Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TUESDAY TIP #Facebook Groups a la #Timeline

If you're on Facebook--and who isn't these days?--then in the early months of 2012 you've probably seen your profile altered, with or without your consent. If you're a member of any groups on Facebook, you may have also noticed them changing like your new Timeline-enhanced profile. Click through to read more.

One of the nice things (in my opinion) is that now you see avatars of group members along the top of the group page. Here's a shot from the World Wide Web Artists' Consortium (WWWAC) group to which I belong.

In fact, the avatars shown are the most-recently active users, just like the line of pictures shown on the top of your profile or fan Page would be the most-recently viewed pics.

In addition to showing you the most-recently active users of the group, Facebook groups now have a little blurb over on the right side of the page telling you what the group is supposed to be about--keywords there being "supposed to be." Just because you define a topic for a discussion doesn't mean participants won't go off-topic on their own.

The little box where you can enter the names of friends on Facebook to invite to the group isn't new but now it's easier to notice.

The biggest change, I think, is the one you don't see. Notifications. You can now control your notifications settings with a finer resolution than say, a year ago. If you pull down the Notifications dropbox, there's an "on" and an "off" but there's also a "settings" option. Using that, you can actually choose how far on or off your notifications are going to be. This is a spinoff from the Timeline feature of "subscribing" to statuses and comment threads. I think it's a good thing to be able to selectively follow conversations--especially in a group.

I'm still not sure I love Facebook Timeline-y-ness, but I definitely am entrenched in Facebook and am "non-plussed" by Google's attempts. I like Facebook Groups way better than Google Hangouts and I like the ease with which I can create and manage a Facebook Group. Google's "open to everyone, limit no access at all costs" pretty much guarantees the spammyness will prevail; whereas Facebook's new Timeline-enhanced Groups are deliberately modified to encourage on-topic, non-spammy conversations. I think in the case of Groups, Facebook really got it right. At last!

Thanks for stopping by. See you next Monday for a new entry in the Positioning marketing series.

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