Facebook: Pages vs. Groups

February 6, 2012

Every individual with a Facebook account has a personal 'profile' which can be used to connect with friends. Also, Individuals can post text, photos, and links to share with others. People have profiles; organizations cannot have profiles. However, organizations can create a 'page' or a 'group'. Once you have decided to create a presence for your organization (i.e. your MIT department) on Facebook, you are faced with a decision: should I create a 'page' and/or a 'group'? Here are some key differences between the two.

Page

  • Visibility: public. Pages by default are visible to everyone on the Internet. Moreover, anyone can 'like' a page.
  • Posting: everyone or page administrators. A page is where an individual would typically go to read 'official' posts by the business, department, or entity that owns that page. You can control whether or not others also can post content on the wall.
  • Audience: pages are a good choice when the audience is greater than the specific group currently in the department, lab or center. This means the audience also includes alumni, prospective students, press, donors, parents, students and faculty members at other schools, individuals working the related industry, and people with a general interest in the department. This is why a page is usually the best choice for a department, lab, or center.
  • 'Likes': When people 'join' your page, they are 'liking' it. They are not expected to contribute content online and they are not necessarily actively working in your department. However, the desire is for them to engage with the content that the page administrator does create.
  • Read more about starting a Facebook page.

Group

  • Visibility: public or private. You can choose between three privacy levels: 'open' (public), 'closed' (anyone can see the group and its members, but only members can see the content), and 'secret' (no one can see the group exists except for its members).
  • Posting: everyone. Everyone can post. A group allows members of the group to post and discuss with each other.
  • Audience: The audience is comprised of actual present members of the group. A Facebook group is good for student groups, committees, and clubs. For the most part, everyone who is part of the group online is also an active part of the group offline. A group also can be used for people to rally around a common cause.
  • Members: Those who join the group are all contributors to content online or to activities of the group offline.
  • Read more about starting a Facebook group.
Posted By
Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Social Media Strategist
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Communication Production Services

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