Home Page News Feed and Ticker
When you first log in to Facebook, you are directed to your home page, as shown in Figure 1.13. This page can be accessed at any time by clicking Home on the top toolbar. The home page is your real-time News Feed of what your friends share on Facebook. All their status updates and anything they choose to share, such as photos, videos, new applications, and so on appear here.
Figure 1.13 The home page showing the News Feed, Ticker, and other features in the left sidebar.
By default, the News Feed is a blend of Top Stories and Recent Stories. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine Top Stories—they come from the friends and pages you interact with most. You will see more of the types of posts (statuses, photos, videos, and questions) you interact with, and less of those you don’t.
The News Ticker in the upper-right hand corner constantly scrolls in new activity from friends and pages. You can hover over any of these and Facebook will show blow up any attached picture to show you more (as seen in Figure 1.13).
Besides the news stream running down the center of the page, you have a lot of other options in the left sidebar. You’ll see News Feed, Messages, Events, and Friends. Then you’ll see Groups, if you’re in any. Below that, your options are customized by Facebook to show what you use most.
The home page is valuable because it serves as your dashboard into Facebook. If you don’t have a lot of time on a given day, the home page allows you to jump in quickly, see what’s going on, maybe make a few comments, accept a couple friend requests, wish a friend Happy Birthday, and then get out.
Keep in mind that other people can see the actions you take on Facebook. Change your relationship status before remembering to tell your now ex-significant other? Yup, everyone else will see before he or she knows. Did you just Like a page you don’t want everyone to know you like? It will post to the News Feed. But relax—you can change that! Click the link in the upper right to your Profile, and you’ll see all those kinds of posts. Click the down arrow in the upper right of the kind of post you don’t want people to see, and you’ll see a menu that allows you to hide that type of activity. We’ll go over more privacy options in Chapter 2, “Addressing Privacy Concerns.”
The News Feed also gives users the ability to jump in and comment or “Like,” in real-time, what their friends are posting. The home page/news feed creates a real-time two-way communications channel, thus increasing user engagement with others and with the tool.