25 Feb 2008

New features for Facebook Pages

Facebook introduced some new features last week for their "Pages," which are online entities that typically represent a brand or consumer product. I wrote a few weeks ago about the difference between the new Pages and the older Groups. These new changes extend Pages towards the community-generated-content model of Groups, while still preserving the unique advantages of the Page model. Here are the changes in brief:

1) All new Pages have user-uploaded photos turned on by default. Owners of legacy pages have to enable this new feature manually.


2) Logo images can now be either Flash or FBML (a subset of HTML used in Facebook applications.) For most Page owners, this translates in to being able to embed a small Flash logo or scrolling ticker with news items or photos.

3) Page owners can now ban younger members from visiting if the Page represents a bar or alcohol product.


4) Movable Mini-Feed. I hadn't even noticed this, but apparently the list of recent activity used to be fixed, and is now adjustable to any position on the page.

Of these four changes, the most important is probably #1, the ability of "Fans" to add their own pictures to Pages. This brings Pages closer to the more freeform, community feeling of Groups, and is probably a recognition on the behalf of Facebook that more and more people are setting up Pages when they previously would have set up groups. As I mentioned in my previous post, Groups can't have Applications embedded in them, which makes the addition of RSS feeds and other interactivity very difficult. I know of two organizations that have switched from Groups to Pages just for this ability to add in syndicated content feeds from their existing, extra-Facebook publishing efforts. Now that Pages can reflect more user-generated content in the form of Fan-uploaded photos, there are all the more reasons to go with a Page instead of a Group.

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