Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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10/1/2009
08:34 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Why I Started A Facebook Fan Page For Myself

I started a Facebook fan page for myself yesterday. The reason I did it was (take your pick): (1) As a workaround for limitations in using Facebook for business communications with groups of people you don't know or (2) To feed my unreasonably large ego. Well, actually, probably both reasons apply.

I started a Facebook fan page for myself yesterday. The reason I did it was (take your pick): (1) As a workaround for limitations in using Facebook for business communications with groups of people you don't know or (2) To feed my unreasonably large ego. Well, actually, probably both reasons apply.I like both Facebook and Twitter. I use them for pretty much the same things: To get in conversations with people, to promote InformationWeek's and my own work, and to find interesting links.

But the relationships you form on Twitter and Facebook are very different. Twitter relationships are assymetrical: You can follow me, but I don't have to follow you back, and vice-versa. As I write this, I have 2,854 followers on Twitter, and I'm only following 464 people. According to the nifty tool FriendOrFollow.com, I have 2,473 people following me who I don't follow back, and 95 people I'm following who don't follow me back.

Facebook is different, though. It's designed to be symmetrical. You don't have followers and people you're following; you have "friends." You can't have a one-way relationship, one person sends out a friend request and the recipient has to confirm it.

My rule is I don't friend anybody unless I know them, either personally or by reputation. Still, I'd like to be able to promote my work to people who I don't actually know on Facebook. And it seems like a lot of people are interested in watching me there--I certainly get a lot of friend requests from strangers.

Until recently, I just turned away those friend requests from strangers. But I wasn't happy about that. Because if they want to follow me, I want them to be able to.

So the fan page is a solution. When people send me friend requests on Facebook, if I don't know them, I'll direct them to the fan page.

My fan page is here.

Right now, the fan page only has my picture, along with an automated feed of stories from both InformationWeek and my personal blog. I hope to add more content.

Fan pages aren't just for journalists and celebrities. though. A fan page is a good solution for anyone who wants to differentiate between their public and private personas. Healthcare professionals, for example, struggle with that issue--they get friend requests from patients, and they're uncomfortable confirming those requests because the relationship between a healthcare provider and patient is traditionally at arm's length, for good reason. On the other hand, Facebook is potentially a great way to get medical information out to people. The solution: Healthcare providers create fan page. I'm a fan of my dentist, for example; he has 45 fans, including me.

So how popular is my fan page? Let's start by putting things into perspective: The most popular page on Facebook is Michael Jackson's, with 10.2 million fans, followed by Barack Obama, with 6.8 million.

My own fan page is slightly less popular: I have two fans.

And one of them is me.

So my fan page is still a work in progress.

I'd like to at least be more popular than my dentist.

Follow InformationWeek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn:

Twitter: @InformationWeek @IWpremium @MitchWagner

Facebook: InformationWeek Mitch Wagner

LinkedIn: InformationWeek Mitch Wagner

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