The Basics of Messenger

You may feel you’ve got more than enough options with which to message friends and family without adding to the stack. However, you may find as I have that a few people in your circle use (Facebook) Messenger as their “go-to” messaging platform, so you may want to know the basics in order to reply to them.

What is Messenger?

Facebook Messenger is a free mobile messaging app which can be used for instant messaging, sharing photos, videos, audio recordings and for group chats with your friends and family on Facebook as well as with your phone contacts.

The Messenger app is separate to Facebook app, although both are part of Meta (the company). However, as a user, your profile can be set easily by using your Facebook account (or telephone number).

What are Messenger’s main functions?

  • Instant messaging
  • Photo/video sharing
  • Group chats – users can chat with their Facebook friends and phone book contacts
  • Record, send and listen to voice messages
  • Live, free video calling

One of its added features also makes it especially popular with young people…the ability to add a wide array of fun stickers, including many with your personal avatar (see below).

Getting Started with Messenger

If you’ve got the Facebook app on your phone, you may find you also have Messenger. If not, you can download it for free from the App store (for iPhones) or Google Play (for Android phones).

It’s easy to get started! To see who you already have as contacts, simply tap the “People” icon at the bottom of the screen (see below, right).

This will bring up another screen, on which in the top right corner you’ll see the icon as below. Tap that, and it should bring up your phone’s contact list in alphabetical order.

To upload more contacts:

1. From Chats, tap your profile picture in the top left.

2. Tap Phone Contacts.

3. Tap Upload Contacts to turn this setting on.

Using Messenger

Decide how you’d like to get in contact with your friend or family…via chat, call or video call by choosing “Chat” or “Calls” from the bottom of the main screen.

If you choose “Calls”, you can then tap on either the phone or video icon to the right of the person in your contacts you’d like to call. Alternatively, if you choose Chat, you can either search for the person you’d like to contact or press the “write” icon in the top right corner before scrolling down to find the correct person. This will open a new chat if you’ve not done so before on Messenger or the existing string if you’ve messaged one another before.

Try attaching a photo or video, sticker, pdf or voice message by choosing the relevant icon on the bottom of the screen (see below). The “+” will bring up memes, the camera will activate your camera so you can take a new picture to send, the landscape photo to the right of the camera enables you to select an existing still or video from your library, and the microphone enables you to record a voice message. The smiley face brings up stickers, and the thumbs up will give you the usual choice of emojis.

Here is an example of a meme that came up that I added to a chat with my daughter. For better or worse, once you select the meme, it sends automatically without requiring a further step of uploading, so you may want to avoid extraneous tapping when using this feature or you may find you’ve sent something that will have them scratching their head.

Why not have a look round the stickers that are on offer? You will probably find some seasonal options among other whimsical choices. You can access them with the icons at the bottom of the chat screen (see yellow circled icon below, far bottom right).

Messenger gives you an additional way to keep in touch with loved ones, free of cost. Social connection is one of the great joys in life, so why not have a go now?

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