If you’re like most Facebookers, you have dozens if not hundreds of Facebook Friends. How do you keep track of everyone you’ve friendedis there a way to keep communications with different groups of friends separate?
There didn’t used to be, but there is now. Facebook recently introduced a new Groups feature. You can now put different Friends into different Facebook Groups, and target your communications to specific groups.
Old Groups vs. New Groups
Before we get too far into this new Groups thing, we need to step back a bit and remember that Facebook already had a “groups” feature. In fact, those old Groups still exist, which means there are two distinct features with the same name on the Facebook site. You don’t to confuse those old Groups with the new ones.
Old Groups first. Previously, people who were interested in a given topic or hobby could congregate on Facebook Group pages. These topic-oriented Facebook pages were (and are) essentially virtual clubs, a place for people interested in that topic to meet online.
Figure 1 An old style topic-oriented Facebook Group.
What can you do in this old type of Facebook Group? Lots, actually. You can read the latest news, discover new information, view photos and movies, exchange messages with other group members, and engage in online discussions about the topic at hand. As you might suspect, each activity has its own tab on the Group page.
Most of these older types of Groups are public, meaning they’re open for all Facebook members to join. Some Groups, however, are private, and require that the Group administrator approve all requests for membership.
To find and join one of these topic-oriented Groups, you have to search for it. Just enter one or more keywords that describe a given topic into Facebook’s search box, then click the Search button. When the search results page appears, click the Groups link in the sidebar; this narrows your search results to just Facebook Groups. Scroll to a Group that looks good, then click that Group’s name to view the Facebook page for that Group. You can then join the Group from that page.
Now, these older Groups continue to exist, and continue to be called Groups, even if Facebook is deemphasizing them. (To be honest, they never were that popular among Facebook users.) But Facebook has introduced a different type of Group, designed primarily for organizing and communicating with different combinations of Friends. This new type of Group has nothing to do with topic-oriented forums; it’s more like the contact groups or mailing lists you create in Microsoft Outlook and other email programs.