Okay Mark Zuckerberg, we need an explanation. Seriously. I’m a huge fan (and advocate) of Facebook. It’s proved useful in my personal life and for my professional career, but this week I read some surprising and terrifying news.
Facebook can do whatever they want. (I understand that). They can change the look and feel of the Facebook platform on a dime. People are so invested with pictures and the history of their lives that they won’t leave. Take the recent outrage of Facebook enforcing the timeline. Do you remember when they first initiated the news-feed? People said they hated the feature and would leave, but they didn’t leave and now most people can’t live without it. I get it. Facebook employees are really, really smart. They know what they’re doing in terms of engagement, and 99% of the time I think they are making Facebook easier to use and more targeted to your personal interests. They have the most successful social media platform of our time, and if they didn’t change, we’d just get bored over time. As I’ve said before, people hate change, but they are usually okay with transition.
But this blog post is not about timeline. In fact, I love the new timeline feature. I’ve been using it on my personal profile for a few months now, and I can’t wait for timeline to be part of Lynn University’s official page – which brings me to my number one question and complaint:
Facebook has taken it upon itself to hijack, steal, take-over official university pages and make them “community” pages.
What does being a community page mean? Well, it means the university page admins (like myself for Lynn University’s official Facebook page) will no longer have the ability to control or monitor the message. Anyone can write anything they want to about the university on the community page and we can’t do anything about it. Community pages are automatically populated by Wikipedia and your “friends” that mention the university or other community topic. And if Facebook does steal our official page, what will happen to the metrics that we have been relying on to tell us more about the importance of social media and to justify using it in the workplace? Yup, you lose access to metrics on a community page too. Plus, anything that does go into a community page, doesn’t appear on the news-feed. It’s a lose, lose situation for PR people who are primarily interested in promoting their brand.
Facebook has already taken it upon themselves to create a Community Page – see above – for Lynn University (which I’ve known about and have been monitoring for sometime now), but I will be livid if they take away our “official” page and also make it a community page. Just like my personal profile, I’m invested. The history of Lynn on social media lives within our page – and within our metrics. Please don’t take it away from us, Facebook. Plus, Lynn (like many other universities) pay Facebook a lot of money via advertising. No official page, means no advertising to promote it, which means less money for Facebook in the long run. Facebook – what are you thinking?!
As of right now, Lynn’s official Facebook page seems to be safe. I still have control, it’s still categorized as a university, and I can still access the metrics. (Whew!)
But many of my colleagues in higher ed aren’t so lucky. Take the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, for example. Todd Sanders wrote a very impressive blog on this topic. Check it out to learn more about what Facebook did to UWGB. Not cool Facebook. Not cool.
Has Facebook taken away your official page? What would you do if Facebook took your page – or better yet – what if they took your profile? It’s a crazy world we live in, and on that note, I’ll end with the advice I give anyone on Facebook: You don’t own the Internet and whatever you post on Facebook is basically public (despite your privacy settings). So don’t post anything on Facebook (ever) that you wouldn’t want your boss, mother, best friend or worst enemy to see! Don’t be stupid when using social media.