Launched in 2004, FaceBook now has more than 15 million members, and it's not just an online chat room on steroids. In addition to cyber-schmoozing, you can also post blogs (called "Notes"), buy and sell stuff through FaceBook's Marketplace, look for a job or advertise one also in Marketplace, network with colleagues by subscribing to "feeds" and "notations", take polls, advertise using FaceBook's new (introduced in 2007) Pages environment, and more.
In short, there's an awful lot to FaceBook, more than enough to provide a rationale for one of the newest volumes in Pogue Press/O'Reilly's rapidly expanding Missing Manuals series, E.A. Vander Veen's FaceBook: The Missing Manual, in which the author endeavors (successfully) to provide a comprehensive a user's guide to FaceBook.
"Fads come and go, and I'm not easily impressed," says Vander Veen, "but what FaceBook does under the covers astonishes me. If readers have a clear idea of what they want from the site and are careful about protecting their privacy, they can get any enormous amount of benefit from FaceBook."
Indeed, researching and writing this book turned Vander Veen into a FaceBook fan. "I'm a Luddite by nature, and never expected to get caught up in FaceBook on a personal level," she explains, "but that's exactly what happened. The mom's group I was involved in needed a new online "home." There were other sites I could have used, but I figured administering the group on FaceBook would put the site through its paces. I was actually shocked by how useful the site is for keeping up with a lot of geographically-linked members."
With this book, you can learn about signing up for a FaceBook account, networking on FaceBook, going shopping, the joining groups, finding or filming a job, sharing "virtual hugs," playing games, and posting ads in Pages or the Marketplace. You can look up old friends, find new ones, and decide who you want to keep track of, contact other members by virtually "poking" them, or leaving notes on their message boards, get automatic updates from FaceBook friends and send updates of your own, participate in groups of particular interest and meet up with members face-to-face, you use FaceBook as a collaboration tool to keep team members, co-workers, clients, and projects up-to-date, and find out how to ensure your privacy.
There now two distinct styles in the recently facelifted MIssing Manuals series, the more classic motif used with titles like Mac OS X Leopard Edition: The Missing Manual, and the Wikipedia: The Missing Manual, both recently reviewed here, which are relatively large, thick books with traditional serif fonts and grayscale illustrations, as well as a newer format that debuted with the 5th edition of iPod: The Missing Manual, used as well with iPhone: The Missing Manual, and now for FaceBook: The Missing Manual, with a more compact size, a more clipped and less conversational prose style, sans-serif fonts, and full-color illustrations and sidebar boxes. Sort of a "just the facts, ma'am" approach. I have to say that I personally prefer the more traditional literary style of the classic Missing Manuals editions, but presumably the less-prolix and more colorful approach tests better with certain target demographics.
Anyway, this book, which is targeted broadly at "adults of all ages," can help you get the most of of FaceBook, while guiding you through the complexities of FaceBook's privacy rights options so you can get it with the least amount of risk.
FaceBook: The Missing Manual is structured in four parts of containing several chapters each plus an Appendix and an index.
Part 1, From Signing Up To Staying Connected, includes chapters on Getting Started, Joining A Network, Finding And Adding Friends, Sending Messages To Friends, and Exchanging Automatic Updates.
Part II, Interest Groups And Shopping, has chapters on Participating In Groups, FaceBook And The Real World: In-Person Events, and Going Shopping which covers the FaceBook Marketplace, placing an ad, finding stuff, in answering an ad.
Part III, Doing Business With FaceBook, has chapters on Hiring And Getting Hired, Collaborating On Projects via FaceBook, and Advertising on FaceBook as well as taking polls.
Part IV, Privacy And Power Tools has chapters titled Customizing FaceBook and Adding Applications, Playing It Safe: FaceBook Privacy, and FaceBook Mobile.
Part 5, the Appendix, is on getting help.
FaceBook: The Missing Manual sells for $19.99 in both the US and Canada, and should be well worth a modest price in helping to improve your FaceBook experience. I know but I now I have a much greater appreciation for what FaceBook has to offer after reviewing the book, and can recommend it without reservation.
The book's price also includes 45 days free access to the Safari Books Online edition of FaceBook: The Missing Manual.
Facebook: The Missing Manual
By E. A. Vander Veer
First Edition January 2008
Series: The Missing Manuals
ISBN 10: 0-596-51769-6 | ISBN 13:9780596517694
Price - $19.99
PDF version - $19.99
U.K .- Ł12.50
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Charles W. Moore
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