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How to Use Facebook as a New User

En español | Editor’s Note: AARP TEK stands for technology, education, and knowledge. TEK helps people 50-plus who want plain language and user-friendly information on how to best use personal technology. The free program provides comprehensive online and in-person technology tips, trends, tools and hands-on lessons.

My dad tells me he’s finally thinking about joining Facebook. At 66, he has a history of waiting a while to jump into something new. As a kid, I remember him saying he’d never use a computer. Now that he is in a second career as a Realtor, his computer is an incredibly important part of his job. This type of evolution is his typical way to use new tools and devices. It’s funny to think he’s a long-standing holdout on Facebook, but he’s growing as a professional on LinkedIn. That is a site he has used for years.

Facebook for New User

Jen Lee Reeves is AARP's social media trainer. — Ian Cunningham

When I spoke to him about the benefits of Facebook, I reminded him that it is a place where I share photos and stories of his grandchildren and that if he’s curious, it’s a quick and easy way to stay in touch.

See also: Step-by-step guide to signing up for Facebook (PDF)

But there are people who a really concerned about their privacy and safety. If that’s you, there are steps you can take to be mindful of your personal identity and privacy, when and if you decide to make that jump.

I explained to my dad how he can choose to just follow family members. He can choose to only post information the family can see. He can say no to additional connections on Facebook. The idea of customizing who can see what my dad shares is one reason he is considering joining.

I asked friends and acquaintances why they joined Facebook. Many say they joined because they felt social pressure from friends and family to join. Some joined so they could spy on family members without looking as if they were spying. Others joined because their family was growing but important family members were far away. Most people say they use it to stay in touch with people they care about.

The opportunities to connect can be limitless once you jump into the site. What is great about social media is that once you join, you are not forced to stay there. Consider following the AARP TEK social media page and downloading the step-by-step guide to learn how to join and discover other helpful tips.

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