Make the Facebook Navigation Bar Your First Stop

By Marsha Collier

Whenever you visit Facebook, you see a blue bar at the top of the page. This Navigation bar appears on all Facebook pages. The Navigation bar does just what its name implies: It allows you to navigate to different pages on Facebook quickly.

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From here, you can get a brief view of what’s going on with your account and friends. At the top right are icons that may have small red squares with white numbers in them.

Check out the activities available from the Navigation bar. From the figure, you can see that you have 20+ items that you haven’t viewed in your News Feed, 2 new friend requests, 2 new messages, and 75 Notifications. Clicking these icons will give you different results (keep in mind that anything you can do by clicking these icons you can also do from your home page):

  • Friend Requests: An icon silhouette of two people represents Friend Requests. When you click here, you’ll see a drop-down menu showing the people who have requested your friendship online. You may click their names to go directly to their Timelines.

  • Messages: A red square with a number over the cartoon voice-bubble indicates that you’ve received private messages. The number represents how many messages from Facebook members are in your message area. Click here and you’ll get a drop-down menu like the one shown.

    If you’ve viewed a message on another device (such as your tablet) the link will have a white background. If you haven’t read a message, the link will have a light blue background.

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    When you read a private message on Facebook, the other party can tell just by looking at the message — provided the sender is viewing it on a mobile device that can track the opening of messages. (Most Apple devices do.)

  • Notifications: You’ll see an icon of a globe if someone has posted a note on your wall, commented on a post of yours, or commented on a picture you’re in; it’s a notification of activity.

Are you looking on Facebook for a friend, your local coffee shop (if it has a fan page, it may post coupons), or your favorite movie or author? Try out the Facebook search feature.

Just start typing the name or topic in the Search for people, places and things text box, and a drop-down list appears. As you type the words, Facebook uses the drop-down list to suggest a name (or topic) that matches what you’re typing.

If you see what you’re looking for, click that name or phrase. If the name doesn’t show up, click See More Results at the bottom of the drop-down list and search from there.

If you don’t see a See More Results link at the bottom of the menu, odds are there’s no match on Facebook. You can still try to search by clicking the little magnifying glass in the Search box.

Clicking the word Home takes you to your Home page, the hub for your News Feed and all your invitations and (most important) the organization area on the left side of the screen. This area gives you access to other Facebook activities, including photos to view and friends to contact.

Clicking your name links you to your Timeline page. From there, you can see what your friends have posted on your wall as well as edit any information on the page.

The next grayed-out item (blued-out on Facebook) is a down-pointing arrow — unless you haven’t signed up any friends on Facebook — in that case, you see the words Find Friends near the Home link. Once you’ve gotten connected to a few friends, what you see here is only a menu to your settings and other tools.

Click the tiny padlock to go over your privacy shortcuts; and set your preferences to control how you operate on Facebook — including how private you want to be.