Blogging

Make Facebook great again with Facebook Groups

June 24, 2017

I’m rarely ahead of the curve, particularly when it comes to social media. However, when Mark Zuckerberg shared his 10-year plan for Facebook, it didn’t sound like science fiction. I was nodding along. Excited even. He wants to transform Facebook Groups into a meaningful platform for connecting people with shared values. The word “community” was used a lot.

In real life, I’m a pathologically introverted person. In Facebook Groups, the anxiety and inhibitions tied to social interaction diminish. I’m able to connect with people I never would have met otherwise. New people with fascinating stories, some of whom are nearly are crazy as I am. It’s miraculous when you stop to think about it.

 

Facebook Groups is not a new thing.

Approximately 1 billion people have tried FB groups. However, according to Zuckerberg, only 10% are in what he calls “meaningful” groups. The other 90% rely primary on personal newsfeeds to stay connected with friends and family. After discovering the magic of several “meaningful” Facebook Groups, my personal newsfeed feels like the muggle version of social media. I can still get my social media fix, but it’s unlikely to help me summon my Patronus when the Death Eaters come calling.

Muggle Facebook vs. Facebook Groups

The muggle version of Facebook is a social platform to share with friends and family. Most active Facebook users form “friendships” with hundreds, if not thousands. Unless you’re willing to devote hours to scrolling through an endless loop of posts, you’re bound to miss your best friend’s wedding announcement somewhere between Uncle Ray’s record-setting bass catch, or a screaming goat video from your spouse’s coworker’s grandmother. On the other hand, Facebook Groups remove the pressure to Like every post. We’re free to engage (or not) without risking the stigma of being a bad friend. Similarly, when your post in a FB Group doesn’t receive a great response, it is not a reflection of your virtual worth.

Our muggle Facebook friends also follow us for different reasons. Hiking buddies don’t want to endure another rant about the political issue of the day. It’s almost cruel to subject former professional colleagues to the results of my latest art therapy project. Nobody wants to feel compelled to follow the link to my latest blog post. Because Facebook Groups are usually centered around a specific topic, you know what you’re getting into when you join. So, when you share a post that’s relevant to the group, it’s likely to get a better response.

 

What is a “meaningful” Facebook Group?

Most Facebook Groups are vast empty chasms filled with the virtual equivalent of unheard echoes. Support groups with thousands of members have requests for help or advice that go unanswered. Countless promotional/networking groups, whose aim is to spread the word about blogs or services or products, are littered with links that are unseen and unshared. Topic groups dedicated to specific places, activities or causes tend to either host an overwhelming number of posts, or minimal activity.

There are hidden gems to be found beneath these daunting debris fields of FB trash. Within the closed confines of these rare groups, we are free to share pieces of our lives with virtual friends who have common interests. Successful group administrators, who control access to closed and secret groups, maintain that careful balance between vigilant gatekeeping and open conversation.

Here are a few that I’ve found so far:

 

Support Groups

  • Bloggess Pals– Bestselling author/blogger Jenny Lawson is our spirit animal. Despite being plagued by myriad physical and mental health issues, she has dedicated her life to living Furiously Happy. In this amazing oasis, we can vent over our struggles with depression/anxiety/PTSD/life, celebrate a new unicorn tattoo, and remain socially active when peopling is not an option.
  • Insecure Writer’s Support Group– Guess I’m not the only one that’s ever felt like they were losing the fight against the blank page.

 

Promotional/Networking

  • Big Up Your Blog– one of the few blogger communities filled with members eager to share and engage with one another. Aside from helpful feedback from veteran bloggers, blog-sharing posts routinely garner over 700 comments. The group is currently not accepting new members so we can get to know each other better, but I suspect this will change soon.

*Update: The admins are now accepting applications to join! Clicking on the image below will send you to the Facebook Group page.

Facebook groups blogger promotion blogger tips

Let the admins know that Gabe sent you for a speedy admission to this very successful Facebook Group for bloggers

  • Blog Support Group– I’m not very active here, but whenever I stop in, I’ve been impressed with the level of participation. Not necessarily a social community, but for those strictly interested in increasing their stats, this is a well-moderated promotional Facebook Group.

