If you manage a group, or have been deciding between a Facebook page for your business and a Group, read on.

Facebook fine-tuned a new version of groups back in October 2010. It was a little buggy at first but people have adjusted. Now Facebook is making a lot of changes again, and again forcing users to migrate to the new groups system pretty much without warning (or a lot of testing as far as we can see). I believe that one of the reasons these changes are being pushed through is that businesses are using groups when Facebook would prefer they use pages. Actually I agree with this in theory, but in practice it really bugs me that they do these things arbitrarily with little or no concern for their members. Ah well, that’s the Facebook way!

Facebook Groups

 

 

 

Let’s address the difference between Facebook Groups and Facebook pages as Facebook sees it.

Are public and available to all users
Can be public or relatively private. Posts can be made available only to group members
Pages may only be created by a brand’s legal representative
Groups can be created by fans of a brand
Pages offer branding and search engine opportunities
Groups which are not public are not indexed by search engines
User posts on Pages are shared on the news feed of the user and may be shared with their friends
In closed groups users’ posts are only shared within the group
Anyone can fan a page
Group members must be approved or added by another group member.
Pages are intended to reach the broad audience of all Facebook and the internet
Groups are intended as a closed space for small groups of people having conversations around shared interests.

The New Groups

If your group hasn’t been seeing much use lately Facebook may simply archive it for you. You’ll have to create a new group with the new system. Your old group photos, description and wall posts will still be accessible except for: recent news, officer titles, the info box under the group avatar and your members. You can add members to your new group by clicking “add Friends to Group.

If your group has been active you may see a message at the top of the group with options to upgrade the group. If you are a member and not an admin, you’ll see a request to send to the admin to ask them to upgrade.

Admins simply click the upgrade button and Facebook will switch the group and it’s members to the new groups framework. (Be patient, this may take a few minutes).

If your group does not have enough activity for Facebook to automatically upgrade it, or you choose not to upgrade, it will be archived. You will need to create a new group and re-invite members.

What’s the good part?

  • Members will be able to chat with the whole group inside their group page rather than just one-one-one.
  • The group can share photo albums and polls.
  • The group will have an email address for connecting off of Facebook.
  • As in the old groups, users will be able to share documents within their group.

And the Bad?

  • Facebook still hasn’t fixed the bit that allows people to add their friends to groups “as a favor” without their permission. When the last iteration arrived on the scene people found themselves added to groups that people thought they would be interested in like it or not. We got a lot of unsolicited emails from these groups and you have to either “Exit” the group–in which case you can never re-join–or turn off notifications.
  • If your group doesn’t make the cut to be upgraded you will have to re-create the group and invite all your members again.

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