What Does Sending Messages On Facebook Mean
Two things happen when someone sends you a Facebook message:
The notification arrives in your Facebook inbox. Facebook shows a little red box above the Messages symbol at the top left of any Facebook screen (the icon is just to the right of the term “facebook”) to notify you that you have a message. To access your inbox, go to the top of your screen and click the Messages symbol, then See All Messages; if you're on your Home page, go to the left side of the screen and click the Messages link. Then, to view the full message, click either the subject line or the first line.
The message arrives in your normal email program. The message is sent to your main email address by Facebook.
Unless you've changed it after then, your main email address is the one you used when you first joined for the site. To change your main email address, hover your cursor over Settings and choose Account Settings; on the Account Settings page, click Email.
You don't need to have Facebook messages forwarded to your normal email address if you spend a lot of time on the site and frequently check your Facebook inbox. Turn off the checkbox next to “Sends me a message” on the Email Notifications page (to get there, simply click the “Want to control which emails you receive from Facebook?” link at the bottom of any email Facebook sent to your regular email address) and you'll only receive Facebook messages in your Facebook inbox.
Getting a Glimpse of Your Facebook Inbox
Even without opening your email, you can know whether you have a new Facebook message. Take a peek at the blue navigation bar that appears at the top of every Facebook screen. You've received a new message if you notice a red number directly above the symbol that looks like two tiny speech bubbles (it's the second icon to the right of the word “facebook”) (or two, or more). A list of your most recent messages displays when you click that button. Click the Access All Messages option at the bottom of the list to see your entire inbox.
Any message you haven't read yet is marked with a large blue dot, and the whole listing is highlighted in light blue. Facebook keeps track of all your communications, even those you've previously read. Click the term “Unread” in the upper-right corner of your screen to view just the ones you haven't read. If you click on a sender's name or photo, you'll be sent to that person's profile, which is useful if you don't recognize him.
If you see a little left-pointing arrow in front of a message listing, it indicates you've responded to it. The thread that a message belongs to is deleted by clicking the X on the right side of a listing. (A thread is a collection of messages that all have the same subject line.)
Messages: Reading and Responding
To view a message in your inbox, click the subject line or the first sentence, and Facebook will show you the whole message.
When you show a message that is the most current in a lengthy, drawn-out back-and-forth thread in Facebook's inbox, Facebook zips you down to the most recent message so you don't have to go through the long list of exchanges and search for the most recent one.
Simply enter your answer in the Reply box and click Send to respond to the message. Click the Remove button at the top of your screen to delete the message without responding.
You may send messages to friends who are online at the same time you are using Facebook's built-in chat function. Chat messages are useful for sharing short updates since, unlike normal Facebook messages, they appear on your friends' screens instantly after you send them. (“Hey, are we still having lunch in five minutes?”) “Yeah, I'm on my way out the door right now!”
To send a chat message, follow these steps:
- Click the button in the lower right corner of any Facebook screen. The number in parentheses next to the term “Chat” indicates the number of your Facebook friends who are presently logged in (and, therefore, how many folks you can potentially send chat messages to).
- Click the name of the buddy you wish to speak with in the Chat box that opens. A green dot next to someone's name indicates that they are logged in and active. A green crescent moon indicates that the user is signed into Facebook but hasn't written anything in a while (and so may be out getting a cup of coffee).
- Type your message in the person-to-person box that opens, then press Enter. Your message displays on your friend's screen in a comparable person-to-person chat box as soon as you do.
- If you wish, repeat step 3 to send more chat messages. When you're done with your discussion, click anywhere on the blue bar that runs across the top of the chat window to close it.
Chat messages may be very irritating since they might appear on your screen. Put super-chatty people on a list (Organizing Your Friends) called SuperChatties to prevent them from chatting with you. Then, in the Chat box (click Chat at the bottom of any Facebook screen), go to the Friend Lists tab and tick the box next to the SuperChatties list. Then, when SuperChatties shows in the chat box, click the green-and-white Go Offline button to the right of the list's name (it looks like a capsule on its side). This turns the green-and-white Go Offline sign to a grey-and-white Go Online one (which you can click when you're in the mood to have one of those long-winded chats) and conceals the fact that you're online and therefore “chattable” from everyone on the SuperChatties list. If you don't feel like talking with anybody, go offline by clicking the Options button in the Chat window.
When someone sends you a chat message, Facebook makes a sound and the Chat window appears, displaying the sender's profile picture and message. Simply enter your message at the bottom of the box and press Enter to respond.
If you plan to conduct a lot of talking, you may modify the Chat window so that it remains up all the time instead of popping up and that it doesn't play a sound every time someone talks at you. Click Options in the Chat box (at the bottom of any Facebook screen, click Chat). After that, uncheck the option next to “Play Sound for New Messages” and tick the box next to “Keep Online Friends Window Open.”
Poking sounds a lot more sinister than it really is. Poking someone on Facebook is the technological version of saying, “Hey, what's up?” Pokes show on the recipient's Home page as a notice that says “You were poked by [name].”
Poking someone, such as creeping up behind her and tapping her shoulder, isn't very beneficial beyond the yuck aspect. Poking wins the title for Silliest Social Aid or Most Annoying Thing Ever, depending on your and your friends' tolerance for pleasant prodding. If you fall into the latter category, alerts (Customizing Your Mini Feed) will be comparable but more helpful.
You don't have to be friends with the pokee or belong to the same network to poke them on Facebook. If you poke someone who doesn't usually have access to your profile, be aware that for a week after the poke, he'll be able to view the basic, job, and education sections of your profile. Allowing a pokee to see your profile, on the other hand, is almost never an issue. After all, you shouldn't poke him in the first place if you're concerned about someone discovering your love for the Bay City Rollers.
To poke a person:
- View your Friend List (Viewing a Friend List) or use Facebook's Search box to find the person you wish to poke (Finding Friends).
- On the person's profile, click the “Poke [name]” link (Finding People Who Are Facebook Members). The link is located under the person's photo.
- Click Poke in the confirmation box that opens. You get a short notice that says, “You have poked [name],” and the harm is done: Your poke message displays on the pokee's Home page, along with a link for her to return the poke.
Graffiti on Walls
A forum called the Wall is one of the areas of every Facebook member's profile. Your Facebook friends may post fascinating pictures, videos, links, and character insights on your Wall. Your own and your friends' Walls are the only ones you may write on by default. However, since Walls are part of profiles, anybody with access to your profile may read your Wall messages. Walls may be seen of as a 21st-century version of dorm room dry-erase message boards: a casual area to boast, taunt, express unity, attract attention, and sometimes transmit valuable information.
Several Facebook apps (such as FunWall, SuperWall, and Graffiti) allow you to decorate your friends' walls with pictures, video clips, and even virtual spray paint. To learn more about Facebook apps, go to Facebook Applications: An Overview.
Because friendly jokes sometimes get out of hand, Facebook allows you to delete any Wall postings that you don't like (Responding to a Wall Post) and limit who can view your Wall (Controlling Who Sees Your Profile and Contact Info).
Putting a Message on a Friend's Wall
Writing on someone's Wall is a more public method of expressing oneself than sending a message to a friend, since your Wall post will be seen by all of your friend's friends (unless you remember to instruct Facebook to make it private, as described on Writing on a Friend's Wall). Thanks, congrats, birthday wishes, and other information your shared connections may find fascinating or helpful are all good choices for Wall postings.
Follow the instructions below to write on your own Wall, but start with your own profile rather than a friend's. By selecting the Options link (located right below the Share button on your profile), you may control who sees what you post on your own Wall.