To stay ahead of its competitors, Facebook constantly introduces new features and changes. Whether you’re new to Facebook or a seasoned user, it can get confusing trying to keep up with all the new terms and figure out what all the new features actually do.

As evidenced by the recent roll out of its Timeline feature, just when you think you know everything about Facebook, there is something new to learn! It’s time to clear up some of that confusion; here are layman’s definitions for 25 basic Facebook terms you need to know.

Facebook Profile Terms

Facebook Profile Terms

Your home on Facebook is your Facebook Profile. Here are some of the most commonly used terms that you’ll come across as you create your Facebook Profile and begin interacting with other Facebook members.

1. Friend: Your Facebook Friends are the people you connect with (or “Friend”) and share content and updates with on Facebook. You can send Friend requests to other Facebook members. You also receive Friend requests from other members which you can accept, decline, or ignore.

2. Like: You can click the Like link on any Facebook update to show that you like the content. When you Like something, the action appears as an update on your Facebook Wall (see “Wall” below). You can also Like any piece of content that you find across the Internet whenever it’s accompanied by the Facebook Like button (see “social plugins”).

3. Messages: Your Facebook Messages are similar to private email messages. They appear in your Facebook Inbox and can include text messages, chats, emails, and mobile messages from your Facebook Friends.

4. News Feed: Your Facebook News Feed is the continually appended feed of status updates that appears on your Facebook Profile home page. It shows the most recent activities from your Facebook Friends and Facebook Pages that you follow.

5. Notes: Using the Notes feature, you can publish messages in rich-text format giving you greater flexibility than simple updates allow.

6. Notifications: You can set up your Facebook Profile so you receive email, mobile, or onsite updates when certain activities happen on Facebook. For example, you can be notified when an update is made to a Group you belong to or when someone accepts your Friend request.

7. Poke: If you want to get one of your Facebook Friend’s attention, you can “poke” him or her on Facebook. The Friend will receive a notification from Facebook letting him or her know that they’ve been poked (and by whom).

8. Profile: Facebook refers to your Profile as your complete picture and story on Facebook. It includes your Profile picture, biography, personal information, and more. Your Profile can be public or private. It’s your personal piece of “real estate” on Facebook.

9. Ticker: Your Ticker appears on the right side of your Facebook home page and is updated with your friends’ activities in real-time.

10. Timeline: Your Facebook Timeline shows all of your Facebook updates and activities in reverse chronological order.

11. Top Story: Facebook chooses the top stories that appear at the top of your Facebook News Feed. These are stories that have been published since the last time you checked your News Feed and are visibly identified with a blue corner.

12. Wall: Your Facebook Wall is where you can publish updates and where your Friends can post updates directly to you.

Terms for Facebook Features and Extensions

Facebook Features and Extensions

It’s time to go beyond the standard Facebook Profile and take a look at what all of those features and extensions mean. The following definitions introduce some of the most commonly used Facebook features and extensions.

13. App: Facebook apps are created by third-parties and add more features and functionality to your Facebook experience.

14. Badge: Facebook Badges are personalized images or boxes that you can display on your website, blog, and so on, to show off parts of your Facebook Profile or Page.

15. Block: If you don’t want someone to view your Facebook Profile, add you as a Friend, or send you messages through Facebook, you can block them.

16. Chat: You can send and receive instant messages with your Facebook Friends without leaving Facebook using the Chat feature.

17. Credits: Facebook Credits are considered to be Facebook’s virtual currency, which you can use to buy virtual goods in some Facebook games and apps.

18. Event: Use the Events feature to organize events, gather RSVPs, and even respond to events that you’re invited to.

19. Games: Like Facebook apps, games are developed by third-parties and enable you to play with other Facebook members without leaving Facebook.

20. Group: Facebook Groups can be created by any Facebook member and provide a space where smaller groups of people can come together to discuss specific topics. Groups can be public or private.

21. Page: A Facebook Page is a space on Facebook for brands, businesses, organizations, and entertainers.

22. Social Plugins: Facebook social plugins allow website owners to provide visitors with a social Facebook experience without visitors having to leave the websites themselves. For example, the Facebook Like button allows people to Like content through their Facebook Profiles without leaving the website pages they’re on.

23. Subscribe: Using the Subscribe feature, you can keep track of posts and updates from other Facebook members, even if you’re not Friends with them.

24. Tags: You can tag another Facebook member in photos and posts that you publish on Facebook.

25. Video Calling: The Video Calling feature enables you to connect with your Facebook Friends through online video without leaving Facebook.

[Image credits: Niall Kennedy, BeFittSarah Page]