News
Commentary
2/22/2008
06:54 PM
Steve Wylie
Steve Wylie
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Community Building, Yes - But Why Facebook?

As a conference organizer, I made the decision to use Facebook as the social networking platform for our Enterprise 2.0 Conference community. Why? I'm actually looking at this as somewhat of an experiment. I'm using a consumer platform for a business purpose, a big topic these days. Here are some of the pros and cons of my experience so far.Pros:

1. Persistence. Part of "community building" is keeping your community engaged. If I have to fire up another web site to accomplish this I feel like I'm already losing a percentage of my community. Most of us are visiting our Facebook profiles daily or perhaps more often so hosting a community group inside this platform gives me an strong advantage.
2. No extra steps for community members. I've found that many people interested in Enterprise 2.0 are already Facebook users. Joining our E2 Community group requires no sign up and no account to manage.3. No cost. Free is good.4. Minimal set-up. We had our Facebook group up in no time. Select a name, post your logo, set some basic preferences and you're off and running.5. It's viral. Every time someone signs up for a group, his or her network of friends is notified. Chances are many of those friends share a common interest in the group and are also likely to join.Yes there are cons too:1. Minimal functionality. Let's face it, the Facebook group discussion boards are pretty basic. They get the job done but I'll leave it at that.2. Minimal customization. There's very little a group administrator can change about the layout of the group site. Take the E2 group for example. I'd like the discussion boards to feature more prominently on the site, maybe show some of the threading too. That doesn't happen in Facebook. The posted items tend to dominate the page.3. No RSS. This one surprised me. Why is Facebook not allowing an RSS feed from the groups? For better or worse, many of us use RSS to manage our multiple sources of information. RSS is a great way to inform group members of a new discussion or important update.4. No search. Facebook groups do not show up in search engines. So if you're hoping to attract new members to your group through search, it ain't happening. That goes for searching within the group site as well. No dice.
There are some great social networking platforms out there for business. Some are built specifically for the conference business. In my perfect world, I'd have all the functionality those tools offer, built around or interfacing with Facebook. I'm sure someone will do just that.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of January 18, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.