I have decided to move my Ning social networks to Facebook as groups. The new homes are Alibre Design, IntelliCAD and Pro/ENGINEER. I just sent Facebook group invites to members of the respective networks. Unfortunately, Facebook ran into errors while processing the invites. So I apologize if any of you got multiple invites, although Facebook should have taken care of that on its own.
I played around with WordPress+BuddyPress and a few other social network platforms like Elgg. I even considered phpBB. They were all nice and could be good replacements for Ning. But then I ultimately decided to go with Facebook because I figured most of the members of my networks were on Facebook already. And I was right. I noticed Facebook profile pictures on a majority of people who I sent the invites to.
Probably like many of you, I am also a member of a number of forums, newsgroups and networks scattered all across the internet. Sometimes I wish there was just one control panel kind of a thing which I could log in to and keep track of the things going on this these places as well as participate in them. Right now I try to do that using my feed reader. But not all sites have RSS feeds for the kind of stuff I want to monitor.
For its part, Facebook groups comes with its own set of quirks. For example, it lacks notifications of things happening in a group. I came across this thread on Facebook over a year old where users have been begging for an option to get notified of activity happening in the groups that they are part of. As one guy so eloquently put it, “Why can I get fifty million notifications if someone scratches themselves but not if my law school posts something important?”
For example, if someone in a group that you are a part of adds a new discussion topic you don’t get notified about it. However, if you reply to it then you get Facebook notifications for all subsequent replies. I used to keep an eye on my Ning networks through my feed reader. Everything in a Ning network had a RSS feed – forum, images, videos, blogs, etc. So I could monitor the activity without having to log into each of the networks every day.
I came across another thread (also over a year old) where users we once again begging for Facebook to add RSS feeds to groups. Looks like Facebook does not do a good job listening to its half a billion active users. 😉
I think if users were given some way to keep an eye on discussions going on within their Facebook groups, they would be more inclined to take part in them. If any of you know of some Facebook app or a workaround which help monitor activity on Facebook groups, please leave a comment.