Community (Not the Show)

by Yussi Pick

This week in my Internet Advocacy class I was mentioning Community pages and asked the professor, how they could be used for activism. He hadn’t thought about that yet and asked us to blog about it. Community Pages are a weird thing. I believe they are Facebook’s attempt to gain power on Fanpages, but let’s start in order. Facebook just reformed (or still is – my friend David claims he still hadn’t had the overhaul on his profile) for the gazillionst time in one year. This time the biggest innovations are among Fan pages: There are now two different kind of Fanpages (or are there?): One can now instead of “become a fan,” “like” the Fanpages someone created by clicking “create a page.” Interestingly, it is  not possible anymore to “like” that someone “Became a Fan of” – This is confusing, bear with me: If I become a fan of/like the page “Internet Advocacy” an update on my wall says “Yussi Pick likes Internet Advocacy”. Before the last reform people could give me, instead of commenting, a quick thumbs-up by clicking “Like.” NOW instead of giving me a thumbs-up, they become a fan of “Internet Advocacy.”

THEN there are COMMUNITY PAGES. They are not created by anyone consciously, so no one has admin rights on them. How are they created? Before the reform, people had interests, jobs, books, etc. on their profile. When one clicked that, Facebook ran a search and showed other people with the same keyword on their profile. Now, you come to a page that looks an awful lot like Fanpages, so if I for example say, I work for the Students Union, Facebook creates a page and not the organization but Facebook has control over it. They integrated a Wikipedia article if there is one, run a search among status updates and posts by friends and globally that contain the keyword and much more. A disclaimer says:

Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic. If you have a passion for College of Wooster, sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. You can also get us started by suggesting a relevant Wikipedia article or the Official Site.

So what does that mean for Internet Advocacy: One cannot tell as long as Facebook has absolute control over it, you can’t connect with people who are connected with the page, can’t send messages or update the wall. Right now, the only thing one can do is monitoring and waiting.

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