Facebook is constantly evolving. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that they are not afraid to add features and change functionality of the site. For users, it means that every 6 months there seems to be an outcry about why Facebook has changed. For people who administrate Facebook pages, it means that you have to constantly redo your static FBML welcome pages and layouts of your tabs. And Facebook is not famous for giving you a warning before changes are made, so you have to read and study what has changed each time. Facebook rolled out some big changes to how pages work yesterday, so I wanted to give you a heads up on few things.
Pages are a great way for companies and organizations to interact with their customers and members. With the new update, the biggest new feature I see is that now page administrators can comment and interact as themselves instead of as the page administrator. Before, if I commented on our church’s page, it always showed up as our church instead of as me personally. There are times for both, and it’s great to see that Facebook is finally giving you the option to choose how to post to your Facebook Page wall. Photos are also more prominently displayed at the top of your page, so you will need to be watching to make sure that the photos that are posted are appropriate for your page. Although it’s not new, you can also integrate facebook places with your facebook page, so that people can view a map of your organization and even check-in. You can find a pretty good discussion of the new changes over at allfacebook.com.
The biggest downside to the new design is that your Facebook tabs aren’t as noticeable and as of right now, you can’t set one as your default landing page. Since many organizations have built their Facebook pages around custom pages, this won’t be well received by many users. Overall, I like most of the changes. The new pages look more similar to user profile pages.
Facebook groups were updated several months ago, but I have seen very little written about them. Facebook has been on a search to find a solution to connect smaller groups of people. They tried friend lists, which I really liked, but they decided it wasn’t interactive enough. The old style Facebook groups added some interaction, but they still weren’t satisfied, so they updated it yet again. With the newest version of groups, I think we now have a great solution for small groups and youth groups at churches.
Here’s what the new groups offer:
- more control over who can join a group, including open and closed groups, and administrator approval of new group members
- more control over how you are notified. You can now receive an email notification every time someone posts to the group page
- the ability to share basic documents
- a group email address that can be used to post to the group wall
- group chat! Everyone in the group can participate in a group chat. Think of using this for online study groups or small groups. I’ve even thought of using it to setup an online weekly prayer meeting for all our college and high school students.
You can read more about groups at allfacebook.com, or by watching the video from Facebook below.