What Does It Mean to Poke Someone on Facebook?

Poke notification on Facebook
A poke notification on Facebook

If you've spent any length of time on Facebook, you may have been "poked" by someone, or you may have wondered what it means to give someone else a poke. A poke is a small application on Facebook that is included with every account. On your homepage, a small box on the right hand side called "Pokes" is visible if anyone has poked you.

Sending a Poke on Facebook

screenshot of poke on Facebook

There are a number of reasons to send pokes, both to your friends and to people who aren't on your friends list, including:

  • Just to say a quick "hello"
  • To remind someone that you're waiting on a reply or message from him or her
  • To check in and see if a person has visited Facebook lately
  • To let someone know you're thinking of him or her
  • Just for fun

How to Send Pokes

Screenshot of Facebook poke

To poke someone:

  1. Visit their timeline.
  2. Locate the gear symbol in the far right side of their banner.
  3. Click on the gear symbol to get a drop down menu that includes the option to "Poke".
  4. Confirm the poke in the pop-up box when it appears; once you do that, the poke is sent.

If someone pokes you, you'll have the option to poke them back or remove the poke. Links to select either one of these choices are found beside the pokes themselves. If you decide to remove the poke, it disappears forever.

One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot poke the same person twice, unless the individual has returned or removed your first poke.

How to Tell If You Have Been Poked

Poke symbols are simply small images of a hand with a finger pointing and the name of the person who sent the poke to you. If you have been poked, the image will show up on your home page. Only you can see the poke once you receive it. Depending upon your notification settings, you may also receive a notification informing you of the poke.

Poke App

In addition to the standard poke, Facebook also has a poke app that allows you to send a message, photo or video that only displays for a limited amount of time such as 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds. The recipient must also have the poke app on their phone, and these pokes cannot be viewed or sent from a desktop.

To poke someone via the poke app:

  1. Download the app onto your phone.
  2. Log into your Facebook account in the app.
  3. Confirm that you want to use the app under that name.
  4. Select "Poke a friend with a message, video or chat."
  5. Type in the name of your friend or select a name from your list of contacts.
  6. Type in your message, and select a photo or video. If you want to add text to a photo or video, tap the screen and hold, and then type in your message or draw on the photo.
  7. Select how long you want the message to display.
  8. Hit "Send."

To view a poke you have received, just tap and hold the message, photo or video until the time runs out. Removing your finger from the screen will cause the message, photo or video to disappear. Once it's gone, it cannot be viewed.

Keep in mind that while pokes disappear after the time limit, they are still retrievable from Facebook for 90 days. If a friend snaps a screenshot of your poke, Facebook will send you a notification by flashing an icon next to the poke app on your home page to let you know. Facebook recommends contacting the friend and asking him or her to remove the screenshot directly if you do not wish to have it displayed.

Sending Pokes from Your Phone

You can send a poke from your mobile phone or device in a number of different ways.

  • From a Facebook text, reply "p."
  • When visiting a member's profile, reply "p,"
  • Text "p" followed by the person's name to FBOOK.

Poking Can Be Fun

If you're still unsure about poking on Facebook, give it a try, or look under the Facebook Help section for more information on pokes. It can be fun to log in and see how many of your friends have poked you back.

What Does It Mean to Poke Someone on Facebook?