10 Ways You Can Use Facebook to Find People Online

Facebook is the largest and most popular social networking site on the Web today. Millions of people check into Facebook daily, which makes it a fantastically powerful tool for finding people you might have lost contact with: friends, family, high school chums, military buddies, etc. In this article, we are going to look at a few ways you can use Facebook to reconnect. Note: as technology moves forward very quickly, keep in mind that some of the methods listed here might become outdated; however, at the time of this writing, all of these were tested and found to work correctly. 

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Facebook friends page

Boy using an Ipad
Till Jacket/Photononstop/Getty Images

Go to the find your friends on Facebook page. You have a number of options here: find people you know by email, find people you know by the last name, find people on your IM (instant messenger) list, browse for people alphabetically (this is somewhat tedious) or browse Facebook pages by name.

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Piggyback on your friends' friends

facebook friends

Use your Facebook friends as a resource. Click on their Friends and scroll through their list of friends. This is a great way to find someone in common that you might have forgotten about.

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Facebook suggestions

facebook suggestions

Use the Facebook Suggestions link (found to the right of your news stream) as a jumping off point. You will not only see potential friends and fan pages here but if you scroll down a little, you will also see an opportunity to search within your groups: college, high school, workplace, camps, etc. (Want to set up your own Facebook group?)

By default, when you search for a topic on Facebook, the results you see will be from your list of contacts; your "circle of friends", so to speak. If you would like to expand that circle to include results from anyone who has chosen to make their Facebook information publicly accessible, simply click on "Posts By Everyone". This gives you the option to view information from people who are not included in your contact list.

how to find people online

Facebook has a page designated especially for the networks that people choose to belong to. On this search page, you can search by name, email, school name and graduation year, and company. More »

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Filter your Facebook results

looking for people online

Once you start typing something into the Facebook search bar, a feature called Facebook Typeahead kicks in, which returns the most relevant results from your immediate contacts.By default, when you search for someone on Facebook, you will get all the result on one page: people, pages, groups, events, networks, etc. You can filter these easily by using the search filters on the left-hand side of the search results page. Once you click on one of those filters, your search results will rearrange themselves into only results that coincide with that particular subject, making it easier for you to track down who you are looking for.

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Search for two things at once

looking for people online

Facebook (unfortunately) does not have much in the way of advanced search, but you can search for two things at once by using the pipe character (you can make this character by pressing shift backslash). For example, you could look for baseball and Billy Smith with this search: "baseball (pipe character) Billy Smith".

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Find classmates on Facebook

college

Search for former classmates on Facebook. You can either simply browse through a graduation year (this is a GREAT way to find people you have lost touch with), or you can type in a specific name to get more narrowed results.You'll also be given people from your alma mater if you include it in your own Facebook profile. 

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Find work colleagues on Facebook

work

If someone has ever been affiliated with a company (and has put this affiliation on their Facebook profile), you will be able to find it using the Facebook company search page.

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Search for Facebook networks

network

This Facebook search page is especially helpful. Use the drop down menu to search within your networks, or browse the left-hand side menu to filter your search results (recently updated, lists, possible connections, etc.).

Facebook's general search page searches ALL results; friends, groups, posts by friends, and Web results (powered by Bing). You are given the option to "like" pages and groups that you might be interested in here, as well as search for specific words within your friends' status updates.