What do we do with this Facebook thing?

I Facebooked Your MomAdapted from Well, Everything has to Start Somewhere on our work blog.

And more than that, to quote Jane Magé (a former boss):

We are where we are, let’s see where we can go from here.

A quote which I find useful for a variety of occasions…

So, we’ve got this Facebook presence – what are we doing with it? (See other entries for for wailing and gnashing of teeth in this vein.)

A week or so ago we got together to have an open-ended discussion – here are some of the points that arose:

Who is it for?/ Who uses it?

  1. Peer-to-peer
  2. B2C (where C equals student)
  3. B2 Government (via customer) e.g. ELQ Facebook group
  4. 5,341 Fans (could be anyone)
  5. 6,062 Network members (must have an ouruniversity.ac.uk email address)

Student Support

  1. Lots of students moaning – they moan here and on forums because there’s nowhere else to give feedback
    • Where do ‘we’ fwd it?
    • Who responds?  Do we respond?
  2. Moderating Vs monitoring & using content
    • How do we monitor it?  Who monitors it?
  3. Need to be a self-moderating, self-helping community of experts
    • Bring staff on board.
  4. Signposting to information on the University domain – not responding to individual issues.
    • Linkage with student mag online/ staff online news/ static information pages
  5. Consider impact of the Student Support Review


  1. Is Facebook our property? (No)
  2. Do we have liability? (No)
  3. Are our spaces on Facebook our responsibility?  Legally? (No) Technically? (No) Morally? (Yes)

Issues Management

  1. Free speech – good or bad?!
  2. Is it a problem is we don’t have an authoritative view from the University?  If we are not officially in the debate?
  3. How critical is this channel?
    • It’s viral – do we need rapid response?
  4. Who will monitor issues?  Should there be a process for escalating issues (issues & crisis management)?

Commercial Communication

  1. Adverts and Flyers
    • Someone to work with marketing
  2. No (or limited) commercial shite

The Way Forward – Three Paths

  1. Applications – opt-in things that provide content/information and harvest information in return
  2. Channels – using Facebook as a direct communication channel – what groups? What feeds?
  3. Presence – monitoring and using information.

What do I want from you?

  1. Comments on the notes – are they right?  Do they fairly represent/explain what was discussed?
  2. Comments on the notes – which bits do you agree with?  Which bits do you think are just plain wrong?
  3. A list of the ways in which you think you (or any other bit of Communications) could and should be using Facebook under the three pathway headings.

And finally, as people are so fond of pointing out, in this sense Facebook is just a test case for whatever happens to be the hip new thing that people are using (it won’t be this thing forever…).


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