As my knowledge about social networking and online marketing has grown, I have attained a better grasp of how Facebook should be used, or at least how Facebook wants us to use it most effectively. The most important dichotomy to understand is that between Facebook accounts and Facebook pages. These have evolved over the years I’ve been using the most popular social networking site, and they will continue to evolve. Let’s look at the differences…
An account represents one Facebook user, actual human being that is interacting with Facebook. For privacy reasons and because of how our species generally interacts socially, connections between Facebook accounts must be mutual. You can “request” to be my friend, and we won’t be connected until I “accept” your friend request. Once we have mutually agreed to be connected, then I can see what you post on your wall, and we can comment on each other’s posts.
These rules vary slightly if you are insane enough to not restrict your privacy settings to “Friends Only”, but I’ve captured the gist of the system.
A page, on the other hand, is for an entity that is not an individual human*. The primary difference between an account and a page is that the connections between users and pages do not have to be mutual. Rather than “request” to connect, you simply “like” a page, and you are automatically connected to it. Then, when a page [admin] posts to its wall, you see it in your news feed and can comment on the item. Pages are used for companies, products, websites, bands, clubs, charities, sports teams, and celebrities.
*Sometimes a page can represent a human, but that is only for a celebrity communicating with fans, and because accounts have a limit to the number of friends you can have.
When you “like” a page, you are giving it permission to see your name and put updates into your news feed. It’s a little like subscribing to an RSS feed. Personally, I don’t often “like” many pages because I don’t want too much polution in my news feed, but there are some bands that I follow. Speaking of “follow”, you will note that Facebook pages are very much like the one-way connections that govern Twitter.
I am officially canceling my Bilingual Social Networking experiment. In the almost four months that it lasted, the only friends that “Spanish Erik” got were already friends with me on my regular account, and it caused quite a bit of confusion among my friends that had not read that blog post. I’ve found that it’s just as easy, or easier to do bilingual posts to my regular account when they are topics that my monolingual Spanish friends might care about. I was breaking the unwritten “one account per person” rule.
Until now, I have been posting, either automatically via Twitter or a blogging plugin, or just manually, my new blog posts to my Facebook wall for my friends to see. While not a terrible violation of Facebook etiquette, it could be done better. Although everything on it comes from me, my blog is an entity that is not me. It has regular readers whose names I do not know. My blog’s proper representation on Facebook is with a page. And now it has one.
I will no longer be posting my blog entries to my Facebook wall. If you are a friend of mine, and you have enjoyed those wall posts, you need to “like” my blog on Facebook. That will ensure that you continue to get updates about my posts.