 

Topic groups:

  • Appalachian Trail– a very active community of hikers who share a love for most things that grow or crawl in the dirt and make you sweat.
  • Introverts– a group that fully embraces the difference between being an introvert and being shy. Caution: when commenting on a post, you might want to turn notifications off. Things can get crazy in a hurry.

 

How do I find these active and meaningful communities?

It’s not easy. I primarily use the “suggested groups” section on the side of group pages. It’s populated by my interests, my friend’s interests, and other groups I’ve joined. Most groups are “closed,” which means only group members can see posts and engagement, so it’s difficult to tell which groups are active from the overview. However, once you’ve been accepted into a group and have a chance to look around, if it’s not for you, leaving the group is socially acceptable (unless Uncle Ray invited you to join his catch-of-the-day group because you keep missing his muggle posts, then you’re stuck).

A word of caution about searching for a new group: size matters. Currently, group search results are prioritized by the number of members. However, as with our personal pages, those groups that have 10’s of thousands of members are not necessarily meaningful groups. Support groups in particular are more likely to be successful when membership is low enough that most members get the chance to know one another.

 

It’s going to get easier to find the right groups

One of Facebook’s reported aims is to improve the “suggested” and “related” groups algorithm. Really looking forward to the day Facebook realizes I’m not interested in joining another knitting community (I’m strictly into cross-stitching).

Facebook has also introduced an expanded set of tools for group administrators. Removing inactive (or inappropriate) members (along with their posts) and screening prospective members will become easier. Admins can also recommend related groups to members. For us little people, this will make our search for new group homes much more effective. But this feature has an enormous potential to turn group administrators into the next social media influencers. (I can already see successful group admins getting flooded with requests to “promote” another group.)

Hopefully these updates will lead to a transition away from the “Drop a GIF and go” approach to Facebooking, and towards meaningful connection within our virtual communities.

 

Are you active in Facebook Groups too?

I’d love to get hear your recommendations. Still looking for a househusbanding-hiker-living-abroad support group that will let me share my latest sketches. In the meantime, I’m willing to be flexible…

Facebook group administrators

New features for Facebook Groups. We’ll can still “drop a GIF and Go,” but we’ll also be able to find and connect in “meaningful communities.”

109 Comments

  • Reply thebackyardpoet June 24, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Excellent advice. I am a member of several poetry groups and there is even a Facebook group set up for just members of my family. My childhood home of Wakenda, Mo. even has a group where I can stay connected with friends from long ago.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 5:34 am

      These family /specific-friends groups are awesome aren’t they?

      One of the social groups I really enjoy is a small High School group. Several of the members still live in this once sleepy city (Golden, CO). It’s crazy to see how much things have changed in 30 short years.

      • Reply thebackyardpoet June 24, 2017 at 6:01 am

        Sadly, my hometown was completely destroyed by a flood in 1993 so this group is the only way to keep the memories alive. I love it because everyone in the group has the same agenda.

        • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

          I’m very sorry to hear about that the destruction of your hometown.

  • Reply Green Global Trek June 24, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Very interesting and comprehensive post. One of the main benefits for me with facebook is that I can easily stay in touch with global friends that move around and without facebook no doubt I would lose touch with many of them. As well, they can see where I am and what i am doing and so we are able to keep up with each others lives from a distance. Another benefit has been finding old school friends that previously were MIA until facebook surfaced them.

    In terms of belonging to groups, for me personally facebook has been a life saver when we change countries. I always go onto the local page for expats such as “life in Galle”, or “living in Granada”, or “Life in Hoi An” and instantly I can get questions answered such as where there might be a good dentist, a gardener, the best pizza, or any other pertinent questions which are answered real time.

    It is also of course a great way to keep up with family, although now some of them have migrated to instagram so I have to do that as well!!! Haha

    Thanks for all the research and pertinent information Gabe.

    Peta

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Thanks Peta.

      Similar circumstances led me to Facebook, so I understand what you mean. While I was hiking the Appalachian Trail last year, Facebook (and WhatsApp) helped me to stay in touch with family and friends all over the world in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. (I love being mobile, traveling, but I can’t imagine being disconnected from everyone for several months at a time. Even I would probably get lonely.)

