UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Facebook: Engage with it or leave it alone?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16 Aug 2007

The Question

Answers to My Questions on FacebookDo institutions (a) need to engage with Facebook as our students like it or (b) it’s their social space, so let’s leave it alone?

This was the question I asked using the My Question application in Facebook. The question was launched on 31 July and by 10 August I had received 18 replies, the first ten of which are shown in the accompanying image.

Nigel Bradley seems to have summarised the consensus quite nicely: “embrace it but don’t be intrusive”. And I have found the other responses have provided me with useful background information as to how my peers regard Facebook.

The ‘My Questions’ Application

I have used the My Questions Facebook application to ask a couple of questions previously, including “What is your favourite Web 2.0 application?” and “Skype: evil proprietary bandwidth hogger which should be banned or popular easy-to-use application which institutions should support?

The first question (to which I received 5 responses) introduced me to Zimbra, whilst the second question (to which I received 11 responses) indicated broad support for Skype, although Nigel Bradley confessed that he is “brainwashed by our networks guy” and feels it should be banned and Ross Gardler, rather more ambivalently, feels that “As a supplement to telephone – useless. As a cost saver – fantastic. Therefore needs to be fully integrated in the organisation to be useful (divert cash from one infrastructure to the other) – otherwise ban it.

I must admit that I am beginning to find this Facebook application very useful as a way of getting rapid feedback from my Facebook contacts on areas of mutual interest.

The questions, and the responses, are limited to 255 characters which helps to ensure that a brief response is provided. And the application is proving popular, with 103 of my Facebook friends having installed the application (and 6,073,960 Facebook users in total).

I think I’ll ask one work-related question a month, and see whether the responses I get prove useful.

In the meantime, I invite readers of this blog post to respond to my current question.

Technorati Tags: Facebook


3 Responses to “Facebook: Engage with it or leave it alone?”

  1. Kara said

    Story in Newsweek this week, Facebook Grows Up:

  2. I hate it when in order to see someone else’s use of an application, I have to install it myself. It’s really unfriendly.

  3. Mike Nolan said

    I believe Facebook have recently made a change to FBML to stop application developers from showing different content for profile owners to profile visitors which will remove this problem.

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