This is an interesting post from Simon Wakeman who is Head of Marketing at Medway Council in south east England, as well as a freelance communications consultant. It voices concerns that many of us have in using Facebook, not just within the public sector but also for commercial, private sector organisations. Although he says that he does not believe that Councils should have a presence on Facebook he thinks it is better that councils are trying Facebook rather than avoiding it altogether.
I suspect that the following from the posting will resonate with many people’s feelings about using Facebook in the professional environment:
“The oft-repeated adage about “build it and they will come” is as wrong on Facebook as it is anywhere else on the web.
Just because you have a presence on Facebook (whether it’s as a corporate body or for a specific service area), that doesn’t mean you’re automatically using Facebook to its greatest potential as a communications tool.
Try searching out people in your area using Facebook already. Look for groups that are concerned with your area. Try to spot activists among the groups – who seem the most active and vocal?
Once you’ve done this think about how to engage with these people appropriately – and I don’t mean send them a message saying “I see you’re from XXX, why not join our group?””
The discussion between readers and Simon in the Comments at the end of the article are also worth serious consideration.
Another useful listing from LizAzyan Research on what UK local councils are doing with respect to social media. As well as detailing which local councils are doing what on Facebook there is a nice table showing the difference between Facebook Fan Pages and Facebook Groups.
How Pride and Prejudice might have been acted out on Facebook! Thanks to Phil Bradley for the Tweet.
What can you do with a Facebook Page? by David Lee King is a neat summary of what you can do with a library Facebook page and is broken down into three sections: basic information, Facebook functionality, and social stuff. The comments are also worth reading for suggestions and tips on what works and what doesn’t.
Companies should not dismiss staff who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo at work as merely time-wasters
I wanted to read the original report on the Demos site, or at least the press release, but there was no sign of it at 8.33 am UK time on 29th October 2008. So we’ll have to make do with the BBC article.
Ann Smarty at Search Engine Journal compares Facebook Group and Facebook Fan Pages for encouraging networking and publicising you organisation’s activities. She cites the two major differences as being
- Unlike groups, fan pages are visible to unregistered people and are thus indexed (important for reputation management, for example);
- Unlike pages, groups allow to send out “bulk invite” (you can easily invite all your friends to join the group while with pages you will be forced to drop some invites manually). Groups are thus better for viral marketing, meaning that any group member can also send bulk invites to the friends of his.
Other features are compared and the comments are worth reading for other people’s experiences.
Library 2.0 at the University of Wolverhampton is a guest post on Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus from Jo Alcock, Academic Information Assistant for the Harrison Learning Centre, University of Wolverhampton. She summarises how they use blogs, Facebook, wikis and online calendars to support users. The major part of the posting is about the barriers they have encountered such as issues with external hosting and software, lack of awareness of the technologies being used, the need for culture change, and user needs and experience.