While Facebook is a great place to bring like-minded people together and engage with them, it is also an extremely painful environment for community moderators to manage their communities.
As some of you may know, I started a Marketing 2.0 community on Facebook, intended for marketers to discuss the future of marketing. The group took off rather nicely and we were able to conduct many interesting open mic discussions with industry thought leaders. As the group became larger a couple of things happened:
- I no longer had the opportunity to communicate with the community members (after 1,000 members or so, some bright Facebook person decided that you should no longer be able to communicate directly with your community members)
- The group slowly became overtaken with spammers – and with the lack of tools to manage spammers, it became unmanageable to clean up the space without spending an incredible amount of time on the task.
Since I still wanted to create a space for marketers to talk about the future of marketing, I created a new group at www.marketingtwo.net with a companion thought leadership blog at www.marketingtwo.com – both of which are taking off nicely, another proofpoint that there is a need for this kind of community/conversation.
That left me pondering on what to do with the Facebook group. On the one hand it was becoming too time consuming to keep it clean and on the other hand I did not want to give up on a community of 9,500+ members without at least trying. But I also did not want to have it become a public spam pit. So as a first step I closed down the group and invited some other volunteers to help me manage the space. That worked…and for people who requested to join the group I would send them a nice note explaining what we were doing and how they should/should not engage. After sending out 10 or 20 of those notes, I got a warning message from Facebook that I was spamming members and that they would shut me down.
So some other brilliant community person at Facebook now decided that I should not be able to communicate with people who request to join a community which I set up and manage… WTF????
The laws of increasing returns associated with communities is what will make people stick with Facebook in the long run, even if some other and better mousetrap appears on the horizon in the near future. Doing everything possible to make communities NOT work within Facebook is one of the biggest mistakes that Facebook is making.