Facebook’s Walled Garden Problem…

August 9, 2007 at 3:00 pm 8 comments

ok, I’m hardly the first to comment on this.  While I really like what FB has done, I don’t like that nothing inside FB is discoverable without having a Facebook account and logging in.  One of the issues that most troubles me is the proliferation of speciality groups with tons of people joining and then nothing happening in them.  Here’s what I see (and have done personally)…

1)  Person creates well intentioned group with a good topic.

2)  (oops several other semi-related groups already exist).

3)  Person posts to their groups Wall and starts a few questions with a discussion board.

4)  People join the group and early arrivals say something on the wall or in the discussion board.

5)  Nothing.

6)  I now belong to a bunch of groups where very little is going on.  hmmm.

What do you think?  Have you seen the same thing?  Am I just in the wrong groups!!  I feel like this is tightly related to the walled garden issue and community landscape that is continuing to fracture and specialize without really addressing the core issues of discoverability and usability for the masses. 



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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. phil barrett  |  August 9, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    You brought up a great point. I’ve also seen this happen within the groups i’ve either started or participated in.

    A big reason why i keep going back to facebook are the updates i get through SMS, email, or when i login to the web and see my newsreader.

    it’s possible that i’m just ignorant…but unless i go to each group individually to check updates, i have no way of knowing if new pictures, comments etc… have been added.

    There should either be a more intuitve way to get a “group news feed” into your feed, or if there isn’t such a thing, somebody needs to get on it!

    RSS for groups? Love it!

  • 2. Ryan  |  August 10, 2007 at 3:46 am

    I fully agree that this proliferation is an issue,and its exacerbated by the closed nature of the platform. There needs to be some configurable integration with the news feed so there is some level of stickiness. I think this information flow or stickiness needs to be configurable though, since many people join groups for different reasons (not necessarily to interact). I posted a response to your entry here:

  • 3. Ryan  |  August 10, 2007 at 3:47 am

    sorry, I messed up the HTML tagging somehow. Here is the URL:

  • 4. Sue Waters  |  August 10, 2007 at 5:49 am

    I agree that the way Facebook works does not encourage you to network within groups. Not so convinced it is about the Walled garden or the way it works. Unless you are vigilant it can be weeks before you realise that you have missed something you should have noticed.

    The main reason I use it is because some of the people I network with are more likely to respond to me if I email from within Facebook.


  • 5. abhishek  |  August 10, 2007 at 7:07 am

    completely agree with the observations on the silence in the communities. and i have seen the same in orkut, ryze as well.. however, i don’t think it is due to fracturing as you can see the size of some of them (in 00s)..
    maybe there is no shared action item or objective that these communities have enumerated. the lack of an immidiate objective renders them inactive as everyone waits on everyone else to kickstart something… and then spammers & trolls take over !

  • 6. Markg  |  August 10, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    This silence doesnt bother me…just because someone puts up a flyer and says ‘hey i care, you should too…join my group’ doesnt mean people should. I do think once MeetUp integrates DEEPLY with Facebook…this problem might be half-solved. Alternative solution will be an another add-in that better nudges folks to participate….no doubt some incubator will step up and fund that…

  • 7. Howard  |  August 20, 2007 at 12:56 am

    I think part of it is a lack of notifications about a group’s activities. I’d like a page where I can see a summary of new message board posts, threads I’m subscribed to, wall posts, etc. Currently it’s very hard to find out what meaningful activity is going on in each group without going into each group individually.

  • 8. Mark  |  August 24, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    I totally agree. That’s part of what has caused me to put off joining. I thought it would be a good way to explore web2.0 and all, but I wanted to check it out a little bit first, before I took the time and effort to set up a proper profile. I’m unable to see anything on there until I join though. Kind of discouraging. Guess I’ll just have to jump in the deep end.


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