10 Little-Known Facebook Features - dummies

10 Little-Known Facebook Features

By Carolyn Abram

Facebook is packed with features. There are so many things you can do on Facebook, from adding a life event to your Timeline to planning an event. Chances are you know a lot of the big headlines — Groups! Photos! Friends! But there are a number of features more people should know. Some are really useful; others are just sort of fun or interesting. Hopefully some of these might be interesting or useful to you.

Friendship pages

Friendship pages are basically versions of a Timeline that gets shared between you and your friend. It contains a cover photo and as you scroll back through time, you can see the history of your friendship: photos you were both in, posts you left on each other’s walls, events you both attended, and so on. They are one of the most nostalgic parts of Facebook.

To see the friendship page for you and a friend, go to her profile and click the […] button on her cover photo. Select See Friendship from the menu that opens.

Friend lists

Friends lists are a way of making subgroups of your friends. You can then use these lists to see different views of News Feed, and to control your privacy. Facebook even automatically creates certain lists for you such as Acquaintances and Close Friends. You can then edit these lists by adding and removing friends from the lists. Once you have lists set up, you can easily share something only with your close friends, or keep your acquaintances from seeing something that’s a little more private.

Rotate photos

This is a very small feature, but you’ll use it often. Sometimes photos that have been taken vertically with your camera get added sideways, causing your friends to need to tilt their heads to the side to view the photo. You can actually fix this any time after you’ve added the photo to Facebook.

When you’re looking at the photo in the photo viewer, click the option link at the bottom of the photo. This brings up a menu of options, and you can select either Rotate Left or Rotate Right.

Group events

If you belong to a group on Facebook, it’s easy to invite that group en masseto an event. People struggle with this a lot, where they want to invite a related group of people to something but don’t want to leave anyone out. Little do they know that they already have the list of invitees created. The best part is, it invites all group members, even if you aren’t friends with every member of the group.

To create a group event, go to the group’s page and click the gear icon. Select Create Event from the menu of options that opens. You can then create the event, with the privacy pre-set to be members of that group and members automatically getting invited.

Previews in News Feed

When you’re reading News Feed, you may encounter lots of things you haven’t heard of: friends of friends, places where people are checking in, music people are listening to, and so on. You can actually hover your mouse over any bolded text in News Feed to see a preview of that thing’s Facebook presence.

In other words, when you hover over a person’s name, you see a preview of their Timeline and any friends you have in common. Hover over a musical artist’s name and you’ll see a preview of their Facebook Page and a link to play their music. You get the idea.

View As

The View As feature is a privacy tool that lets you check out how your Timeline looks to other people. You can see what is publicly available, as well as entering a specific friend’s name and making sure that they can’t see what you don’t want them to see.

To get to the View As tool, go to your own Timeline, click the More […] icon on top of your cover photo, and select View As from the menu that opens. You can then click around on your own Timeline as if you are a stranger.

Make Profile Picture

Did you know you can make any photo of yourself into a profile picture? Sometimes the best photos are the ones uploaded by our friends. To make a photo of you your profile picture, make sure you’ve been tagged in the photo and click the Options link beneath the photo. From the menu that opens, select Make Profile Picture. You’ll be able to crop the photo before it becomes your picture.

Following and unfollowing posts

Whenever you comment on a post, you automatically start to follow that post. Whenever someone else comments, you get notified. But if you want to follow something without commenting, you can.

To do so, hover over the post and click the small gray arrow that appears in the upper right corner. Select Turn On Notifications from the menu that opens. Similarly, if you’re getting inundated with notifications about comments on a post you previously followed, you can unfollow the post. When you open the post menu, you should see an option to Turn Off Notifications for this post. You can toggle back and forth between the two options as often as you like.

Edit your photos

Whenever you post a photo to Facebook, you can click or tap on the paintbrush icon to edit it before you post it. Facebook offers practical editing tools like cropping and zooming, but also more imaginative ones. You can add color filters, stickers, or text to your photos as well. When you’re using your smartphone to share photos, you can also use your finger to draw a doodle on top of a photo.

Save links

If you are like me and want to read all the articles and links and posts your friends share on Facebook, you might find that you can’t get through them all fast enough. Or sometimes someone posts something you know you’ll want to reference later, and you want to be able to find it. You can save links that people share on Facebook by clicking on the little gray arrow in the upper right of any post and select Save from the menu that opens. Click on the Saved item in your Favorites section of the left sidebar to get back to all the great content you’ve saved.