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Do I need to be on Facebook?

Some of you love Facebook enough to make it your homepage. Some of you have heard of Facebook but are hesitant to sign up. Everyone else is somewhere in between. What can I say about Facebook that could interest everyone?

The answer in a minute.

First, do you need to be on Facebook? No, it’s not mandatory. You can live without it. It’s not air, or water, or an iphone. But, yes, it can be fun, if you manage it wisely.

Which brings me to my advice: whether you are a Facebook newbie or you are a posting veteran, be sure you understand your Account Settings and your Privacy Settings.

Account Settings

Perhaps the most important part of your Account Settings is the Notifications section. Facebook likes to send you email about everything, hoping to encourage you to spend more time on the site. This can be overwhelming, not to mention really annoying. You can control what you receive from Facebook in the Notification section.

Privacy Settings

Privacy Settings allow you to control how much of your personal information is seen by the public, your friends, and your friends’ friends. Take time to understand what these choices mean.

And of course, be smart about what you post. Everything you post on someone else’s page can be read by his/her friends; don’t be too personal. And assume that what you post on your page could be seen by anyone; best not to mention the dates that you will be away from home!

For those of you on Facebook, your page — if it hasn’t already — will soon be transformed into the new Timeline layout. Even if you have your Account and Privacy settings the way you want them, please review them in the new layout to be sure they still reflect your choices.

Facebook should not take the place of a phone call or even a visit with a close friend or relative, but it is a fun way to keep in contact with others in your life.

Friend wisely.

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