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Getting More Out of Facebook

By Sarah Klein

Facebook is growing up – and fast. The site now boasts over 200 million users, a milestone achieved just this month. The most recent 100 million sign-ups – most of them online Moms and Dads – joined the social networking site in just the last 8 months! Almost half of all Facebook users are now over the age of 26, with growth fastest in the 55-64 year-old age bracket, with 45-54 and 35-44 close behind.

New users are networking with existing friends and reconnecting with old ones, as well as trying out some of the more helpful applications. No longer just for fun, many of the hundreds of Facebook apps can make social networking and the online world easier to navigate. Some apps are custom built by Facebook, some by users; some are for mobile devices, others for the desktop. Here are a few apps that might be useful for busy online parents:

Connect with family members through We’re Related, the most popular app for Facebook-savvy families. This application helps you find your relatives on Facebook and share family news and photos – and even create a family tree. If you want to build a tree that includes relatives without their own Facebook accounts, try Family Tree.

If you’d like to find a way to connect with other Facebook moms, check out Circle of Moms, a mini-social network within Facebook that functions essentially as a chat group and message board for online moms.

Want to be better organized? Try SocialCalendar. You can share dates and plans, as well as see what your friends are up to. This useful app can help you remember birthdays, follow wish lists, and even find movie times.

Speaking of movies, if you’re looking for user reviews and recommendations, or want to keep track of what you’ve seen recently, the Movies app from Flixster is a great place to start.

After you’ve uploaded your photos to Facebook, Picnik may come in handy. This photo editing app lets you tinker with your pictures to your heart’s content, without ever leaving Facebook.

And of course, applications are still a great way for a little extra Facebook fun. Check out LivingSocial, currently the most popular application on Facebook. It allows you to expand the interests you share on your profile to lists of favorites, in hopes of connecting with new friends and learning more about old ones.

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