My 2.0 Sandbox: Migrating Facebook Groups to Facebook Pages.

Almost every speaker I’ve heard on the subject of training staff on how to use 2.0 technology for libraries talks about the need for a “sandbox”—a place for library workers to play, to learn about the technology, and then to imagine how it might be useful for the library. As the reference librarian at MSU tasked with exploring Emerging Technologies for Public Service applications, I realized yesterday that I’ve made my own sandbox. Or I’ve collected toys to play with anyway. I’ve added a “sandbox” section to my whiteboard of stuff to do (I’m a visual learner…lol). Looking at it, I thought that I could start a sandbox-ish meme in this blog to explore and share some of the technologies/ideas currently on my list.

The first idea on my list came because I learned recently that you could migrate your Facebook Group to a Facebook Page without losing subscribers (the Academy of American Poets sent a notification about this to their Facebook Group).

The MSU Libraries have a fairly successful Facebook Group, but Facebook Pages have advantages such as tracking page hits, directed advertising, etc. We made a Facebook Page for our annual Ragtime Festival this year, so we’ve dipped our toes in that water already. A transition like this is like an appealing prospect to consider. And in staying true to the sandbox idea, it is possible to create and work on a Facebook Page without making it public.

I haven’t yet started playing around with it, but I have started considering whether it would be useful and how it might work. I’ve emailed the information to our Library 2.0 Committee to get it on everyone’s radar. If we did something like this, planning for a transition like that would take careful consideration. We don’t want to lose any of our subscribers—we’ve worked hard over the past nine months to grow the group to its current level (200+ members!). Also, we would want to be sure we would not be losing any functionality. So far, it looks like we would be able to do everything we can currently do with a group. One feature of the Groups that has become important in the way we use Facebook is the ability to create events and invite the members of the group. From our experience with the Ragtime Festival, I know this feature remains largely the same.

In going forward, we would want to be sure we were also taking full advantage of what Facebook Pages have to offer. One advantage I’d like to explore is the ability to add RSS feeds to a Facebook Page. The Library maintains several RSS feeds, including those for our Podcasts. It would be great to find another location to promote our podcasting program. It is also possible to add some (though not all) Facebook Applications to a Page, which has a significant appeal, too.

Anyway, it’s on my list…anyone have any thoughts?!?

Originally posted May 15, 2008.

Amanda Clay Powers