Exclusivity was a promise that Facebook had started with. With the passage of time and with 500 million plus users, that exclusivity had somehow got lost. People were weary of bothering everyone they knew for queries that may not be relevant to most of them. To address this concern, Facebook launched the latest version of Groups.
Earlier people didn’t do much on groups but to post comments and view pictures or share videos. There was no direct communications amongst all the members of the group. Also, the administration of the group was in the hands of select few people, which was a powerful position because they could message the members directly. In short, the groups were not an integral part of the Facebook universe earlier.
With the latest version, that’s exactly what Facebook Groups has attempted to do, become as integral to Facebook as Facebook Pages. Amongst the few key changes that have happened, the most significant is that the administration of the group has moved from select few to every individual. This is done with a desire to develop groups as a real-world group where everyone is participating towards building something more productive. Now, each post sends a notification to all the group members unless the members opt out of the notification process. This rids the group member of the doubt about if their post has been noticed or not.
The new version of Groups will also allow Group Chats that will enable real time IM conversations between the group members. This one tool has the potential of taking the Groups to the next level for business purpose. With real time communication possible, people and more importantly brands can engage in closed group surveys, focused group discussions and even internal communications. Also, the group mail facility makes it easier to communicate with the members when someone is away.
Another little addition to Facebook groups is the Docs feature that allows the members to post “Docs” with minor amount of markups such as bold, italics and lists. The docs can be revised and each revision goes into the history, which users can navigate back through.
With new Groups being released with a mobile interface and an Open Graph API, Facebook Groups will be accessible in all imaginable capacities, helping it reach more people in real time, thus making it more viable for business purposes.
What this means for businesses is that while Facebook Pages are useful for defining our commercial affiliations, Facebook Groups help define who we are socially. These would mean a more easy and more upfront interaction with the stakeholders, which can be leveraged to conduct Focused Group Discussions, Closed Group Surveys, addressing product complaints and even managing internal HR issues.
Between group chat, docs, and an eventual Groups developer platform, Facebook is aiming to become a more significant communications and collaboration platform. There’s no doubt that smaller organizations could find the new groups product to be extremely useful and with more customer support even the bigger ones will soon join the bandwagon.