

Account Settings page

Account Settings page

Privacy Settings page

Privacy Settings page

A Word of Caution

Once you begin connecting with friends and doing applications, Facebook can be quite addictive. Watch out for the signs and symptoms of Facebook addiction as shown in this short, funny video:

*Sorry, video has been removed from YouTube.


marchetabfaris@hotmail.com on February 03, 2018:

I am already sighed up with face book but I don't know how to put anything of my own on face book. That is what I want to learn to do.

Bangbang Nurdiansyah from Bandung Indonesia on August 18, 2017:

This is the information I am looking for and here I find it thank you for sharing

Juggle Jack from Indonesia on July 24, 2017:

nice guide

but I think it was changing already

Dau santos on July 08, 2017:

Hey, this is Dau Santos looking for assistance, my facebook account is hijack by some, you advice is needed and help too.

Majid Nawaz from Pakistan on December 21, 2016:

nice info..

docksonpaul on July 13, 2016:

How we can use Facebook as a marketing platform to generate leads & convert target prospect into customer?

gepeTooRs on May 10, 2016:

I will right away seize your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me understand so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

karen on November 05, 2014:

how can you deletes posts off facebook

Shay Phelan on July 28, 2014:

I have avoided using facebook until now so your intro was necessary and helpful. Thanks a mil! Shaybo

Para on June 05, 2014:


Harshit Sharma from Delhi on November 28, 2013:

I found it the best to know more about Facebook.

Susan Ng Yu (author) on September 10, 2013:

When you sign up for Facebook, you create an individual account. Once you have an account, you can start posting. Whatever you post - status updates, photos, links, shares, etc - appears on your timeline. It shows your activity history. If you are a public figure or have a business, you can opt to create a fan page account instead, which people can "like". Pages are marketing tools.

Robert on September 09, 2013:

What is the difference between a Timeline (which I am told no one looks at), an account (who sees this?) and a fan page? it's chaos and none of this is explained. What does a person sign up for and use?

Susan Ng Yu (author) on August 17, 2013:

Caroline andrews, maybe you're just Following your friend and not Friends with him on facebook? That happens when a person has already reached the friend limit when you friend request him.

Caroline andrews on July 25, 2013:

It was helpful, but i just can't reply comments made or even write post on my friend's wall. Can you help?

rishabh.infoshine@gmail.com on May 02, 2013:


I asked one question how can PINNED POST in FB

Munir Khairy on December 26, 2012:


I lost home menu the facebook bar, it disappeared. What should I do? to get it back.



bop on December 26, 2012:

think i will join, worth a try

Michael Nix on December 12, 2012:

Enjoyed reading the basics about facebook and I think I'm interested in finding out much more before commiting myself.

aaliyah on October 11, 2012:

ya its really awesome to be on facebook i have just join the facebook last night enjoying!!!

ShaamCA from India on July 20, 2012:

you are right Susan ..i have been using Facebook for past few years its really amazing :)

Sara on May 30, 2012:

Hi Susan,

Here are some videos on a beginner's guide to using Facebook Pages, something your readers might be interested in. http://www.youtube.com/shortstackuniversity.



Susan Ng Yu (author) on April 25, 2012:

You're welcome, January Jane. :)

January Jane on April 24, 2012:

Hi Susan, thank you for taking the time for all you help!

Susan Ng Yu (author) on April 18, 2012:

Thank you, louromano and Zohaib. :)

yogini, I've often asked myself that very same question. Poke is one of those useless features of facebook in my opinion. ;P About going offline, in my experience when I opt to appear offline to a contact, I stay offline until I manually select to appear online again. :)

yogini on April 17, 2012:

what does poke means on facebook

and for how much time does a going to offline for a contact works

Zohaib khan on March 31, 2012:

vry nice

louromano on March 24, 2012:

Hey a very informative Hub here. I appreciate this effort from you. The Facebook is not so simple social community like other. It has so many things and a newbie is sure to get confused. This is a good guide for a newcomer to begin with! Good job!

Rajesh on March 24, 2012:

i can operate the menu button with mouse

Susan Ng Yu (author) on March 15, 2012:

Not unless you leave comments, Like or Share, creston. :)

creston on March 14, 2012:

When you open and read someone's wall, do they know you have done so?

Better yet, do facebook users know if you open their page and look at their photos ect,?

Idiot on February 20, 2012:

I am having a terrible time. People are courteous and try to explain things to me, but then when I try to put that information (such as tagging and sharing) into practice, I have more questions and do not want to keep bothering them. Even the turtorials

choli6 on January 30, 2012:

thanks for the tips susan! ;)

perkolaytor on January 30, 2012:

About a month or so ago I noticed my wall photo was no longer visible when I logged into facebook. Also, the wall photos for my friends (listed on the left or when clicked) are no long visible. I thought it was due to facebook maintenance, but the pictures still are not visible. Do I need to change something in my settings and if so, could someone step me through the process. Thanks so much!

