This is an introduction to Facebook, plus a list of tips for getting the most out of the site.
Facebook explains it much better than we could in the official Facebook Pages Manual: http://www.box.net/shared/9e5jiyl843.
Here are some popular words and phrases relating to the world's largest social network.
Friend-Both a noun and a verb, "friend" is the term for personal network connections; "to friend" means inviting someone into one's personal network.
Like-An action taken by individuals to declare their affection for something. The "like" button appears on every status update and comment made on Facebook, as well as much web content outside of Facebook. "Like" is also the appropriate term for how individuals affiliate with organizations or other pages-an organization's page is "liked" (never "friended") by individuals.
Wall-The wall is how users publicly interact with each other; it's where social networking happens. Everything a user writes appears on their wall (unless the user has altered their privacy settings). Users can write on their own wall or the walls of their friends and pages they like.
News Feed-The center landing page for all users is a running list of updates within their network. The news feed is the Facebook equivalent of an RSS feed and allows individuals to get a quick look at the most recent news from their friends and liked pages.
Status update-Narrowly defined, this is the process of sharing commentary. More broadly, status update refers to any interaction with one's own wall, including uploading photos or videos.
Tag-This occurs when a person is mentioned by another person. Once used solely to refer to identifying ("tagging") individuals in photos, the term is now more broadly used when individuals mention a friend in a post.
Facebook has some distinctive features that can be used to maximize your presence.
1. Use the settings tab. The Internet encourages distracted navigation, so make sure the most important things are front and center. Adjusting the settings will accomplish that.
On your page's wall, set the default to "Just Department." This allows users to see the content posted by others, but doesn't require that user-generated content to be the first thing visitors see - such as this unfortunate post on the University of Central Florida's Facebook page (Facebook.com/UCF). This post was at the top of its wall, undermining the university's message of educational commitment:
Consider selecting a default landing page other than the "wall." If your organization or department wants to highlight a robust calendar of events, maybe set the landing page to "Events." Or maybe check out the "Boxes" tab. The most savvy page administrators can design a custom landing page. Consult an expert for help with that at http://developers.facebook.com.
2. Post content for everyone. Long academic diatribes bore even PhDs. Keep the messages simple, informative and appealing to your target audience.
3. Be interactive. Use a variety of photos, videos, links and text to engage your audience, rather than bore them.
4. Respond. If someone posts something on your wall, respond to the post. Even if it's a contrarian view. Don't delete any posts unless they use offensive language or violate the KUMC Social Media policy. http://www.kumc.edu/Pulse/policy/socialmedia.html
5. Comment on other pages. Build your department's network by interacting with others, but be selective. Only interact with folks and organizations who will be interested in hearing from you, lest you look like spam.
6. Send targeted messages. Facebook allows pages to send messages to people who like them. Sending a message with critical information ensures that users get the information. Pages have an option to select demographic features to narrow the audience for a message (e.g. send only local users a message for a local event). Although messages are the Facebook equivalent of email, overuse of the message feature will result in the page being disliked by all.
7. Don't try to drive traffic to your web site. Facebook users aren't stupid. If they want to go to your site, they will, but more likely, they'd like to stay on Facebook. Facebook is an end in itself.
8. Keep it up to date. Facebook updates are usually only relevant (or reviewed) in the period of time that the updates remain on a user's news feed. Posting items that don't fit your strategy, or reposting items, is not a way to keep your page up to date. Quality matters.