It seems that I’m nearing the arbitrary 5000 people limit on Facebook. People like Jeff Pulver and Robert Scoble and Loic Le Meur and others are in the same boat. To fix this, one has to launch a Facebook fan page or just stop adding friends. It really led to a lot of thoughts and some conversations on Twitter (where else?). Here’s what I think.
Facebook Fan Pages and “Friends”
At this point, it’s a bit different for me. I have to accept that from time to time. But it’s a weird feeling. According to Facebook, I can’t possibly know more than 5000 people. (I feel silly writing this. Tons of people have already written this same blog post.) So, the next step is to create a “fan” page.
The fan page acts pretty much the same way as a profile page, except that the owner of said page can actually do a few more things, include mass messaging. So in a weird way, the “punishment” for having so many friends is that Facebook gives me a way to blanket message them. Huh?
The next question this all brings up is “friends.” Ari Herzog was halfway there in comments on Twitter, spawned from an exchange with me and Alexa Scordato, who offered to “unfriend” me so I’d have some room. This was followed by Meg Fowler offering to unfriend, too.
So wait, it goes further. The next action for people with 5000 “friends” is that my real friends all offer to abandon ship, knowing that they can reach me other ways. So what does that tell you about the kinds of friends you capture and maintain on Facebook? At least from this example, it tells me that my friends and I aren’t using it as a real social hub, that we reach each other on other channels (mostly Twitter).
Fan Pages and Facebook Overall
I use Facebook as part of an outpost strategy. This recent experience all started because I was thinking about where I could put notes about fitness and non-chrisbrogan.com material. I thought maybe I’d use Facebook, but then I realized I was already up to 4694 friends. With a cap of 5000 friends, I wouldn’t be able to build a relationship there.
So, I had a quandry. Start a new platform like a Ning site (as Ari Herzog suggested)? No. That’s too much like filling a pond and stocking it while all the fish are jumping and thriving in the big ocean. Start a Tumbler blog for it? Naw, again, just a bit too much work reminding folks to visit. So, I opted for a Fan page.
But what will really come of it? Not entirely sure. Not sure that it’s the right implementation. But I’m trying it out.
If you want to be my (*cough*) fan, or at least connect on Facebook, please go here.
By the way, if you want to read some great blogs about Facebook, there’s Inside Facebook by Justin Smith (suggested to me by Kari Rippertoe), and there’s Why Facebook, by Mari Smith.
What do you make of all this?