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It's a Group Thing

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Facebook Groups have been around for a while now, and they are certainly getting some use from the business community. For those of us that use Facebook for business purposes, “Groups” can be very beneficial when used correctly…

but for others they can be simply annoying as our notifications go crazy with group posts! 


Like them or hate them Groups seem to be here to stay.  With notifications from group participants, messages, group invites and messages taking over our profiles, we thought it was timely to include a few tips for navigating and managing “Groups” and using them to your best advantage…and for those of you that are truly annoyed by this function, then perhaps these tips might help you to see some advantages … just by making a few changes re how you manage them! 

So how do “Groups” work and what is it all about?

Facebook describes Groups by asking: 

Have things you only want to share with a small group of people? Groups lets you share things with the people who will care about them most.   Just create a group, add friends and start sharing.  Once you have your group, you can post updates, poll the group, chat with everyone at once and more.  Share different things with different people:  Groups lets you share things with the people who will care about them most.  By creating a group for each of the important parts of your life – family, teammates, coworkers – you decide who sees what you share.

So how do groups work? 

·        Groups are “opt-out” – this means that you do not have the control to only opt-in to a group – someone can add you to a group without your approval. It is up to you to “opt-out” if you wish to remove yourself from the group.  As a general rule you should only be added to groups that are relevant to you, but it is often the case that people are added to groups that they do not really want to follow or maintain – you will need to manually remove yourself from the group if this is the case (Right Hand Side of the page > Leave Group.)

·        Most group administrators set “guidelines” for the group.  For example some business groups are designed for sharing information relating to business, including questions, tips, articles and content - often they may have a guideline stating that participants can introduce themselves and their business but should refrain from overtly promoting their products and services. 

·        You can Control who sees your Group with the following settings:

o   Secret: only members can see the group and what members post

o   Closed:  Everyone can see the group.  Only members see posts.

o   Open (public):  Everyone can see the group and what members post.

·        Groups provide additional ways of connecting, such as the “group chat” function as well as being able to share Documents in the Docs Folder (right hand side of screen).  You can also share internal events and photographs. 

·        You can control your notification settings for Groups by clicking on the particular Group from your Group list (left hand side of screen) and then clicking on > Edit Settings.  Then choose your settings whereby you are notified when a member or friend posts or comments (switching these off where necessary).  You can also switch off email notifications and the group chat message function. 

Likes and Dislikes

There are a few benefits to groups and a few things that may annoy you: 

Likes:  You can really engage with a select group of people by using Groups and they are great for asking and answering questions, having conversations, sharing content and keeping up to date with issues or topics that all members are interested in. They are also great for short term or long term projects within a team who want to share info, messages and converse with each other in a real time way throughout the day. 

Dislikes:  The fact that groups are “opt out” can be annoying and you will need to decide whether you want to be in a group or not when invited.  The notifications can also be distracting, as until you modify your group settings, you might log in to find dozens of notifications about the group activity.  It depends on how “notified” you want to be about what is going on as to what extent you turn down your settings! 

Me personally?  Well, I am currently a member of a number of “Public” Business groups, some smaller “Closed” groups sharing information particular to a profession and a “Private” project-related group that is smaller and more task focused. I tend to only get notifications from friends in all of the groups, rather than each time a member posts for larger groups.  I find that working on projects within groups to share information and ask questions has been very beneficial, and I definitely get my notifications set up early to control the traffic!  Overall I have found them useful!

What about you – like them or love them, have you used Groups to help you with your business activities, networking, learning or project management?











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