How to Use Facebook Chat

by Barbara J. Feldman on April 19, 2011

How to Use Facebook Chat

As many have already noticed, Facebook is doing their best to eliminate the need for outside programming when looking to communicate with your friends via the internet.  Arguably the simplest of features, the Facebook chat offers users the ability to chat with friends without needing to download an outside program or application.  In fact, it’s one of the first things one notices when they create their profile.

In the bottom, right-hand corner of your Facebook home page, you’ll notice a list that shows you all of your friends that are currently online.  To chat with any of them, simply click on their name and a chat box will pop-up.  From this point, the rest is pretty self-explanatory as you are able to chat away with your friend in complete privacy from your other Facebook friends.

There are small circles next to each of your friends’ names, and just because they’re listed doesn’t mean they’re currently online.  A green circle means that they’re currently on the website and available for a chat.  When you see an empty circle next to a friend’s name, it signals that they are not currently online, but don’t be deterred!  If there’s something you’d like to say, fire away, and the next time they log in, they’ll get the message.

Chat Notifications

Many people aren’t fans of hearing the “ding” of a new instant message constantly, but if you’re logged in but moving around the room, feel free to turn on your “Play Sound for New Messages” toggle.  In doing so, you’ll get an audible notification anytime someone sends you a message.

Controlling the Chat History

When you’ve finished with a conversation, take a moment to clear the chat history.  You’ll find those exact words at the top of your chat box.  Use this feature to ensure privacy in your conversations.  Further, if you have ended a chat session, you are still able to view the conversation by simply opening the chat window again.  You can read everything that was said.  However, once the chat session has been cleared, there’s no turning back.

Everyone Loves a Smile

Remember when online chatting really came into full swing and everyone was in love with the faces?  Maybe you’d use a semi-colon and a right parenthesis?  Any of these emoticons are available, but instead of showing up as typed characters, you’ll actually get a smiley face, frown, wink, etc.  This is a fun little add-in that Facebook decided would give an element of personality to their chat.  Sure, we’ve seen it before, but honestly, it never gets old.

Chatting with friends online has become as common as a phone call.  Because you won’t have to download an outside chat program, Facebook has found another way to offer services to their users.  Like all of the other capabilities, there is no fee for the chat, and the quality is on par, and at times exceeds, other chat devices.  It’s easy to see why so many people are spending hours on Facebook.  If you’re looking for a conversation, simply log in.  You’ll find one.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How to Use Facebook Chat." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 1 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1554/how-to-use-facebook-chat/ >.


  • Monique McPherson

    I have recently jointed Facebook for the purpose of creating networking contacts. I have heard much about Facebook, unfortunately the negative, so I’m looking for some simple tips on how to get started, how to log in and how to understand the privacy rules. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.

    Monique McPherson