Facebook concern

A dilemma: Where to host a social-media discussion group

By Steve Outing

This week I launched an online community called Writing About the Future, on Facebook Groups.

Not everyone who was interested in joining the group was happy that I chose to host it on Facebook. They can be grouped into two simple categories:

  • “I don’t use Facebook, and don’t intend to.”
  • “I use Facebook for personal stuff only, so I won’t be joining this group.”

Before I set up Writing About the Future, I considered the primary options: LinkedIn Groups, Google+ Groups, and Facebook Groups. Here’s why I opted for Facebook:

  • Of the various professional-oriented online groups that I frequent or manage, the ones on Facebook Groups seem to do most well. Obviously, there are more people using Facebook than the other social sites, so getting a group to grow enough to become active is easier. An example of a thriving professional group on Facebook is ONA Educators, a community of digital-journalism educators.
  • I like the Google+ Groups platform — better than Facebook’s. Alas, the professional-topic groups that I’ve started there have suffered from lack of activity, and slower growth in members.
  • LinkedIn Groups would seem to be the appropriate venue for a professional-oriented online community. But in addition to a smaller user base (and thus slower growth for a newly established group), I find the interface to be less than ideal for promoting discussion and interaction.

Yes, Facebook isn’t the ideal home for an online community like Writing About the Future. Besides its history of privacy blunders that have angered millions, there’s the current issue of Facebook’s mysterious algorithms and what they show you in your personal news feed.

No groups platform is perfect. I’m hoping that the Writing About the Future group will be active and thrive, as it seems to be after only three days since launch.


Top photo: © Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr, Creative Commons license use

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

3 Responses to "A dilemma: Where to host a social-media discussion group"

  1. Christopher Ryan
    Christopher Ryan 2 years ago .Reply

    I wish you all the best with getting this group together. But I am with the critics on this. Never mind the sleaziness of Facebook, the real problem is that Facebook is the very embodiment of sameness and utter lack of imagination. What about something unique and distinctive on WordPress / Drupal?

  2. grovesprof
    grovesprof 2 years ago .Reply

    I hate Facebook, too — with a passion. But I’ve come to the same conclusion you have, Steve: The reality is that people go there; it is an automatic part of their media habit. Many people do not go to Google+ or LinkedIn with the same regularity as Facebook, and it’s difficult to force them to use platforms that aren’t already part of their routine.

    By the way, here’s one of my favorite posts on the roots of Facebook angst: http://alistapart.com/column/the-real-real-problem-with-facebook

    Good luck with the group! Cheers, Jonathan

  3. Stu Lownded
    Stu Lownded 2 years ago .Reply

    Nothing ventured; nothing gained. Lotsa luck ‘ol scribe.

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