Can anyone be a fan?
One of the good questions posed after a recent Webinar, “Leveraging Facebook,” was the fact that unlike “groups,” access to “Public Profiles” cannot be limited by approval. Currently age and country are the only options Facebook provides for restricting fans. In other words, pretty much anyone can become a “fan” of your school on Facebook. More the one person expressed “serious concern” regarding open access to these pages.
At first glance I completely understand the cause for concern. By default, schools should be concerned about the privacy and safety of their community. I agree it would make perfect sense for Facebook to consider allowing a process similar to the one current in place for confirming “friends.” Why not? But that said, the issue above is not unique to Facebook, and the approval process does not really address the underlying issue. Take Twitter for example. Twitter pushes this issue even further. Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t purport to be based on the identities of real people. As a result you have no idea who is really following you.
6 Rules for your school’s Public Profile
- Facebook (and Twitter) are not for private or privileged information. If you wouldn’t put it on your public Web site, don’t put it on Facebook.
- It’s all about getting your message out. Those who follow your school on these sites are giving you permission to message to them. It’s not about Facebook. It’s about your message.
- Don’t try to look for your fans phone numbers, e-mail or mailing addresses. They expect you to use these tools to tell your story. Build the relationship right here, right now.
- If they don’t like your story, they’ll stop following you.
- Attempts to restrict or block access are “Security Theater”. As long as you remember rule number one, why not let everyone be a fan?
- Follow Stanford University on Facebook. They completely get it.