20 Jun 2014

Facebook Notifications: Keeping You Caught Up and Providing Social Engagement Opportunities

Continuing in Ann’s series on notifications, let’s take a look at Facebook and how Facebook keeps us informed and ready to engage. But, first, get caught up in this series by reading these wonderful articles by Ann Smarty herself:


The Notifications Bar in Facebook

Facebook Notifications Area

Facebook Notifications Area

Before digging into just the notifications, let’s look at the notifications area of Facebook, understanding what each of the buttons do for us.

We are stepping into Facebook 101 here, so if you are an experienced Facebook user, feel free to skip this section.

We will start from the far left and work to the right. Also, keep in mind that we are talking about the Facebook “profile” in this article. The profile is the main deal when you login to Facebook as you. There are also Facebook pages that you may manage, but the profile is the “page” (not to be confused with Facebook Page) that is your home on Facebook, as a Facebook user.

So, on the far left of the notifications area, you should see your image and your linked name. If you click on either of these, you will go to your profile page, your Facebook “presences,” the spot that is all about you.

The next “button” is a clickable word, “Home” and that takes you to your newsfeed. The newsfeed is where you get to see all that is going on with your friends (assuming you have Facebook set up to see them and they have it set up to share with you). You will also see the occasional ad or promoted post that has been inserted into the feed for your viewing pleasure. The little number that shows above the “Home” link shows how many new items are in your newsfeed.

The next button is the one that looks like a couple of silhouetted people. That is your “Friends Notifications” where you can see the friend requests and friend suggestions. Keep in mind that “confirm” usually indicates that someone has requested that you become their friend (a.k.a. friend request) and that “add friend” means that someone has suggested this person as a friend. Sometimes people get those confused and click on “add friend” thinking they are confirming a friend request … then wonder why the person is responding as if they knew nothing of the friend request. In that case, that is probably the case. So, watch the verbiage (words) in the button on those.

The next one is the messages. This is the IM (instant message) or PM (private message) function of Facebook.. your Facebook mailbox. You also have the opportunity to use this as chat at the bottom of the Facebook web app. However, that is another discussion.

There are a couple of useful pull-downs to the far right of the notification areas, but we are now going to turn our attention to the actual Notifications button.. the one that looks like a globe.

Facebook Notifications: Globe Icon

Before we do, check out the little red number. That is the number of new notifications. It lets you know how many notifications have come in recently.


Why Should I Care?

Why should you care about notifications? Here are a few reasons:

  • To keep up with the recent happenings of your friends and family, business associates, etc.
  • Each notification provides a clickable link to either engage or click on the avatar and visit the profile of the person mentioned in the notification (i.e. a Birthday greeting).
  • For business purposes, provides a natural list for communication follow-up opportunities.
  • Get the idea? Now, you can create your own list of reasons :)

A Snapshot of “What Is Up” on FB

Facebook Notification Pop-Out

Facebook Notification Pop-Out

If you are in a hurry and just want to take a quick look, click on your notifications (globe) and you can see the most recent activities in a pull-down list. Let’s say you are on your way to go out for an errand. This quick pop-out list lets you see where you may want or need to engage for 30 seconds before you leave. This is handy to pick up the Happy Birthday opportunities, or RSVP opportunities for gala events that may be happening in your local area that night.


Facebook Notifications Function as a “To Do” List

Have you ever had those days when you are away from your computer, your smart phone, and basically away from civilization (which may be a good thing!), and wondering what you may have missed on Facebook? That is where the beauty of the Facebook Notifications come in handy.

By visiting your “Notification Center,” you can see what has happened while you have been unplugged. The number is really handy (above), but you can also track it by date. To access all of the notifications in the notification center, click on “See All” at the bottom of your pop-out:

Accessing *All* Facebook Notifications

Accessing *All* Facebook Notifications

So, you would click on the globe and then at the bottom of the pop-out, you would click on the “See All” link to go to a page that is full of just the notifications. From there, you also have an option to enable text messaging and settings, and even an RSS feed of your notifications (this is helpful for all of you geeks out there who want to work it into a custom social media dashboard).

If you have a regular routine, saying checking it once a day, then you can check just the notifications on the next day. That helps to keep you organized in whatever routine works for you.

Facebook "To Do" list.

Facebook “To Do” list.


Now You See It… Now You Don’t

Accessing the Facebook Notification Settings

Accessing the Facebook Notification Settings

In the previous section, we referenced that there is a spot on the Notifications page to access settings. This can also be accessed at the very top of the pop-out window.

Facebook Notification Settings

Facebook Notification Settings

With Facebook Notifications, you can control whether you hears sounds, what apps or pages you follow, and whether or not you get “push notifications” to your desktop application. This is all handled in the “Settings” area, which is accessible from the Notifications pop-out.


Onward and Upward

So, there you have it. Facebook provides you with all of the opportunities to keep informed, whether you want to be kept informed real-time (immediately), by enabling things like “push notifications” to your desktop application, or you want to catch up at the end of the day, with a listing of all of your notifications, or you just want to pop in, periodically, throughout the day, but using the handy pop-out list. Whichever option you use, you have clickable links to go share and engage, as a result of all of those notifications. Engage away!