      You bring up a great point about expat groups. I haven’t had good luck yet as those I’ve seen here in Europe feel like dating sites. Maybe with the pending FB group improvements, I’ll stumble across similarly meaningful groups. I’d LOVE to find a good dentist here in Bucharest!

  • Reply Stubbs June 24, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Great post and thanks for the list of Facebook communities! I didn’t know Jenny Lawson had one. I love her! I’ll have to check that one out!

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 11:53 am

      I am a proud Jenny Lawson Groupie! She, and so many of the people (mostly woman btw) I’ve become virtual friends with, are inspirational (not to mention friggin hilarious).

  • Reply mydangblog June 24, 2017 at 6:39 am

    I’m a member of a couple of FB groups because, like you, I’m very introverted. I do find even them a little overwhelming at times, but they help me feel “social”, as ironic as that may sound😊

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 11:59 am

      I completely understand where you’re coming from Suzanne. When it’s just me in my sweatpants typing into my laptop (rather than writing as I should be;)) it’s so much easier to be goofy, or enthusiastic or receptive, traits that I can’t really pull off well in real life.

      The question I’ve been grappling with recently is: which is more real… the “real” me or the “virtual” me? Maybe both?

      Either way, it’s allowed me to bump into people like you, so I’m digging it.

      • Reply mydangblog June 25, 2017 at 7:53 am

        I think the virtual me is more like how I feel, but the real me is more like how I am, if that makes sense. Either way, connecting with like-minded people is what these pages are for, and the feeling is mutual!

  • Reply cracTpot June 24, 2017 at 7:02 am

    So when I started my blog, I added my Cractpot persona as a page and now I realize you can’t join a Facebook group as a page and no one knows me as just me. Well, I mean, obviously people know me, but I’m not nearly as cool. It would be like asking Superman to join your group and having Clark Kent actually show up. Sometimes when I’m commenting and sharing, I forget who I’m commenting and sharing as. Gosh.. being introverted and shy but desperate for connection is tricky!

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      hehehehe I was just grappling with this very thing in a prior comment. In the 30 seconds of serious thought since, Ive decided that while my virtual presence and real life presence are very different, because I am still engaging sincerely, the Gabe that waxes poetic about the impression a poem has made on me, or adores the latest cat GIF is still the same Gabe that rolls his eyes when my wife asks if I was to get a new pet because “she’s soooo cute.”

      So I say rock that Superman vibe cracTpot, and if you’re afraid you might confuse us, wear the Clark glasses (which I hear are making a comeback btw).

  • Reply the incurable dreamer June 24, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Great advice, Gabe. Facebook has turned me off so much that I don’t even scroll my wall. Some of my friends are so obsessed with FB that they will stop talking to me mid-sentence because they received an alert on their phone that someone commented on one of their posts. It is like they have a disease that feeds off likes and comments and it drives me nuts!! *insert eye roll* AHHHH! My only activity on FB is responding to a comment after I have published a blog post, but truth be told, my friends are some of the least supportive people in my life when it comes to my writing, so I am not on there often at all. Your advice, though, might have restored my faith in FB. I am going to check out this group thing and see what cool cats I can connect with! Thanks, Gabe!!

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      hehehe so true FB addiction is a real thing. I’ve actually sustained a FB-related injury. Helpful advice if you’re ever in a similar situation: answering a FB comment while hiking over a boulder field in New Jersey on the Appalachian Trail during a torrential downpour is a painful gravity check.

      I’m better now though, and I think my weariness with muggle FB is a big cause. The compulsion to check FB is just about gone, and FB groups has removed my anxiety about not responding (and thereby becoming a bad person) within the expected 30 second interval.

  • Reply SickChristine June 24, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Most of the FB groups I’m in are with people I’ve known for years. I think that’s the great part about it. I would normally be hanging out with these people, but we are so broadly spread in a geographic sense. This brings us all together. The only non-friend group I’m in is the blog group you and I are in, but we all seem to be becoming friends as time goes on. I guess that’s another great thing about FB groups.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Yup and you’re right Christine. Especially with BUYB. Can’t tell you how great it is to be a part of a group of fellow bloggers, who like me, don’t necessarily have career aspirations for their blogs, but nonetheless want to share the best blog they can.

