What is Facebook and why should you use it?
Facebook is a web application that provides social networking services. Social networks help you connect with friends, co-workers, and others who share similar interests or who have common backgrounds. Many people use Facebook as a way to stay in touch after finishing school, or as a way to share their life publicly. District 36 Toastmasters uses Facebook as a new way to communicate with members of our community.
What makes Facebook a useful tool for Toastmasters is its extensive privacy controls, its ease of use, and its large and growing user base. Pictures, videos, and text can be shared across your network of friends or just with a few select friends. You can even upload your thoughts and pictures from your mobile device to your Facebook page.
How do you get started?
In order to join Facebook, you need to create a user account. It's free and easy to do. Visit http://www.facebook.com and fill in the information requested under "Sign Up". After you sign up, Facebook will send you an email message. You must receive this message and confirm your Facebook account in order to activate it.
Build a profile
The next step is to build a profile. Facebook provides step-by-step instructions for this. I have found it's easier to skip all the steps (just keep clicking "skip") until you get to a page where you can build a profile by adding information about yourself. You can add where you went to school and where you work. You can also add personal information about the kind of music you like and the TV shows you watch. Be sure to add "Toastmasters" to your interests under Personal Information! This information, if you decide to share it, is used to help other people find you and connect with you.
Once you have an account and a profile, the real fun starts - finding and connecting with friends! Just click the Friends link at the very top of the page and Facebook will help you locate people to connect with. Be sure to befriend me, and I can connect you to other District 36 Toastmasters. Just search on my name, Beth MacNeil Stinson
and send a friend request to me.
What else can you do?
Facebook has many other exciting and fun features including games, surveys, and interest groups. District 36 has its own Facebook Group where news and links are posted. Join our group to find out what's going on in the district and discuss communication and leadership ideas with other Toastmasters. Click the Groups icon at the bottom of your Home page. Then just enter Toastmasters District 36 in the search box to locate our group. I am looking forward to see you all very soon!
There are lots of resources on the web about using Facebook. One of the most important ideas you must remember is that electronic communication is not really very private and it never really goes away. Don't post information in your profile about when you are leaving for vacation and how long you'll be gone for example. Also don't post information you wouldn't want your teen your grandmother or future employer to see. Read about your facebook privacy settings and use them. The same common sense that you use when opening and reading email applies to Facebook. Don't friend people you don't know. Don't reply to requests for money or help. Don't click on ads or pop-ups.