Not really getting that warm intimate feeling with Facebook today. Facebook released an update yesterday packing a fairly large punch with new functionality. The update includes:
- Newly-formatted Groups tool
- Ability to easily download content to a computer
- New Dashboard that clearly shows applications use of your private data
Facebook has been under fire lately by the privacy police and these changes are a nod in their direction. The focus of this post will be on the Groups tool. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook feels that the Groups capability will allow people to have a more intimate experience with Facebook as they interact with a smaller subset of friends. In theory this may sound like a great idea, but real world application may paint a different picture of user experience.
“From this space, you can quickly post photos, make plans and keep up with ongoing conversations. You can also group chat with members who are online right now. You can even use each group as an email list to quickly share things when you’re not on Facebook. The net effect is your whole experience is organized around spaces of the people you care most about.”
Groups are very easy to set up. Click on the ‘Create Group’ link in the upper-left hand corner of the home page and you are taken to a screen in which you can automatically add anyone from your Friends list to the group without them initially knowing it. Only you, as group creator, have the ability to delete the group, but group members can add their friends at any time without your approval. Other Facebook users can send a request to the Group creator to be added.
With your friends adding sub-sets of their friends (which in Facebook-speak means ‘Friends of Friends’) to the group at will, and that set adding their friends to the group, not sure how this newly formed group will be a space made up “of the people you care most about”…. The Group creator does have the ability to remove someone from the group; however this could raise some issues as well.
Groups can be created in three different ways:
- Open-Members & Content are publicly viewable
- Closed-Members are public, content is private (this is the default)
- Secret– Members and content are private
This is only Day 1 of the launch, but my gut instinct is telling me that some of the features of Groups could cause the tool to be disastrous. I have already seen Groups being created by Facebook users who are not the official voice of the organization. Imagine if you own a small company and a very excited and tech savvy fan creates a Group in your company name and begins to add friends. What happens if the content and conversations turn ugly and do a number on your brand reputation?
I sit on the board for local non-profit, Authentic Leadership Cincinnati. I grabbed our spot among Groups at midnight last night, to ensure that we have our official place on Facebook. Would love to hear your opinion of Groups or the other parts of the new Facebook update. Drop me a line or share your comments below. Read more about Facebook Groups here.