Gina Schreck, Technology Expert, speaker, Social media business

EVERYONE BE QUIET

Ok so it’s been a few weeks now since Facebook rolled out the new groups feature and a few of you have created or have been added to (sometimes without you really knowing how that happened) a new group.

I’m really not sure who they tested this product on, but whoever was in their 6 month, sequestured study group was obviously connected to less than 50 people. I guess if we all used Facebook the way it was intended, and only connected with close friends and family members, I would not be writing this post, but the fact is we have redefined the word “friend” and we are connecting with hundreds, if not thousands of people on this social network.

As soon as I heard about this new Facebook Groups feature, I saw some great applications.  I created a couple groups, one for a conference committee team of 4.  The threaded conversations were easy to follow. The ability to upload and work on a document collaboratively and keep it in the string of conversation was extremely helpful (like Google docs and Wave). I was thrilled.  I showed my youngest daughter (the Schrecklet, who is a freshman in high school) how to create study groups for notes and conversations.  She loved that you could then do a group chat with everyone in the group instead of one on one. (see #1)  I saw promise for the new GROUPS!

All was peacefully organized in Facebook Land UNTIL I was added to 10 other groups that had 50-150 people in each group.  Suddenly my Facebook notifications went crazy!  You see, as long as you were connected to someone, you could ADD them to a group. They did not need to approve or agree to be in the group.  If someone creates a groups called SOCIAL MEDIA WOMEN (hypothetically of course) and wants to add 150 of their closest “friends” you could be added to the group.  Now once I am in the group I can continue adding my own “friends” in (see #2) and before long this group becomes a beast of conversations with 300 people, but now each comment in the thread causes a notification to go out to you.  You can opt OUT of the groups if you choose, (see #3) which I have, on several of them.  There is great conversations, but it is just too much.

Remember our problem is not necessarily information overload, it is filter failure.  And these new groups are forcing us to put in more filters.  So here is a list of

1. Keep your groups small and focused.  This is not to be used like a LIST when wanting to broadcast something to a specific LIST or group of people.  Groups are great for projects, and meeting notes, or very niche, sharing communities.

2. Opt out of noisy groups or those that are just broadcasting.  Click on the group notification and look to the right, you will see LEAVE GROUP.  (#3 above)

3. I haven’t seen a way to remove someone from a group once you have added them in, so be sure you know this person and their posting habits before adding them.

4. Don’t create a group to market your “stuff” to them.  Because this is not an OPT IN, you will quickly lose friends if you do this.  Use your LISTS feature for targeting a specific marketing message to a targeted list of folks.

Have you played with or been added to any groups?  What are your tips for managing the conversations?

@GinaSchreck