I have just started using Facebook, primarily because my grandchildren do.

It really is a clunky system. Why does anyone use it?

Can anyone help and explain to me what its benefits are over conventional email other than my g/kids use it and the rest of the world of course.

OK I am an old fart so accepting that, I am still curious. What have I missed?


Glad you've decided to take the plunge. I actually read this question on the Survive France Facebook page, which appears on my News Feed. So that's another use for FB, subscribing to the pages of publications, groups, organisations and even individuals that you want to hear from.

Now if you really want to go off the deep end you could try... Nope, FB has been around long enough, it is flawed enough to be tolerable. I pop in and out once or twice a day but like others keep up with people, some of us have not actually met face to face for over half a century yet we can have a conversation.

Brian you are of course quite right and had I had this facility 10 years or so ago, it would have been much better than email for the group I was running.

OK I give up, I will join the 21st C!


You are using it like an email system but it has the flexibility, and the user base, to be much more. That’s one of the very good things about it, you can make it suit you.

Well it is getting easier and I am having lots of exchanges with my g/daughter which is good trying to organise a 1st birthday present formy great g/daughter. I have now worked out how to send pics and keep a discussion private but to all intents and purposes this just another email system.

Of course you can publish stuff to all your friends and you can make groups but that is not for me at present.

Sometimes I think the GofT with their birds have it right.

In addition to the features that Vero and John have mentioned there are some groups that I find very useful. For example there's a Northumbrian Pipers group that lets members all over the world share videos, sound recordings and technical information, and Ladies in Business in France keeps you up to date with regulations, taxes, bureaucracy etc.

I like the way that it keeps me in touch with people who I would otherwise have drifted out of contact with. It’s good to have some idea about what old friends, acquaintances and colleagues are up to now and then. I grew up in a rural area and most of us moved away to find work then my career took me into an environment with a very mobile population so it suits my situation very well. I particularly enjoy reading comments by friends of friends who I know well but don’t keep in touch with myself.
With a bit of adjustment and filtering it can be neither obtrusive or clunky and there are certain features that are really great.

It gives a quick overview of what the people you are interested in are up to, easy access to pictures, chat to a group of people or just one, no need to cc something if you want to tell all your friends, less tedious than going into your mailbox & ccing a zillion people something, no spam, errrr - there are a lot of people I chat to on FB who have been friends of mine forever but we are all over the world & busy - my friends & I are all still at work & all have teenage/early 20s children either still at home or ricocheting between home & higher education so there are endless demands on time even post work (I leave the house at 7am and get home at 7.30pm) - so I find FB very useful for keeping in touch with all sorts of family & friends.

If you want it to be just pop quizzes and cat videos it can be, but that's not how I use it!