On Facebook, I always get invitations to add 'applications' to my profile. Some sound interesting, but I'm not even sure what an application is. Are they part of Facebook, or something from the outside? Do I need to worry about viruses?
Are Facebook Applications Safe?
Facebook applications are add-ons that can be fun, functional, or frivolous. Think "program" when you see the word "application" and it makes more sense. To their credit, Facebook has created an open system which allows clever programmers to create applications that are integrated into the Facebook system. Adding these applications to your Facebook profile is similar in concept to downloading and installing a program on your computer's desktop.
In theory, a Facebook application could contain a virus or spyware, but none have been reported so far. When evaluating an application, you should feel safe if it says "By Facebook" next to the name. Look also at the "About this Application" section. If it says "This application was not developed by Facebook" then I recommend you decide based on how many users have added the application. Several thousand or more should indicate that lots of Facebook users safely enjoy the app. Several dozen, maybe wait and see.
Addding Facebook Applications to Your Profile
Some applications add new interpersonal networking features to the Facebook platform, others just spiff up your profile with graphics, gadgets or games. After logging in, go to the Facebook Application Search tool and you'll find the latest ones created and how many others have signed up for it. You can also seek out the ones that are the most popular. There's no limit to how many applications you can add to your profile, and you can always delete any that don’t turn out to be as much fun as you thought they would be. Oh, and Facebook apps are free. Here are some of my favorite and recommended Facebook apps...
- Top Friends is by far the most popular Facebook app, with over 13 million users. Top Friends will add a box displaying up to 32 friends, similar to the Friend Space on Myspace, where you can display your best friends and click their mugshots for easy access to those profiles.
- Another of the most popular Facebook apps is Free Gifts, an alternative to the Facebook-supplied Gifts feature, except it's free. You can add Free Gifts to your profile, then choose from a large selection of virtual gifts to send to other Facebook users. If the recipient doesn't have the app, your gift will show up when they add it.
- Graffiti lets you draw stuff on your friends' profiles. Grab your spray paint and start defacing!
- The Video application lets you publish your personal videos on Facebook and send video messages to your friends, similar to YouTube. You can upload videos and also decide who gets to watch them. Upload a video from your hard drive, use your webcam to record a video from your browser, or email your vids to Facebook. This works easily, although you have to wait for a bit to have your video processed after your upload.
- Try the popular Aquarium app and put some fish, sharks or an octopus on your Facebook profile. You start off with 200 "coins" which will allow you to buy up to 8 aquatic pets for your buds or yourself. Each one lasts for 2 days before it goes figuratively belly-up. You automatically receive 150 more coins daily, but be warned, you may be asked you to fill out silly surveys or give other sites your email address to receive additional coins.
- You may also like the My Garden app, in which you can raise your own virtual flowers, and can send them to others or yourself. Besides, you can get a lawn gnome or pink flamingo! Each one you send lasts 2 days for the recipient. You start out with 250 coins, with the same amount added each day to re-populate your flora. Again, this app offers extra coins if you give them more information about yourself.
- Zombies - Must... eat... brains? Become a zombie, bite your friends, and turn them into zombies. You start out as an Ensign Zombie Newbie. Turn five others into virtual undead, racking up 25 points, and you move up in rank.
- Not into zombies? you can also become a Vampire, a Werewolf, or join the Vampires vs. Werewolves adventure.
- Have you ever wondered what you'd look like as a South Park Character? Now's your chance with this creator that begins with those annoying round faces and allows you to accessorize with hair, facial features, and clothing. Mine looks pretty Goth and should fit right in with the rest of the dysfunctional kids. Firefox browser is recommended with this app.
- CBS is getting in on the Facebook action by offering two applications, one that features CBS News headlines and The Showbuzz, which has the latest gossip tidbits. There are also many other media-related apps to choose from that provide sports, music, and other forms of entertainment.
- In the gaming category, there are over 300 apps to choose from. The Games app gives you 20 games you can play in Facebook, and some allow you to compete with others. My Pet is a virtual pet game where you can name, feed and train your pet, gain experience with it and fight the PK Boss. Invite a friend to raise one as well and you can have some tussles with each other. Think of it as Legend of Zelda, minus the Zelda.
With over 3000 applications to choose from in the areas of food, fun, gaming, money, music, politics, business and entertainment, you'll be sure to find several to try and share with your Facebook friends. New ones crop up every day, so you may want to check in occasionally. And if you have programming skills, you can design one yourself and share it with others in Facebook's virtual world.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 28 Aug 2007
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Facebook Applications (Posted: 28 Aug 2007)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved