What Am I Reading on Facebook?

Facebook gets a lot of bad press these days. Many people have threatened to jump ship but the alternatives haven't proven to be sustainable. Facebook is a machine, for better or for worse, and many of us still use it to not only connect with our friends and family but also for our businesses.

I manage 16 different pages for clients or projects. It was 15 until a couple of months ago when I finally decided to bite the bullet and create a professional page for my writing work. Why did it take me so long? I really have no idea but now that I have created it my job is to keep it updated and grow my audience.

I have noticed that Facebook is becoming inundated with types of content pages. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of them all. For instance, my business page has almost the same name as my personal Facebook timeline. Laura LaVoie and Laura M. LaVoie aren't that much different when you see it quickly scroll past, but for me that M is the distinguishing mark between personal and professional.

So how do you know what you're reading when you're on Facebook?

There are three primary categories:
  1. Timeline
  2. Page
  3. Group
And all of these appear on your Feed. 

So what is the difference?

A Timeline is the basic page that everyone who logs into Facebook creates. This is what connects you to your friends and family. On your timeline you add all of your "about me" information, a cover photo, a profile picture, and post all about your daily activities.

A Page is very similar to a timeline but it is used primarily to promote a company, project, artist, or other professional ventures. MacDonald's has a page, so does Apple. But not every page is for a business. For instance, my cat has her own page. That was just a fun project I started years ago but became very useful when she was going through cancer surgery and recovery. I could post her updates there and not clog my own timeline.

As a Facebook user you "like" pages rather than send a friend request.

A Group is exactly what it sounds like. You can join groups that are related to your interests and discussion is facilitated between members. Groups are run by Administrators (Admins) or Moderators and they have the ability to create rules for the community to follow and ban people who break these rules.

Groups are either open, closed, or secret. In an open group anyone can join and anyone can see updates. A closed group is visible through Facebook search but requires a request and approval by an Admin to join. A secret group is not searchable through Facebook. It is invite only and only visible to the members.

For example, I am a part of several tiny house groups that are closed. I also belong to a secret group where several friends talk about planning upcoming events. 

All of these things make up your Facebook Feed. When you log in you will see posts from friends and family. These are what they post on their own timeline. You will see posts from Pages you've liked. And you will be notified anytime someone posts in group you belong to. Sometimes, depending on page settings, you'll even see your friends post on business pages or groups in which they participate.

It is helpful to fully understand the difference so you don't find yourself making an unnecessarily comment in the wrong place. For instance, your friend may post on a business page in her town that she likes a certain product. You find this amusing so you make a comment in response but it refers to an inside joke that doesn't translate well outside of your friend group. Now, because it is on a business page, anyone who follows that page can see your comment. These situations can be easily avoided by checking the type of post to which you're responding.

How do you use Facebook on both a personal and business level?


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