Facebook Groups become Timeline-ish, Less Spammy

A few hours ago, Facebook rolled out a limited redesign of Groups, featuring a big new Timeline-style cover image, and a prompt for users to prominently label “What should people post in this group?”. See, if you’re not careful, your intimate Facebook Groups can balloon in population and stray off topic generating annoying notifications for everyone.

This redesign makes Groups feel more close knit, and will encourage them not to devolve into a chaotic array of kitten photos, political diatribes, and self-serving announcements. After all, that’s what the news feed is for.

Groups previously displayed a small “group image” that admins could upload. I bet people often chose some generic clip art or a photo that appeared too tiny to be meaningful. Now the top of Groups look more like Timeline, with a sweeping banner image that defaults to a collage of members but can be replaced with any image.

Facebook Groups Timeline Redesign

The redesign also makes links to members, photos, events, and docs more obvious. This is thesecond time Facebook has increased the prominence of these links to draw usage and compete with Google Docs as a collaboration tool.

Since Groups launched in October 2010 users have been able to add a description. However, they were provided no prompt as to what to enter, and likely just noted a theme rather than a purpose. Now a prompt and input field for group guidelines are immediately visible in the right sidebar.

This little prompt to display “What should people post” might not seem like a big deal, but if you’ve ever been in a big noisy Facebook Group, you probably wanted to tell everyone to shut up until you muted its notifications. Then you ceased to be alerted to the few useful posts and forgot all about the Group.

So when creating a group or upgrading to the new design (hopefully to be made available to everyone soon), do add a spam warning note in the description, just like the one shown above –  “We keep posting volume low so you can leave notifications on. Check the Docs for guidelines”, then laid out ground rules in a doc that prohibited self-promotion, asks people to comment and post only when necessary, and detail how you’d kick you out anybody who doesn’t adhere.

You’d be lucky to see how much the group will grow, with ‘no spam’. After all, people like association but hate being bugged by spam notification not related to the reason why they join the Groups in the first place.

Hopefully Facebook users heed the new description prompt, create focused discussion and collaboration spaces, and get as much out of Groups.

Source – TC


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