If you feel like the last person who's not on Facebook, you might be right: The Web site claims that it has 750 million users [source: Facebook]. And if you're curious to find out what it's all about and why it's so popular, you might want to sign up and try it out.
First, a little background: The cultural phenomenon that is Facebook began modestly enough in 2004 as an online social network exclusively for the students at Harvard University. Students created profiles by posting pictures of themselves, as well as listing interests, hobbies and their relationship status. It allowed users to add friends to their network and quickly became a popular way to learn more about fellow students.
Soon, the college student who founded the Web site, Mark Zuckerburg, expanded to other universities and eventually opened it to anyone with a valid e-mail address. Along the way, the site also incorporated new features, like status updates that allow you to let friends know what you're doing, a wall for friends to leave public messages for you, and the news feed, a list of your friends' recent status updates, posts and other activity.
Despite its massive popularity, some people are still hesitant to get on Facebook. Understandably, many are worried about privacy concerns and don't like the idea of posting private information on a Web site. Facebook does have privacy controls that prevent your information from being viewed by the public or even by certain people in your network of friends. However, those who fear hacking, or others who feel they aren't Web savvy enough to navigate those controls, don't want to risk it. With that being said, if you still want to join, a good rule of thumb is to avoid sending or posting any sensitive information that you don't want to fall into the wrong hands.
Once you've decided to join, it's actually pretty easy. On the Facebook homepage under "Sign Up," you can plug in your basic information, including your name, e-mail address, a password, your sex and birthday. The site explains that it needs your birthday to offer "age-appropriate" content and that you don't need to share your birthday in your profile. After you click "Sign Up," the site will take you through several steps to help you set up your profile.
Still want to know more about signing up for Facebook? Learn a few tips on the next page.