Parkersburg serves as first stop on Facebook tour teaching people how to use website

Millions of people go to Facebook daily to communicate with friends, family, associates or to keep up with news and other information.

Wednesday night Facebook came to Parkersburg and the Blennerhassett Hotel.

The informational gathering was Facebook’s first stop nationally in what is going to be a monthly event.

“For the past two years, Facebook has been traveling the world meeting with people about how it’s used and what it’s used for,” said Lindsey Shepard, head of News Feed Marketing with Facebook. “But all that time was spent in larger cities. We thought it was about time to get out into some of the smaller cities and areas and see how people were using Facebook.”

Shepard said during the presentation, which was conducted in the Charleston Room and open to the public, “two billion things are posted on Facebook daily. People can view 3,000 posts daily in their News Feed but most will only go through about 200.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan Tucker Bounds, head of News Feed Communications with Facebook, answers a question Wednesday evening during a conference at the Blennerhassett Hotel. Bounds and Lindsey Shepard, head of News Feed Marketing with Facebook, conducted a workshop explaining how controls within the settings function of Facebook help the user adjust what they see and won’t see on Facebook.

The gathering of 50 in the room listened for almost 90 minutes to the Facebook representatives who work at the Silicon Valley, Calif., headquarters.

Shepard said the purpose for the visit was to “help people understand how to use Facebook, how to use the tools available, how to use the settings to control what they see and what they don’t want to see. People see what is in their News Feed and think that is Facebook, when in reality there is so much more out there to be discovered,” she said. “They just need to know how to find it.

“There are a lot of controls to which people can tailor what they see and when they see it; or if they don’t want to see it,” she said.

She said some of the controls which help the user streamline what they see are Unfollow, See First, Notification, Snooze, Keyword Snooze and Do Not Disturb.

Many can be found in more than one place, such as a personal page or under the News Feed heading, which is located in the upper left hand corner of a person’s page. A person clicks on the News Feed, finds the three circles to the right, left clicks on it and finds Top Stories, Most Recent and Edit Preferences. It’s under the Edit Preferences where most of the controls can be found.

Shepard said a user can choose to keep a person on their “Friends List” but can choose to quit getting their posts in the News Feed by “unfollowing” a person or can temporarily quit receiving posts from a person or group, “snoozing that group up to 30 days.” In the process, “the person or group which is unfollowed or snoozed does not know you have done this,” she said. “If for example, you snoozed someone for 30 days, at the end of that time, the person will come back into your News Feed.”

Shepard said Facebook is constantly working on ways to improve Facebook, “but to test the popularity of the item, you have to get it out there for people to use. We have come up with some great new things but we’re constantly tinkering with it until we get it the way we want it.”

Other settings are found by clicking on the downturned arrow at the top of the right hand side of the page where users can find pages they are administrators of, the same News Feed preferences as found on the left side of the page as well as a settings heading where many specialized controls can be found.

Shepard did touch on mobile phone apps, stating “all the controls found on Facebook can be found on the apps. People need to know those exist and people will find the newest features on the apps first.”

She added “if a person finds their phone app is starting to become slow in responding, then they need to update the app and should do it every week to get a fresh version of Facebook.”

Tucker Bounds, head of News Feed Communications with Facebook, touched on how the social media giant is reacting to fake accounts, stating many troublesome accounts are caught before making it to a News Feed. “There is a huge team to remove items which violate the community standards set forth by Facebook,” he said. “They are very clear rules and if those rules are broken, posts come down. The community standards were updated about three months ago.

“There are many people working at Facebook to make sure people are who they say they are. We want Facebook to be a positive experience for its users and not detract from it as a negative experience. We want to disrupt those negative experiences from people who are the bad actors on Facebook.

“Facebook is supposed to be an enjoyable time of communications. We are trying very hard to keep it that way,” Bounds said.