Gerrit Kruijer on January 13, 2012:

Great for starters like me. Thank you.

B King on January 07, 2012:

If I delete my facebook messages on my phone will I be able to see them on a computer or another phone?

Susan Ng Yu (author) on January 02, 2012:

Which graphics can't you see, John N?

John N on January 01, 2012:

I can't read the graphics??

ds mor on January 01, 2012:

very informative and helpful

Christine on December 28, 2011:

This is very helpful and clear. I used to have a place on my page that said "Invite Friends" but it has now disappeared. How can I get it back? Thanks

Tariq Sakbar on December 05, 2011:

Very good information for learning point of view

Susan Ng Yu (author) on November 25, 2011:

If you can't see your friends' phone numbers on their info page in Facebook, then they probably didn't disclose it or their privacy settings prevent you from seeing it. :)

? on November 24, 2011:

I cann't seem to figure out how to find my friends phone #s on facebook. Can you help?

Susan Ng Yu (author) on November 23, 2011:

Thanks, everyone. Emmy, you can sign up for Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ :)

Emmy David on November 23, 2011:

please i want to joint facebook, And how can i joint it.

shamshuddin on October 27, 2011:

its good

AG on October 27, 2011:


sophia on October 14, 2011:

Great info thx!!!!!My fb looks great im up to 294 friendz lol.

wasim afzal on October 13, 2011:

As a Facebook user for more than 8 years I can digg this hub - though facebook is always changing the way it works, constantly making it better, have been trying to get a grip on making a good facebook page for businesses and such.

Logo Design on October 11, 2011:

Nice!!! It's really very informative article, I really appreciate your thoughts.I obviously enjoying and I also bookmarked & i will visit again in future updates.

Logo Design

srnjit on October 04, 2011:


Susan Ng Yu (author) on October 01, 2011:

Yes, Danton. As far as I know, you can put anything on your wall as long as it's legal. You can sell stuff, show your jewelry collection and put links to your site. :)

Thanks, loveonline. You're right, Facebook is always changing.

loveonline on October 01, 2011:

As a Facebook user for more than 8 years I can digg this hub - though facebook is always changing the way it works, constantly making it better, have been trying to get a grip on making a good facebook page for businesses and such.

Danton527 on September 30, 2011:

Hi perhaps 2 days ago I posted a question--re: on my wall, and exactly what can I do with it.....i.e. can I direcly sell --or put a link in to my site. Can i show my new Jewelry collection. Hope U can provide an answer ...thanks Danton

felicitylovespari on September 11, 2011:

I'm pretty good with FaceBook, but this is a pretty good for beginning users.

Susan Ng Yu (author) on September 02, 2011:

Thanks, bib. :)

bib on September 02, 2011:

Thanks for a really lovely weblog. I discovered on this site knowledge designed in the perfect method. I will certainly suggest the webpage around the world and then also to each and every my buddies.


facebook proxy on August 27, 2011:

if you can not acces to facebook use there Facebook login page.

Joan on August 16, 2011:

Quite helpful

facebook themes on August 02, 2011:

Thanks for your post. This useful for facebook users as well as just join members.

ahmed on July 03, 2011:


Jonathan on June 24, 2011:

somebody help me pls, When i open my messages. howcome i can't see the conversation button?

eshita on June 07, 2011:

your facebook is very good but i am not able to make my account where you post confirmation email will you helppp me plzzzzzzzz

MAYANK SHARMA on May 26, 2011:


myi4u from United Kingdom on May 09, 2011:

great hub! I always find it difficult to keep up with the changes in Facebook as I am only using like 30% of the functionalities. It might be a good start by following the things that you mentioned in this hub.

fblogin on May 06, 2011:

Thanks lot 4 Your Post

Susan Ng Yu (author) on April 06, 2011:

Thanks Prakash Sethia. But I'm sorry I don't know how to merge accounts on facebook, if that is even possible. :O

Prakash Sethia on March 21, 2011:

I have two accounts on facebook, whiche were created by mistake. Can you please guide me how can I merge them?

Prakash Sethia on March 21, 2011:

A very good article I have read after a long period. I appreciate the time & effort you have put in to create this hub.


Nicole Smith on March 20, 2011:

I think Rebekah Diaspora Smith hacked my account, and is posting the link to my login page on her friends' pages. I've never had my account hacked before, and don't know what to do besides change my password. Although I'm not sure what good it will do.

naveen srikantaiah on March 16, 2011:

You create a group naming their country and profession which will help you to track them very easily.

