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Staying Connected with Facebook Messenger

Published on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 08:15am
Staying Connected with Facebook Messenger

In these strange times, we’re all looking for ways to keep in contact with our friends, family, and coworkers (see my previous post about using Zoom!). Facebook offers another way for us to close the social distance, at least digitally, with their product, Messenger. If you are not a current Messenger user, that’s just fine! This is a great time to learn, and thankfully, Messenger is pretty easy to use.

There are a couple things you need to do/consider before you get started:

  • You need an account to use Messenger.
    • You can create a full Facebook account using your email address, or you can sign up for Messenger using your phone number.
  • How would you like to access Messenger?
    • Using your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.) or using the Messenger mobile app (available in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store)?
      • If you are planning to use the app, you will need to download the app to get started.

With your account created and your access preference chosen, you can log in and start connecting! Here are some tips for using Messenger:

  • If you are accessing Messenger through the Facebook website, you can chat with friends using “chat tabs”—they will appear on the bottom right of the screen if you have new messages. You can check your messages using the speech bubble icon in the top right.
  • If you are in the Messenger website (separate from the Facebook website), new messages will appear with bold text. Click the chat you wish to view to pull it up.
  • Finally, if you are using the app, new messages will also appear with bold text—tapping on the chat will pull it up. Also, if you choose to enable it, your device can alert you to new messages with a sound or vibration, and on some devices, you can enable message bubbles for quick access to recent chats!

Messenger has many different and fun features to play with on both the app and browser versions:

  • Personalized Chats
    • You can update the color scheme/text bubbles, “quick use” emoji, and even add nicknames for each person in the chat!
  • Video Chats
    • Video calls (or just normal calls) can hold up to 50 people and last as long as you’d like! Only six video feeds will be featured (usually those who most recently spoke), but it’s a great option for group chats!
    • In the app, you can use fun features like unique backgrounds, filters (turn yourself into a dinosaur!), and play games.
  • File Sharing
    •  You can send videos, images, and documents easily to any chat you want. Larger file sizes may take longer to load.
  • Quick Capture Camera
    • If you want to send a quick selfie to your chat, you can!
  • Send/Receive Money
    • Yes, really! Messenger uses Facebook Pay, which allows you to add credit cards, debit cards, or PayPal accounts. You can send and receive money with anyone in your chats who has also set up the service.
  • Location Sharing
    • You can send a “pin” of exactly where you are if you are using the mobile app! Your device’s location services must be on and enabled for the app to do this.
  • Games
    • There are several Messenger games, including chess, checkers, and many others.
  • Polls
    • If you have an indecisive group, Messenger Polls can be a major time saver! Just select the options you want to present, and send it out.

Take some time to explore the options, play with emojis, and send your friends your favorite GIFs! The easiest way to learn how to use Messenger is to use it! If you would like to learn more about using Messenger, or Facebook as a whole, the Library’s online resources are here to help!

Lynda.com has several Facebook classes and courses; Niche Academy offers a Facebook for Beginners course; you can get tips and tricks for Facebook from Hoonuit; and you can even read some eBooks about getting started and using Facebook and Messenger using OverDrive! If you’re looking for more specific help with Messenger, there is a wonderful FAQ and help page!

Paige L.
Consumer Technology Specialist

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