Facebook, TOS, and other good things

facebook me missing manual

Book Review

Facebook me! A guide to having fun with your friends and promoting your projects on Facebook.
By Dave Awl.
Peachpit Press, 2009. 205 pages.

Facebook: The Missing Manual.
By E.A. Vander Veer.
Pogue Press/O’Reilly, 2008. 268 pages.

Again, Facebook makes a policy change that sends shivers down the spine of its millions of members and sets blogger tongues (and fingers) a-wagging. Facebook’s recent change in its Terms of Service has inflamed discussions about exactly who owns the content we all post there, and under what conditions.

See Razzed, the Consumerist, Nathan Gilliatt, RiverScrap, and even the NY Times.

Both books reviewed here offer good general introduction to using Facebook, and each devotes 20 pages to issues of privacy and security.

The Missing Manual emphasizes thinking clearly about how much private information to share and how to control access to your account. Think about it: Although you post personal information online in various places, FB brings together in one convenient location intimate details including your views on politics and religion, your relationships, and your smiling mug shot.

Facebook Me! discusses opting out of appearing in social ads, opting out of Beacon advertising, how to control what gets announced on your news feed and Wall, how to keep applications you don’t use from accessing your information, phishing attempts, and watching out for links bearing Trojans.

But there’s much more to these books than discussions of privacy and security.

Both books cover, with different levels of emphasis, setting up a profile, finding friends, how to use the Wall, news feeds, communication options, applications & add-ons, joining and setting up groups, buying and selling via ads, going mobile, shopping & marketplace, and job hunting.

Facebook Me! offers more information about sharing photos & videos, using FB’s calendar, setting up Pages, and setting up Events. The Missing Manual is stronger on business uses of FB, including hiring, collaborating on projects, and file sharing.

Facebook Me! offers a 5-page essay on the Politics of Friending and a 3-page essay on The Fine Art of Not Being Obnoxious. Author Dave Awl goes deep into FB  Applications and discusses authorizing apps, blocking them, managing them, book marking them, how to find them. He’s particularly enthusiastic about using photos and videos to promote your interests. For example, a theater company with a show about to open might post shots of rehearsals in progress. Or if you make handcrafted jewelry or furniture, post some samples of your work.

I really like the book’s attractive page layout with color screen shots and illustrations.

O’Reilly’s series of  Missing Manual books serve as guides to Access, digital photography, Dreamweaver, Excel, flash, Garageband, iMovie, iPhone, Mac OS X, Photoshop Elements, and Quicken, to name a few.

Facebook: The Missing Manual *reads* like a manual: procedures are spelled out in detail. Compared to Awl’s breezy, chatty style, the writing here is somwehat dry.

Author Vander Veer devotes a chapter to using FB to collaborate on projects, including using messaging and subscription tools to keep team members in the loop and projects on track.  She discusses setting up FB Events to organize get-togethers for co-workers and clients.  This book is particularly strong in covering Facebook Marketplace, where you can “buy or sell just about anything,” and in discussing how to use FB to find employees and to find employment.


One Response to Facebook, TOS, and other good things

  1. Joe says:

    the fact that Facebook change their TOS back so quickly is like an admission that they knew they were wrong

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