PeggyW on February 24, 2011:

that post is good

Susan Ng Yu (author) on January 26, 2011:

Hi, bwl8585. You can hide posts from your news feed by clicking on "Edit Options" at the bottom of all the posts. Add Nordstrom Weddings and Big Love to the "Hide posts from" section. Hope that helps. :)

bwl8585 on January 22, 2011:

Last week I phoned Nordstrom Department store to make an appointment with a personal shopper as we are searching for bridesmaids dresses. Now "Nordstrom Weddings" is on my FB page. I also get posts from "Big Love". I've never signed up for any of those posts so have no idea how to get rid of them. Is there a way? Thanks for the help for a novice user!

Layouts for facebook on January 18, 2011:


sunnymarie on January 16, 2011:

Very good information! Thanks for sharing

Web Development on January 12, 2011:

Thanks for this helps for those who are still a bit behind on the facebook thing

Susan Ng Yu (author) on January 01, 2011:

A "box" was a tab you could add to your profile page but I think it's gone now. It was like a bulletin board of sorts where your latest links, photos, videos, applications, etc. showed up so your friends could find them faster.

unknown on December 28, 2010:

i hav absolutley no clue what a " box " is on facebook, can sm1 please tell me?

Susan Ng Yu (author) on December 25, 2010:

Haha! Thanks, Sun Pen 50. :)

Sun Pen 50 from Srilanka on December 24, 2010:

I am electing you as my Facebook consultant. Thank you following you.

Website Development on December 10, 2010:

Nice one for the older generation who hasn't quite gotten into facebook yet.

alex on December 09, 2010:

I'm not trying to advertise here, but visit http://tipsandtricksworld.com for useful facebook tricks and tips and also other general tips and tricks. thanks!

facebook7464 on November 23, 2010:

Facebook is one the best social networking site.It is a user friendly site and also gives access to the new facebook layouts,which make it more tempting and attractive.


katrinasui on November 10, 2010:

This is really a comprehensive guide. New Face-book users should read your hub first to understand how Facebook works.

Tammy L from Jacksonville, Texas on November 08, 2010:

The best part of facebook is looking up friends from high school and having a "reunion" without going anywhere and letting them see how much weight I've gained. sheesh

Donna Oliver from Midwest, U.S.A. on November 07, 2010:

Excellent resource! Thank you for sharing, great hub!

Susan Ng Yu (author) on November 06, 2010:

You're right, KenWu. Facebook has undergone a lot of facelifts since I wrote this article, but the basic principles remain the same. :)

KenWu from Malaysia on November 06, 2010:

Although facebook has changed so much lately but this is really a comprehensive guide :)

NBAY_COM from www.NBAY.COM on October 11, 2010:

Hey great tips and very usefull information. I used to really like myspace but once I got the hang of facebook.com I like almost as much except when it comes to promoting a business. So, instead of complaining I went and built a new social Network that is both for personal use and also for business profile. Check it out and let me know what you think. It's called www.NBAY.COM

Esrom Aritonang from Indonesia on September 30, 2010:

Great info, you make it short and clear. I love it. Keep write wonderful info. Thanks a lot.

Susan Ng Yu (author) on September 17, 2010:

Thanks, FindYourSearch. It took a while to make the illustrations and screenshots, but I knew it would make things easier to picture out. :) And you're welcome cookiesweet99 and Sue. I appreciate your linking to my article. :)

Sue on September 14, 2010:

Thanks for the information. Great as it is very easy to understand. Have linked to it on a FB group - Understanding Facebook.

cookiesweet99 on September 12, 2010:

thx 4 the basics of the site..I'm uite new on it and the only reason i'm on it bcos all my friends are

FindYourSearch from Las Vegas, NV on August 10, 2010:

I love the diagram style illustrations you used to explain the profile and home pages. Taking the text out makes it instantly clear how the pages are organized. Great work!

Susan Ng Yu (author) on July 23, 2010:

Thanks, everyone. :)

shaunt123 on July 22, 2010:

Hi Everyone. I learned facebook through this video series and thought it may be of use to someone.


Ignore the marketing hype, it’s really a simple, easy to follow way to learn how to use facebook. The series takes about an hour and steps you through setting everything up and shows you how to avoid "newbie" mistakes that can be embarrassing. Check it out.

Daniel Brown from Evansville on July 18, 2010:

Thanks for the facebook run down

Mina on July 12, 2010:

detailed information

Excellent Work !

Ted Thompson on May 13, 2010:

Great guide, very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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