A Guide To Facebook Symbols & What They All Mean

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facebook symbolsHave you ever noticed how many little Facebook symbols are scattered throughout the Facebook landscape? There has to be a Facebook team in some back cubicle at headquarters just thinking up what little image Facebook could offer next.

Whatever the reason for so many little images, the one thing it can do is cause a bit of confusion for newcomers. While many of the tiny icons are self-explanatory, for many people that are not only new to Facebook, but new to computers overall – some of these images are a real mystery.

In the past, here at MUO, we’ve helped new users navigate through Facebook. Steve offered a nuts-and-bolts explanation of Facebook, and I described how you could customize your account with MyStuff, or add Facebook widgets to your own website. But today, I’m going to put together a quick reference guide that you can use when one of those little Facebook icons really has you stumped.

Simple Facebook Symbols

I’ve separated all of these Facebook Symbols into two groups – the common icons most people recognize, and then the obscure ones. Most of you should recognize the first one, especially if you’re a fan on MUO’s Facebook fan page.

facebook symbols and meanings Fast becoming one of the most recognizable images both inside and outside of Facebook – this is the famous “like” icon. Like a status update, quote, link, image or anything else? Click this image and let everyone know.
symbols on facebook At the top of your Facebook home page, you’ll notice three dark icons. The image of earth represents your notification list of all of the latest updates related to your Facebook activity.
symbols on facebook Click on this little conversation bubble icon, and you’ll see a dropdown box displaying the latest Facebook messages you’ve received.
symbols on facebook Finally, the last image at the top of the home page is the “Friend Request” icon. Click on this, and if you have any new friend requests, they’ll show up in a drop-down box.

The following icons are well known by most Facebook users, so I won’t waste much time on them. Basically, from left to right you’ve got photos, videos, events and links.

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Click on any one of these icons to add that type of content to your wall.

The last of the common Facebook images is the “edit” icon. Any time you see this image at the upper right of a block of text or a column, that means that you can edit that particular area.

Obscure Facebook Symbols

The next batch of Facebook symbols are well known to regular Facebook users, but may not be quite as recognizable to brand new users. How many of these do you recognize?

The “lock” icon is a relatively new one. It basically allows you to customize the privacy of specific Facebook content on a case by case basis.

All you do is select the lock before you post an update, and identify what group of friends (or everyone) may have permission to see the update. I offered more details on how to use this feature on an MUO Facebook privacy article.

Next up is this little box with a green plus sign. This one isn’t entirely obvious, but it’s actually the link to create your own Facebook group.
Looking for that elusive app that you heard about from a friend? Click on the applications icon, and you’ll see current app requests, your apps, and applications that your friends have installed.
This one should be fairly obvious – it’s how you get to Facebook game requests, a list of your installed games, and a list of your friends’ installed games.

The chatbox at the lower right corner of your screen is a useful way to communicate with Facebook friends when you’re both online. The status images at the left are usually displayed next to your friend’s name.

The icon tells you whether your friend is logged into Facebook and active, whether they’ve gone idle or whether they’re logged out. The green bar is displayed next to friend “groups.”

If you see the little “gear” icon next to any app, column or area of Facebook, then it means that you can configure the settings for that feature by clicking on it.
This icon will take you to the polls page, where you can answer a poll question and have the results posted to your wall.
This icon will take you to your “groups” page that displays all of the groups you’re a member of.
facebook symbols and meanings This animated image, appearing either black or blue, slides back and forth like the lights on the front of the car named “Kitt” in the hit 80’s show “Night Rider”. Except, in this case all it means is that Facebook is processing your request.
facebook symbols and meanings This icon is the “Causes” link to your page of causes. As I previously described here at MUO, Facebook causes lets you support things you believe in right from Facebook.
facebook symbols Finally, this little purple marker on a map is the image for Facebook Places, which Tim previously covered. Facebook Places is a cool new feature where you can make Facebook more location-based.

Did this guide help you identify any new Facebook icons that you never knew about? Do you know of any other strange or obscure icons that aren’t on this list? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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