Facebook's new focus on communities: yay or nay?

(Renée Van Holsteijn) #1

In my previous topic about community management on Workplace by Facebook, @thirstforwine made clear he isn’t that keen on Facebook and their huge part in community management. This got me thinking: is Facebook becoming too big in the game?

Facebook recently has changed their mission from ‘Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected’ to Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

Zuckerberg explains in is Building Global Community letter: “For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families. With that foundation, our next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community – for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”

So, full force on Facebook communities. Or not?
Would you build your new community on Facebook?

Behind The Velvet Ropes Of Facebooks Private Groups
(Sarah Hawk) #2


I want the autonomy to make my own decisions. I want to own my own data. I want the benefits of housing the content on my own real estate. I want discussions to be permanent, not ephemeral. And those are just off the top of my head.

Facebook have made so many decisions to date that have been detrimental to community builders (algorithm shifts etc) that they have a lot of trust to rebuild before I’d use their platform to build community.

(Renée Van Holsteijn) #3

That’s pretty clear, @HAWK, and I totally agree. On the other hand: you build communities with your members. And since the members are likely to already use Facebook, they might prefer Facebook themselves. It could be just easier to go and build there, right?
What should Facebook with its communities to do have the vote of a respected community manager like you?

(Jen Blanford) #4

Our communities also have Facebook pages While there is some crossover - sometimes we are able to use fb visitor posts to direct people to our community, people mainly stick to one or the other. Do you have any suggestions for converting fb conversations/posts to those same people becoming community members?

(Sarah Hawk) #5

I think it is to a degree, yes. You don’t have to create a new habit – but that’s only one part of the community building dilemma.

I used to belong to three Facebook communities. One was very popular/engaged (CMX Hub) and was really valuable for new community builders. I have since stopped visiting all three because I’m sick of seeing the same questions over and over again. People can’t search and find the info they need so they just keep asking. Those communities need experienced people to answer questions.

I’m honestly not sure. I think it would take a platform re-engineer. I think Facebook is fantastic for many reasons and I use it daily – I just don’t think it’s the right tool for many communities. (It does work for some.)

(Mark Williams) #6

I hope they don’t make the changes it would require because I think it would hurt what it’s good at: a river of news about stuff. I consider it a private RSS feed of my friends and family. It’s why I have very few ‘work’ related people on my friends list.

I understand why they want to play here, but I really think it takes a different user experience focus and a different outcome. Having said that, I think FB can be a useful community tool for some things. For a community of practice and knowledge sharing/gathering, it’s terrible. For more etherial, momentary, fun things, I think it makes total sense. Be careful when you have a beautiful hammer about the nails you see.