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Are You Connected? Today’s Social Media Tool – Facebook Part II: Groups, Messaging, Chat, and Ticker

In our last column, we discussed the basics of creating a personal Facebook account including setting up your profile information, adding cover and profile photographs, selecting friends, and status updates. Today, we will delve into a few of Facebook’s other features—Groups, Messaging, Chat, and Ticker which can enhance your Facebook experience.


Groups that you belong to appear on the left hand side of the Facebook News Feed page and are used to share information that relates to that group’s topic or interests. A group can be secret (only members can see the information and what is posted); closed (anyone can see the group and who is in it, but only members can see posts); or open (anyone can see the members and posts).

Groups are a great way to share information, interact, and receive input from other group members. This can be accomplished by posting statuses, asking questions, and even uploading documents. You may join, or ask to join, a group that already exists; for example: alumni association, political party, entertainment, fitness-related, etc. Or you may create your own group and add members.

Groups can be used for an ongoing exchange of information on a long term basis; or can be set up for a limited time, for example, to plan and exchange information around a specific event.

Outer Banks Stress Free Online Yard Sale; OBX Locals; Outer Banks Cooks; and Surfrider Foundation—Outer Banks Chapter are a few of the Outer Banks groups we’ve seen.


The Facebook Message feature is a great way to communicate with one or a small group of people. This feature appears on the left hand side of the Facebook News Feed page under Favorites, as well as always being available across the top of the page in the Blue Header Bar. It even shows a small red notification symbol if you have a message waiting. A very useful tool to contact Friends if you do not have a telephone number or email address, it is a quick way to exchange information. You can also message those who are not your friends as well, if you have a reason to connect.

A few words of advice when using Facebook Messaging:

• Always reply to a message from someone you know. Facebook is a social site and it is good etiquette to reply.

• If you don’t know someone, decide if you think the connection and the request is something that you would like to reply to and is beneficial to you. You don’t have to respond, and you can always delete the message and even go as far as block the person from contacting you if don’t want to connect with them.

• Messaging is like email (not texting or Twitter), you can send a short or rather lengthy message with attachments if you like, but try to use proper grammar, punctuation, and formatting. These messages can be shared, saved, and printed even if you delete them as the sender or receiver. Remember if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t put it in writing.

• Messaging has both an Inbox and an “Other” box. The Inbox is normally for messages that are with your Friends; the “Other” box is for messages from “Friends of Friends” or others that may want to communicate with you. You should check the “Other” box regularly since sometimes there may be messages that you may not want to ignore.


This is Facebook’s instant message service and it is located on the right hand side of your news feed. Although it may be useful to “Chat” with a good friend on Facebook to exchange information in real time, we recommend that you keep your status in “Offline” mode for privacy purposes. You can always go “Online” if you want to communicate with someone who is also listed as “Online”. With it off, Friends cannot see if you are online, but can still contact you via a Message or a post on your Timeline. You can even hide this feature from your news feed if you like.


Facebook added this feature when it converted to the Timeline last year. Located on the right hand side of the news feed, it is shows additional information about your friend’s activities including what pages and posts they “Like”, photos and statuses they “Share”, and what “Events” they may be attending.

To control what you see in this feed, you must individually set it up for each Friend. To do so, go to the Friend’s Timeline, selecting the “Friends” box which is below the cover photo on the upper right hand side of the page, select “Settings”, and then check or uncheck those items that you care to see. Or you can just turn it off by clicking on the arrow on the upper right hand side of the Ticker that says “Hide Ticker.”

Hopefully, these explanations of Groups, Messages, Chat, and Ticker are helpful as you decide what parts of Facebook to use. Remember, you can use any of the features of Facebook that you like and you can use it for whatever purpose or purposes work best for you—to connect with friends and family; play games; listen to music; keep up on events and news; integrate applications like Pinterest or Twitter; set appointments; plan vacations; or search Facebook for various ideas and topics. The list is endless.

For questions about Facebook or any other social media tool, additional updates, and online resources visit our website:; blog ; Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest: KMT Consultants; and Instagram: kmtthebrand. If you have questions, please contact either Kathy; blog ; Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest: KMT Consultants; and Instagram: kmtthebrand. If you have questions, please contact either Kathy McCullough-Testa or Gregory Testa at or at (866) 619-2823.