Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Facebook Pages are Here

The Facebook blog had some exciting news for us this morning. As you are likely aware, in Fall 2006 Facebook began shutting down library profiles. Their reasoning was that library profiles were "fake"--i.e., profiles can only represent individual people, not organizations or other entities.

This morning Facebook has launched a new advertising mechanism that will allow organizations and other entities Facebook pages which are:
distinct, customized profiles designed for businesses, bands, celebrities and more to represent themselves on Facebook.
So cool--we can now build an official page for the library. When creating a page, one of the categories for the page is "Library/Public Building." I'm pleased that somebody at Facebook recognizes library interest in Facebook. The Facebook Page allows you to post your hours, as well as upload video, organize photos into albums (something sorely lacking in Facebook Groups), as well as take advantage of the wall, discussion board, events, and all the usual stuff. The cutesy thing is that friends of your page are "fans."

I'm excited at the prospect of creating a page for the library (in fact, I did so almost immediately). I realize the page may not have a great deal of impact (after all, how many students really look to Facebook when they've got a library question) but it was easy enough to create and it's always a good idea to spread the word about the library. I often describe our Facebook presence (we still have a couple of Facebook groups) as just another way to contact us. UK's Facebook profile which lived June-September 2006 yielded three chat reference questions plus several wall posts resulting in a conversation about library hours and some other general queries. For the minimal amount of effort it took to create and maintain our presence, I think it was definitely worth it.

I do wonder who will see our new Facebook Page. It's unlikely that I will buy an ad any time soon (we have bought ads for big events though it's difficult to assess how effective they are). Since I'm not advertising the Facebook Page, who will see it other than my friends who noticed it in my News Feed? Or colleagues who read about it on my blog or in the comments on Michael's blog? Facebook indicates that the pages will spread virally so I suppose the question is--how can I get the library page going virally? (Other than posting videos like this, of course.)

Will this just be another library entity on Facebook that is full of librarians and virtually no library users?

Time will tell, but I remain excited about this.

Update TWO

Update THREE

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