In the press conference on Wednesday, Facebook announced some new and interesting innovations being introduced to everyone’s favorite social network. In yesterdays post I talked about downloadable content. The next big innovation is the introduction of new Facebook Groups. Ok, you are probably saying, but there are already groups. Yeah, true. But these are new, better, cooler, shinier groups! These are groups on steroids! These are the groups that the original groups wished they could be.
The new groups are a hybrid between the old groups and lists. In many ways they are like Twitter lists, but way more effective and with way more features. Facebook lists were a way that you could separate out your friends into lists of your own design. This allowed you to post updates to certain people, or to the exclusion of certain people. However, apparently less than 5 % of Facebook users actually used lists. Though I am a part of that 5%, I have to admit that they were cumbersome and not as useful as they seemed. I mainly used them for their exclusionary capacity. The lists were also only for your eyes, so it was like a way of organizing your email address book.
The new groups will be easily accessible from the home page. When you create a group you can chose from three settings, public, closed and secret. Public means that the content is visible to anyone looking. It also means that anyone can join. Closed means that the members, though not the content, are visible and new members have to be approved by the administrator before they can join. Secret means that the group is only known to members of the group. Members are not publicly visible, nor is the content.
Besides privacy, the group settings allow you to control how you receive notifications from your group. If you are a part of a group that you like to check in on, but don’t want them in your newsfeed you can opt out of newsfeed updates. If you don’t want to receive group emails, opt out. The group notifications allow you to control the flow of information out of your group instead of just choosing to be in or out.
Once a group has been established you can share content, updates, pics, videos and links with the members as easily as you make your regular status update. You can easily email your group. But one of the coolest features is you can have group chat! Any member of a group who is online will be able to be in a chat room with each other.
The new groups will be nice for people who like to share with a specific circle of friends. It will be great for people who like to have “secret” groups. They will be really great for small businesses. Businesses, or public figures, will be able to create groups for who they want to post to. They can create group incentives and group only promotions. You can also create special interests within your business allowing you to target your friends specific interest.
Once vetted, the new group feature will be an asset to individuals and to businesses.
See the video below to get a closer look at what the new groups will look like.
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