The Short Version
1. Get the Messenger app, creating a Facebook account if you don’t have one already.
2. Send me a Friend Request beforehand, and tell me you’re planning to attend.
3. When it’s meeting time, have Messenger open and accept my call. During the meeting, you can mute your microphone and/or hide your video stream anytime.
The Long Version
To do beforehand:
1. Create a Facebook account (if you don’t have one already).
- In the past, it was possible to use the Messenger app without a Facebook account. Apparently that is no longer true.
- Go to Facebook.com. Creating an account is quick, easy, and free.
- You’re not required to give any personal information aside from your name and email address. It’ll ask for a lot of details, but almost everything is optional.
2. Get the Facebook Messenger app (it’s free).
- From a smartphone or tablet, search the app store for Facebook Messenger. It’s a free download, available on both iPhone/iPad and Android devices.
- You’ll need to log in with your Facebook account the first time you use it.
- It’ll ask you to enable Notifications. Consider saying no—it’s not required, and I’ve found the app’s messages a bit annoying. If you say yes and change your mind later, you can go into your device settings (under “Notifications” for iOS), find Messenger, and turn it off there.
- Alternatively, from a PC or laptop, you can go to Messenger.com. This wouldn’t be my first choice, since I’ve had some technical problems with using it, but you can give it a try. You’ll need a microphone and a webcam/video camera. And you’ll need to use Chrome, which is apparently the only browser that supports their video chat.
3. Tell me you’re planning to attend & send me a Friend Request.
- You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or else send me a note via Facebook, so I know who to invite at the start of the meeting. If you’re not sure whether you’ll attend, email me anyway—you can always just ignore the meeting invitation when you get it.
- Find me on Facebook right here—or search Facebook for Mr.Brian.D.Buckley—and click Add Friend.
- If you like, you can click again and mark me as an Acquaintance, which means I won’t see as much of your Facebook stuff (although I’m rarely on Facebook anyway). You can also unfriend me afterward, if you wish (but you don’t have to!).
When the meeting starts:
1. Have the Messenger app open.
2. Accept the call from me.
- This “call” uses your internet connection—it’s not a phone call. The call notification fills your whole screen, so it should be hard to miss.
- If you do miss the initial call, or hang up for some reason, you can open Messenger anytime during the meeting and join the call-in-progress. Just go to Home, tap the Messages tab, and tap the Join Call button.
During the meeting:
Your three main control buttons are:
(The screenshot above is from an iPhone, but other devices should look similar.)
The camera button enables/disables your own video camera (i.e., it toggles on/off whether other participants can see you). If your camera is enabled, you’ll see a screen-in-screen video of yourself.
The microphone button enables/disables your own microphone (i.e., it mutes/unmutes you). If you’re not actively speaking, consider muting yourself to minimize background noise.
The hang-up button—you can probably guess.
Any questions, let me know!