What are Notifications and How do I Stop Them

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http://forums.androidcentral.com – Hi I just switched from a iPhone to the S4. I hate my phone making noises...especially since I dont have a clue why. All I want is the ringer to make noise and any text message to make a noise. Facebook, email, every other noise I dont want. Is there a blanket way to shut off everything besides the phone ringer and SMS messages? Is an SMS message considered a notification? Thanks for any help explaining this (HowTos)