Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Psychology of Facebook Members and Fans

A recent experiment in user psychology in Facebook Groups highlighted some unexpected findings. Add your comment below - we would love to hear how you feel about the issue.

Popularity of Facebook Groups and Pages for businesses, causes and celebrities is growing at warp-speed. If open to the general public, anyone can join such a group or page.

Facebook Pages differ from Facebook Groups in as far as being an independent "mini interactive website" whereas the Group more resembles a personal profile dedicated to a specific topic. Common to both is its subscriber base: Groups have members joining and Pages have fans.

Social networks like Facebook grow based on group movements. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff refer to this movement as a "groundswell" in their book with the same title. Social groups will not be dictated to or pressurized. Trends grow out of mass opinion and preference.

Recently I experimented by sending an email out to all 86 members of a Facebook Group I administer, called Growing Your Business Online to encourage greater participation in group comments. Guess what happened? The next day the group members declined to 84!

This raised the question: Do group members object to being subjected to unsolicited mail? Membership is voluntary and passive and as soon as there is any direct targeting, is it a breach of what they initially signed up for: passive participation?

What is your experience? How do you feel when a Facebook Group emails you directly? Is it OK or not OK?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Creating Power