We are on Ning.com, anxious to find a new home/platform for our small community of practice around online teaching at our institution. We spent considerable time identifying needs and user stories and solidified on Drupal as our preferred development platform. The price tag for a (custom) development and hosted service came in quite high…AND it is open source which our university IT wants little to do with.
Bottom line, we were encouraged to try Workplace (by Facebook) which is free to .edu and non-profit groups. (Think of everything you know about FB; take away ads, and any interface configurability. Add pretty rich analytics, and group and member management). Our IT department is quick to point out that it meets nearly ALL of our stated criteria for functions and features…
BUT as we’ve been trying it internally for a month, it’s missing something critical that we’ve not captured in our functional requirements and user stories for our community. Something I can’t yet articulate. I, and my community manager are a bit at a loss as to how to describe what’s missing in Facebook for work. Meanwhile the IT pressure is mounting to adopt this tool, but it feels wrong and potentially suicidal for our precious community.
Am I on to something in thinking that:
- Workplace (FB) is a GREAT and MATURE platform for connecting people…but our community needs to goes further. It needs to connect people around ideas and topics and training materials.
- Workplace (FB) is a very familiar interface for many, but it’s familiarity could breed equally familiar behavior (lot’s of “likes”, surface/shallow discussion, and cat videos)
- Workplace elevates people over content (which isn’t all bad, but I like both)
- Workplace is a rich social tool…but is simply ill-suited to facilitate/support our “type” of community
What am I missing?
Am I just too old school–stuck in tradition–wanting forum/blog based community? (I am a daily FB user for personal purposes, and generally like the tool)
How do intelligently articulate what is missing in FB and why it feels so wrong for my baby (my community, I’ve spent years nurturing)?