I’ve been discussing Facebook this week. I started by talking about how to use Facebook for genealogy. I then went to discussing how to create Friends Lists. Today I’d like to talk about creating groups in Facebook.
On the surface, creating a group in Facebook would seem like an awesome way to incorporate Facebook and genealogy. In some instances, it might be very awesome. In other instances it might be a total flop. Just like any other thing you do, groups will depend upon the interaction of others.
When you are creating a group that deals with genealogy, especially for a specific surname or person, then you are going out on a limb. However, if you don’t at least try then you may miss a wonderful opportunity to connect with someone.
Here’s how you go about creating a group in Facebook:
CREATING THE GROUP
If you’ve never created a group or joined a group, look on the left hand side of your Facebook page. You will see the “Groups” menu somewhere in your navigation tree. Click on “Create Group” to get started.
You will get a pop-up asking you for a name for your new group. You can name it in such a way that it will let folks know what it is about. Just below that option is a “Members” box. You have to add at least one person here. Just start by typing a friend’s name and Facebook should auto-fill the information for you.
After you have chosen a name and added a couple of folks to the group, you will want to decide whether your group will be Open, Closed, or Secret. Open means that anyone can see the group, who’s in it and what members have posted. Closed means that anyone can see the group and who’s in it but they can’t see the posts. Secret means that only members can see the group, who’s in it and what has been posted. Obviously, if you are looking to connect with folks you don’t want to use the Secret option. I personally use the Closed option because I want to make sure that someone doesn’t come in and try to take over the group by posting things that aren’t essential to the group.
After you have finished all the steps here you will click on “Create” and then be given the option to choose an icon for your group. This is up to you and it really doesn’t matter which you choose, in my opinion.
TWEAKING YOUR GROUP SETTINGS
OK, so now we have created a group. What next? Well, my first step is to go into the group settings and define the rules just a little bit more. In the upper right of your group page you will see a little star icon right next to the “Notifications” option. If you click on that it will give you several options. You would choose “Edit Group Settings” and it will take you to the next screen, what I will call the “Admin Screen”. There are several options here. At the top you can click on the arrow next to the icon and choose a different icon if you would like. You can also rename your group if you would like.
Just below this is the privacy settings for your group. You can change this if you desire. Below that is the options for “Membership Approval”. You can allow any member to add new members or opt to make all membership approvals have to be done by the admin.
Below this is the option for creating a group address. This will allow you to create an easy to remember address for your group. Let’s see your group is called Ken’s Gen. You could choose to create the address facebook.com/groups/kensgen/ and will also be given the email address of email@example.com.
You can put a description for your website in the box entitled “Description”.
The last two sections have to do with “Post Permissions” and “Post Approval”. I obviously allow members to post but if things start to get out of hand you can also choose the option to approve all posts before allowing them to be posted.
I believe Facebook gives you quite a few options here to help you get control of your group.
ADDING PEOPLE TO YOUR GROUP
That is pretty much it for creating a group. Once you have created the group you will want to add people to it who you think would enjoy it. There are several ways to do this but the two best ways would probably be to select the “star” icon next to “Notifications” and select the option to “Share Group”. This will allow you to post a message to your timeline advertising your new group. If anyone is interested they can click on the link and join.
There will also be an option just below the “Notifications” button to “Invite by Email”. If you click on this link you can select friends by typing their name and then send them an email to invite them to join.
Of course, you can also add them to the group manually. The only bad thing about this is that the people you add will then have to make the choice to leave the group that they never joined in the first place. It’s best to let them have the option whether they want to join or not.
ONE LAST THING
Now, one thing you may want to do is to let your new group members know that they can control how they are notified about new posts. If they don’t choose any options and your group is very busy, they may be overwhelmed by the amount of notifications they receive. They can change it so that they won’t get flooded with notifications. Here’s how – click on Notifications in the upper right of your group, select the option that says “Off” and they won’t get any notifications. You will still see a number next to your group name on your left hand navigation tree to let you know there are new posts but you won’t be flooded with notifications.
I hope this helps you a little bit. There are a lot more things you can do with a group but you will have to experiment with that after you have created one.
Thanks for bearing with me,