Heather Mansfield of NonProfit Tech 2.0 alerts us to some major changes coming to Facebook Fan Pages
through the next few weeks and into early 2010. “My first instinct is
that the changes below are going to significantly impact nonprofits,”
she says, “and in many cases, not in a good way.”
- Status Updates showing up in the News Feed to all fans is no longer guaranteed.
- The Boxes Tab will disappear.
- The Tabs width will shrink from 760 pixels wide to 520 pixels.
- The ability to extract the e-mail addresses of your Fans will become available… maybe.
How much these changes will impact nonprofits, and in what way, will
depend a lot on how tech-savvy the organization is, how much and how
nimble in adjusting to change. Small nonprofit are more likely to have
a hard time of it than larger organizations with the budget to boost
their Facebook presence through advertising, primarily because of the
up-coming changes to the way Status Updates will be shared:
90% of the power of a Facebook Fan Page is being able to post
Status Updates that can be viewed by fans in their News Feed. People
don’t seem to read “Updates” much and don’t generally of their own free
will visit and participate in your Page, so the vast majority of
participation happens in the News Feed via regularly posted Status
When the new Pages launch, if your nonprofit’s Status Updates
will show up in the News Feed will depend upon one of those mysterious
Facebook algorithms… . if you don’t purchase advertising, or regularly
receive Thumbs Up or Comments, then your Page and your Facebook
strategy could easily stagnate. Engagement is now a lot more important. Having a good community builder as your Facebook Admin will be essential [emphasis is mine].
And there’s one other big change coming:
According to an “open letter” from founder Mark Zuckerberg on the Facebook blog, on December 1, Facebook is dropping its regional networks:
Facebook’s current privacy model revolves around “networks” —
communities for your school, your company or your region. This worked
well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense
that a student might want to share content with their fellow students…
However, as Facebook has grown, some of these
regional networks now have millions of members and we’ve concluded that
this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy. Almost
50 percent of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so
this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system,
then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their
The plan we’ve come up with is to remove
regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy
control where you can set content to be available to only your friends,
friends of your friends, or everyone.
Facebook has started rolling out the new privacy controls, and —
like most major changes to the site — it’s been greeted with strong
reactions. Already there have been adjustments made to the new privacy
controls, based on member feedback, but that’s a topic for another blog
In the meantime, if you’ve set up a Facebook Page for your nonprofit, do check out the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog for an explanation of the upcoming Facebook changes, to see how your organization might be affected and start planning how you’ll handle it.