The Course of Reason

New Facebook Policy Means Changes for Student Groups

May 24, 2011

What options are available to student organizations now that Facebook groups are being archived?

If you’ve logged into Facebook in the last week, you’ve seen the ominous message awaiting group admins: This group is scheduled to be archived. Ugh. If you’re like me, you’ve run your student organization through a group since its inception. Now Facebook is pulling out the rug from under you.

So, what options do student groups have? My fellow intern Cody Hashman and I have compiled a list of options, complete with features and functions. We’ll detail the pros and cons of each:

Pages

Pros: Pages are the most customizable of any option available to student organizations. Applications allow you to do cool things like landing pages, and pages provide a full suite of analytics information for users.

Cons: The inability to invite members to an event. Many student groups organize their activities through Facebook events, and the old groups allowed them to invite all the members with a single click. Now, page users have to rely on personally friending and inviting members.

Summary: Facebook has been trying for quite some time to push organizations over to pages. They may have finally done it. The new event interface is annoying, but no easier option exists. The analytics are a valuable new addition for organizations that doesn’t exist anywhere else on Facebook.

New Groups

Pros: Converting an old group to a new group is an easy and convenient process.

Cons: The notifications. Damn those notifications. For whatever reason, Facebook is requiring you to go into every group you join (or are added to) to uncheck the “Give me e-mail notifications for everything that could conceivably happen ever” box. It only goes downhill from there. Anyone in the group can create an event and invite all of your members with the click of a box. For groups with hundreds of members, this has the potential to be disastrous.

Summary: Facebook is promoting new groups as the default alternative to old groups. Don’t let them do it. Pages aren’t perfect, but the new groups are almost all downside for student organizations.

Group Profiles

Pros: Creating a profile for your group allows you to easily track and categorize members (through friend lists), invite all of your friends to an event with a little JavaScript, and allows you to catalog group photos through tagging.

Cons: It violates Facebook’s Terms of Service and can be deleted.

Summary: In our opinion, a group Facebook profile provides the best set of options to run a student organization through Facebook. However, its instability makes it a chancy option for groups. Take this one at your own risk. 

Cody and I put together a full comparison chat, which can be found below. Keep in mind that Facebook is constantly changing features on their site. This chart might be wrong tomorrow, let alone next week. We'll try to keep you posted on changes as we find them.

 

 

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