I recently responded to a question regarding the differences between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups. I use both extensively and thought I would share some of my preferences when making the decision whether to start a Page or a Group.
When to Use a Facebook Page
When we first started developing for the web back in the 90s, most referred to a website as a “web page.” In truth, a web page was usually little more than a personal home page that was under the umbrella of a larger domain. For example, your “home page” might have a url like http://www.myisp.com/publicweb/~myaccountname.
Ahh. The good old days. Try saying that url to a friend or family member in hopes they will find your website!
Like a “web page,” a Facebook Page is a single entity that is part of a much bigger community on Facebook. Your Facebook Page is essentially open to anyone who wants to view the page, and by liking it, they can join the community and begin posting pictures, links, articles, or comments. There’s some control from an admin perspective, but essentially, you must think of a Facebook Page as an open community focused on a topic, person, or organization.
Examples of Facebook Pages include:
- Churches & Nonprofits
- Schools, Colleges & Universities
- Causes (save the whales, etc.)
- Political campaigns
- Celebrities (actors, musicians, etc.)
- Media (CNN, NBC, KCCI-TV)
- Blogs (ThePioneerWoman.com, MichaelHyatt.com)
Facebook Pages may have a few “likes” or fans, or may have several hundred thousand (or millions).
The key question to ask when making a decision between a Page or Group is what kind of control do I want to have over my audience? If your open to having everyone and their friend be a part of your community, then a Page is the correct choice. Secondly, is the focus of your Page an idea, organization, person, etc., or is the purpose to facilitate communication to a select group.
When to Use a Facebook Group
Facebook Groups are an excellent choice for someone who wants to use Facebook as a means of communicating to a select group of people.
For example, if you are on a college faculty, your college will likely have a Facebook Page for the college, but you would need to use a Facebook Group for your individual classes. Moreover, the only people part of your Facebook Group would be your current students. You may choose, therefore, to create a Facebook Group for each section of a class you teach for each term you teach the class. Your Facebook Group may only have a handful of members.
Here are the advantages of a Facebook Group:
- Complete control over membership by the Group admin
- The ability to post documents
- The ability to control what the public can see (open, closed, secret)
Most Facebook Groups will have a small number of members.
Recommended Instructional Applications for a Facebook Group
As stated above, Facebook Groups work very well with a blended or flipped classroom situation, in which you want to push a portion of your teaching onto the web. Here’s how I use a Facebook Group for instruction:
- Link to articles of interest and request comment
- Create simple polls and surveys
- Link to videos or other media
- Upload documents or other classroom support material
- Link to Google Docs for reference or collaboration
- Respond to questions or comments
- Maintain a calendar of events
- Post announcements and updated class information
How do you use a Facebook Page or Group in your setting?