First, thanks for clicking on over here to read the geekiest of posts.  I know not all of my readers are interesting in the socoal media stuff, but after recent posts on such topics as public education, marriage and bipartisanship, I figured we are all in need of a social media “breather.” There is a little conversation about the updates that has begun via this status update, but I thought I would offer a little more reflection on the topic.

As a marginal “public figure” I am always flirting with Facebook’s 5,000 friend limit on my profile and, unlike junior high school, I have folks waiting to be my friend 😉  I have no delusions about my own popularity, but, still, I enjoy providing a space where folks can have some good conversations about faith, politics, life and the upcoming 2011 championship season of the Oakland Athletics.  With this backdrop, I have always wished that I could use MY FACEBOOK PAGE to have these kinds of conversations with no limit to the number of people who could be included.  So imagine my joy when, a few weeks ago, Facebook unveiled a bunch of new updates for Pages.

Be still my social networking heart.

When the upgrades were announce, I decided to try a little experiment.  For the past two weeks I have been using my page as my primary entry point into Facebook.   And while there was a little info that got through to my profile, I was able to do most of my interacting and updating almost entirely via my page.

Most of the updates are geared towards businesses, organizations and brands who want to be able to interact more effectively with their customers and fans.  Pages have been for the most part useless because they acted more as a place-holder on Facebook than any kind of hub of interaction.  Upgrades were a long time coming for sure. Overall, I would rank most of the changes just ok and none earth-shattering. Taken as a whole, however, I think these changes are definitely moving pages in the right direction.

While there are a few major changes, the biggest change is that you can now switch Facebook identities between your profile and your page/s. That way when you comment or interact on another page you will do so as your page and not your profile.  And therein lies the limitation of this particular change.  While the opportunity for interaction does increase, the interaction only takes place between pages.  Just like people “friend” one another in order to be able to interact, pages now “like” each other in order to interact.  You cannot interact as a page on a profile or the other way around as tagging pictures, commenting, etc. only works profile to profile and page to page.  This inability to cross interact is highly limiting and I am still trying to figure out why they would do this.  I suspect that brands being able to interact on profiles would increase the possibility for spamming or the different between “friending” and “liking” creates some kind of problem.  Not sure, but again, this foils my plan to try and move all interaction over to my page.

Then there are the changes that are just so-so . . .

  • Page news is listed by relevance.  Pretty much hate this feature as there is no way to turn this off.  This means that somewhere the FB elves are deciding what is most important and then puts that at the top of your page.  Annoying to say the least and after using it, i am not convinces that the most relevant news is indeed being lifted up to the top. I would much prefer that Pages let me look at my wall in chronological order please.
  • With the upgrades, a page now LOOKS identical to a profile including notifications alerts and photo layout.  This is a good move and adds to the seamless nature of using both a profile and a page.
  • Not a page update, but a limited factors is that most other services that allow people to connect their accounts to Facebook can only connect profiles and not pages.  This would be a great move so that ALL interaction could be directed to the page.

Ideally, I would love to move all of my current friends to my page and start have profile that would be more private and locked down.  I would still use my page for broader conversations, but would have a separate place where I could meet-up with close friends and family.  I do realize there is nothing stopping me from just creating a secret profile, but honestly, having to maintain three FB places and multiple log-ins seems like a waste of time. So until then, I’ll just keep posting on both and people can decide how they best want to stay in touch.

But, if you want do want to hang out on Facebook and continue our many conversations- a fact that my siblings still things is really funny I will interact on both my page and profile in almost an identical manner.  To help you figure out this really important part of your social media life 🙂 here is a quick users guide to Bruce and Facebook.

  • ALL BRC ALL THE TIME: If you want it all and love to interact with as many people as possible, remain my friend and like my page, fair warning that there will be a lot of double posting.
  • BRC LITE: If you are a lurker and the interaction and updates from other services that auto post to my profile, Huffington Comments, Yelp Reviews, etc. are not all that important, unfriend me (Bottom of the left-hand column) and like my page.
  • BRC LIMBO: If you are not yet my friend, be sure to friend me and I’ll accept friend requests as others unfriend me, but until then, like my page. Once I friend you, you can decide it there is just too much Bruce all up in your feed.
  • And as always, if you want more up-to-the-minute interaction and a little more BRC Raw, see you over on Twitter.

So while I was hoping that these changes would trigger a wholesale shift in the way I use Facebook, it was not to be.  Pages has certainly improved and is much more interaction inducing, but FB is nowhere near making Pages do what I want it to do . . . sheesh 😉 There may still be more upgrades on their way, so be sure to like the offical Facebook Pages Page to stay in the loop.

Thanks for geeking out a bit and I’ll see you around the interwebs!

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