It’s no secret that I’ve been a Facebook critic for quite sometime, and rightfully so, but some recent changes in my approach has opened my eyes to the real possibility behind Facebook.
I’ve long used Facebook as a friends and family platform and it served that purpose well. I didn’t want brands, pages, and ignorant games cluttering my stream and it took a great deal of work to preserve my ideal experience. I understood the potential, especially for people that haven’t discovered the power of Twitter, but it just didn’t work for me.
That’s beginning to change
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of my warming relationship with Facebook but I can identify two major changes that have contributed to my new perspective.
I deleted all my friends lists
This was a radical step for me. Initially, I used friend lists to manage access to my profile and restrict status updates to segmented populations. It gave me tons of control and protected my privacy but Facebook’s redesign made them less accessible and I used them less frequently.
So, I deleted them. I grant all my friends equal access to my status and profile and it grouped all of them into a single stream. It simplified and liberated my Facebook experience in one step.
For me it’s become a richer and more engaging community.
(I’ll qualify this action by saying I fully expect to re-implement privacy groups in the future but for now it works.)
I used it to Organize an Event
I’m involved in several online communities that host regular events and all of them were born out of Twitter. I can talk in depth about organizing tweetups and gatherings with tools like twtvite and Cotweet but I’ve never had a chance to do these tasks through Facebook until Foursquare Day.
Once I discovered Foursquare Day and decided to organize a local swarm attempt through Facebook I made a none too original discovery.
For group and event organization – Facebook is a heck of a lot easier.
The richness of the platform with pages, events, invites, and longer updates really lend themselves to community engagement. Twitter may be a lot more hip in my crowd but Facebook has a full arsenal of tools. Twitter is a mashup of disconnected addons that requires savvy users.
Coincidentally, I’ve been considering Ning as a way to offer more functionality for one of our Twitter communities and while the features are attractive and it has a ton of potential for community organizing it has a major flaw, no one uses it. Which brings us back to Facebook.
Everyone is already on Facebook. Why not just use it?
So while I long for more Ning-like features Facebook pages, events, and groups get the job done much better than Twitter.
The Last Word
Don’t think my Twitter account is going quiet anytime soon, I’m still a Twitter fanatic but I must admit that I’m seeing Facebook in a whole new way.
It’s more approachable for many small businesses and the fact is there are a lot more regular folks using it.
Now if we can just get some Facebook page applications that are actually useful we might be on to something.
now where did I put that like to my Ning group…