With the evolution of technology and the internet, it’s very easy to fall behind. One minute, Myspace was all the rage, and the next minute it seems like everyone’s using this new website called Facebook. You can’t ask your teens about the website, because they’ll laugh and proclaim you too old to be on it, but all your adult friends who are on Facebook don’t seem to know, either.

Here are five of the most common questions people want to know the answers to, but don’t know who to ask, about Facebook.

1. How come everyone looks so good in all their pictures?

Everyone tends to emphasize their own looks, because our society as a whole tends to be so focused on good looks. Teens have a bit of an advantage here, because they are often out and about with other friends who take pictures. The more pictures that are taken, the more likely one will look really good. The profile picture is often the most flattering, and some people even choose modelling style photos taken by a photography-savvy friend.

While emphasizing good pictures helps people seem incredibly attractive, just as important is de-emphasizing bad pictures. Many people don’t like to be tagged in pictures that make them look unattractive, so they opt to remove tags of themselves in bad pictures. This is a sneaky way to ensure those drunk party pictures don’t show up on your profile!

2. Why do people update their status so often?

This is a trend encouraged by Facebook through their release of various applications for smartphones (cell phones that can connect to the internet) and remote internet-capable devices. There are a lot of reasons people might choose to update their status frequently. Some people are just fascinated by Facebook, others feel that the world is interested in their every thought, and still others simply don’t have anything better to do!

Don’t feel intimidated if you can’t keep up with the Joneses on Facebook. More status updates doesn’t always equal more attention; in fact, if you’re seen as updating your status too often, people will frequently associate you with narcissism and ignore you! A good rule of thumb is to avoid updating your status more than once or twice a day, plus for any major events (something you’d phone a friend to tell him or her about).

3. What are Facebook applications, and why are they so popular?

The basic Facebook functionality is fairly limited; it includes walls, posts, groups, “like” pages, photos, and some more functions that are built into the site. However, Facebook offers the ability for independent web developers who aren’t hired by Facebook, nor do they have any official connection to Facebook, to develop their own applications.

Any developer can submit their application for people to use in order to extend the functionality of Facebook. For example, if many people installed a “who’s viewing your profile?” application, they could see who viewed their profile – but only people who have the application installed and who viewed it through the application. This means you can’t completely change Facebook’s functionality, even with applications.

Most commonly, Facebook applications are games. Some well-known examples are Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other such applications that you have probably received many invitations for. Other applications include daily horoscopes, “ask me anonymous questions” applications, gift-sending applications, and applications that allow you to place decorative pictures, banners or badges on your profile.

4. How do I use Facebook safely, without worrying about it costing me my job?

With all the hyped-up media stories about Facebook costing people their jobs, it’s easy to panic and avoid the website entirely. This is a bit extreme, however. Most employers aren’t going to fire their employees on the spot for simply having a Facebook account – it’s all about what you do with it.

First, adjust the privacy settings so that only minimal details are available about you to people who aren’t your friend. To allow people to find you, consider displaying your profile picture, name, gender, and a few basic biographical details, but don’t let them view photos, videos, your wall, and so on. Just the basic information should be enough to tell them whether or not you are someone they know.

Next, don’t do anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want referenced in the workplace. This means no uploading of “drunk pictures” or risque chats on your Wall, for example. (Some people get away with doing this, if (and only if) they have no coworkers as friends and never add them. People can view your history if you add them later!)

Finally, be sensible about what you say on Facebook. Many people post status updates about how much they hate their job or boss, only to realize that he or she saw it. Others call in sick, then post an update about how they’re going to Las Vegas or attending some event in town. This is obviously not a wise idea for your career health.

5. Should I add my children on Facebook?

This is a sticky one. In some cases, it’s wise and even advisable to do so – if they aren’t yet teens, for example. Other times, teens might feel like you’re spying on them or invading their privacy. Nothing is worse for a teen than having their mom or dad write something embarrassing on their Facebook wall!

If you and your teen are close, you may be able to add them as a friend without complaint. You’ll have to judge it yourself, and perhaps have a discussion about what they expect you not to do if you add them as a friend.

Facebook is still a relatively new medium for communication, so there are many rules of etiquette that have yet to be decided and developments that are being added every day. Someday, it will probably become obsolete… until then, you know a little more about how it works and what you should or shouldn’t do.