Last week in Aging With Geekitude, Erica showed you how to see more of what you want on your Facebook News Feed (take a look). This week, she’s sharing her favorite ways to get creative and have fun on the social network.
Internet juggernauts Facebook and Google are rapidly taking over the cyberworld. They’re certainly taking over my world. I spend 90 percent of my Internet time on one or the other. If I’m not checking my Gmail or searching Google for some factoid, I’m refreshing my Facebook feed to find out what my daughter or friends are up to, posting pictures of my dogs, taking quizzes about which movie hero I am (Scarlett O’Hara) and complaining about the weather.
While you might convince yourself that looking up stuff on Google is educational, it’s patently obvious that Facebook is a sinkhole for time wasters. It’s gotten to the point where Facebook is considered such an addiction, the web’s full of articles on recovery. There is a probably a group somewhere where people introduce themselves with “My Name is So-and-So and I’m a Facebookaholic.” I would like to join such a group so I can make more friends IRL (in real life). Until then I’ll stick to joining Facebook groups – or even creating them.
If you can’t beat Facebook why not use it for fun and profit? Here are some ways to be creative and have fun while you waste your life away.
How and Why to Create Your Own Group or Page
You can create a group or page for practically anything as long as it doesn’t involve promoting a felony. My friend Denise created a group for her high school class of 1964. It became a way for her old friends to communicate about their upcoming reunion and then later, to keep in touch. Take a look. People also create groups for their extended families, for book clubs – for any actual group that could use an online hub. I’m a member of Ulster County Yardsale a group where members advertise stuff they want to get rid off. It’s a more personal alternative to Craigslist.
Some towns and city neighborhoods have groups as well – for example, there’s a Downtown Manhattan group. I’m a member of Woodstock, New York on Facebook, which is really handy when I want to advertise the apartment I own for rent, or find a local plumber. Take a look in your area and see what you can find. (Use the search bar at the top of your Facebook.)
What’s the difference between a group and a page? Facebook groups can be created by anyone, and administrators can set the level of privacy (it could be invite only; approval only; or more open). All members are notified when someone posts something in the group. Pages are open to anyone on Facebook and are mainly – but not only – for companies; they’re also for anyone who wants to get the word out about something.
How to Use Company Pages to Get Action from Customer Service
It’s amazing how fast you can get a response from a real person at a company by complaining on their Facebook page. I complained on the Ford page about the exorbitant cost of a repair and got a sympathetic rep to respond. Unfortunately he didn’t save me any money, but at least I found out why it cost so much. I’ve gotten more help from Time Warner Cable on their Facebook page than by calling customer service, without staying on hold for an hour. Just find the company’s page (use the search bar at the top of your Facebook) and post your complaint. If the page is set up so only admins can post, then comment under any admin post.
Save Interesting Facebook Items
Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through a friend’s or Facebook news feed, or the news feed of a page you follow, looking for that old link to an interesting story you didn’t have time to read before? Well, now you can save links, places and entertainment pages for later. (It’s only for shared links – it won’t work for photo, video and status update posts.)
How? Just hit the download arrow at the upper right of a post and select the Save option. Or on a place or entertainment page, hit the Save option next to Like.
You can look at your saved content later in the Saved area. Once you’ve saved something, you’ll see it in the left column along with News Feed, Messages and Events.
Your friends won’t be notified if you’ve saved something; it’s just for you to know about later.
Find Hidden Unread Messages
Not many people know this, but you might be getting messages from people and don’t know it. If someone sends you a message and you have no mutual friends, Facebook automatically filters their message into your Other message folder. When Internet guru Kim Komando gave her listeners this tip, one woman looked and found a message her birth mother had sent her a few years earlier.
I regularly find messages from my readers – and others. The most recent one I found was this amazing missive from a secret admirer, Michael Olowole:
Hello my sweet angel how are you doing there? i don’t fear insects or spiders. At great heights, I jump off, smiling. In the face of death I wink. But, when I look into your profile, i was in fear of how much i will like to get to know you. Multiply it by infinity, take it to the depths of forever and you’ll still only have a glimpse how your profile has hit me like a tidal wave….
Maybe you, too have received messages like this from guys who are probably looking for a green card and spamming every older woman who lists her marital status as single. But you might also find a message from your long lost best friend from elementary school.
To find the Other folder, click the talk icon (looks like a double speech bubble) at the top of the page. Then next to where it says Inbox, click Other.
Make Facebook Talk Like a Pirate
Have you ever wanted Facebook to automatically translate all of your friend’s posts into pirate slang? No? Well, you can do it anyway.
Click the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook, and then click the Settings link. Where it says Language, click the Edit button, then navigate to the English (Pirate) option. Now, enjoy the results!
You can switch it back to regular English by doing the same thing, except picking the English (U.S.) option instead. There are a couple of other funny languages you can set, but I’ll let you explore those on your own.
How do you waste time on Facebook? Have you found any old friends there?
See more Aging With Geekitude articles.
Erica Manfred is a journalist, essayist and humorist who writes about everything from dentistry to divorce to fantasy fiction. Friend her on Facebook.
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