Yesterday Facebook announced new functionality in the way groups will work on Facebook. Something I have been expecting for a while.
It is a pretty big change. Not only to groups but to the way that we use Facebook. The new groups will allow us to make mini Facebook experiences and for you to list together your interests and people. That might mean a group for the people who you lived with at University, or your amateur football team. All groups will be start as closed unless you make them open or private and only those in the group can see what goes on. The group admin can also update to group members newsfeeds.
There is also a big play on collaborative working. New groups allow uploading of documents and event editing these on the group. This is interesting and for me shows a play into the professional space. The groups even have group chat which allows you to talk to the whole group or those online in the chat module.
The final functionality which makes me think that Facebook is looking at the professional audience long term is being able to email the group. Every group (from the looks of it) can have an email address so that you can email the group even when you aren’t on Facebook. But when would you not be on Facebook but able to email? Perhaps at work…?
What about non profits?
For non profits I think this is an interesting move too. There are hundreds of thousands of groups dedicated to fundraising areas, events and organisations that can sometimes fragment a brand. Empowering these people and harnessing their amazing enthusiasm whilst keeping that activity streamlined is a challenge.
The new groups will allow much more private and personal interactions. Instead of a new group hidden away for anyone to join you add friends and contacts to the group. How this fits with your organisation Facebook strategy depends what you are trying to achieve but I would suggest that groups are going to change a lot of people’s experiences on Facebook so it may be a good idea to start exploring the functionality and possibilities. For small/tiny organisations it may even allow you to have a small collaborative intranet or space which is private and at no cost apart from the cost of a Facebook account.
We shouldn’t underestimate the way this will change our experience of Facebook. I am part of the tiny 5% of people who use Facebook lists, I find them a great tool and help me control privacy. New groups will make that a lot easier. You will be able to potentially create a group for each interest and area of your life and friends. For example I may have a group for my family, old flatmates and university friends and then friends who live in London (where I live now). That would mean I could have 4 different Facebook experiences which will have an impact on my feed too.
I think that this is the first step in the groups product. The old groups had become outdated and not fit for purpose. How brands use groups I am not so sure. I am sure there will be stories about brands using groups as an intranet or working group, I think that could work, though I have some big question marks over that. But we know Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone in the world to be on Facebook. If you can be on Facebook for work that might make that dream a bit easier.
- What do I need to know about the new Facebook groups? (guardian.co.uk)
- New Facebook Groups Designed to Change the Way You Use Facebook (mashable.com)