      Beyond learning how to be a better blogger ( I have a LOONNG way to go), it’s reassuring to have someone who can relate when a post falls flat, or shares our surprise when the world continues to revolve even after we’ve unleashed a phenomenal review of the Wonder Woman movie…

  • Reply Tara June 24, 2017 at 8:10 am

    See, I just wrote a post this week on my other site (taralynnjohnson.com/thoughts) about why I’m Facebook-free. … You make some of the groups sound worthwhile. But I’m still concerned with the amount of information Facebook gets from people, for free, sometimes without their knowledge… I don’t know if I ever will go back (I don’t think so), but if I did, I’d try your suggestions for finding the right group.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Yeah, I share some of your concerns about social medias ability to harvest data from users. However, I have long since given up this fight. Unfortunately, every keystroke we send into the ethernet is technically searchable, and available for data analysis. My strategy is to overwhelm the system with as much gibberish as I can produce. (If we can’t dazzle with brilliance, baffle with B.S.)

      And I’ll have to check out your other site!

      • Reply Tara June 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Sounds like a good strategy. 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm

          Even if it’s not… sure is fun 😉

  • Reply Almost Iowa June 24, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I recently baled out of a writer’s group where I had been active for years – because of politics. I have no problem with a fellow writer expressing a political opinion if it is intelligent and thoughtful – but all too often it nothing more than tribal chest-thumping, and there is all too much of that.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Yes. I’ve bounced out of several groups that become polarized for one reason or another. Some find that being just a little bit more extreme is a good way to get more attention, which creates a boring cycle of one-upmanship. The groups I’ve had the most luck with are either very small and self-governed, or have group admins that have a gift for maintaining that balance between engaging conversations and censorship.

  • Reply usathroughoureyes June 24, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Great post as usual Gabe. Now the “screaming goat” goat video was interesting and well…. Uncle Rays bass catch was a bit odd, lol, lol.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      hehehe that screaming goat video gets me every time. That might say something on a primal level about my lack of sophistication, but still…

      • Reply usathroughoureyes June 24, 2017 at 1:40 pm

        We love it!! Freud would get some Sheep thrills out of this. Then again he’d say you were three sheeps to the wind and bleating the competition.

        • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

          Hehehe I feel a pun war brewing… and we all know, nobody wins a pun war😝

  • Reply Diana Frajman June 24, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Great post Gabriel. It reminds me that it is time to sift through the groups I belong to and let go of the ones that no longer serve me. I believe that if I do not participate in them then I no longer serve them also.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      So true. And there is something satisfying about cleaning up our virtual homes.
      Besides, I find it’s a great way to put off cleaning our real home.

      • Reply Diana Frajman June 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Bahaha, I just sat down again in front of this time waster and thought the very same thing!

  • Reply desertcurmudgeon June 24, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    An extremely informative post, Gabe, and this does seem like a very plausible way of making social media more enticing to those who truly want to interact rather than display their self-indulgence. But, of course, here’s the main thing I need to know: how the hell are you going to mention a video about a screaming goat without sharing said video with your loyal readers? Hmph.

    • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      hehehe ummmm i think the link is working. You should be able to click on anything highlighted in yellow (those are how links look on the format).

      I’d hate to think that I deprived anyone of the chance to share in the joy of screaming goat GIF’s

      • Reply desertcurmudgeon June 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

        Ah yes! There it was. Two decades in and I’m still very un-internet-savvy, so I often need people to point out a link even though I’m looking right at it.

        • Reply Gabriel June 24, 2017 at 12:48 pm

          I hear you brother. I still have to ask my wife sometimes how to work new features on my phone.

  • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC June 24, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Good one Gabe! For a moment I almost thought about creating a FaceBook support group myself. THEN I thought again.

    I mean this is FB after all. How are they likely to USE these “improved algorithms” (unless I missed the announcement that the old team has been replaced by one tapped by The Good Fairy). It’s more likely yet another attempt to rebrand – much needed, IMHO, but not enough to lasso me unless they change a whole lot more than what they do to promote group usage.

    I shuddered when I clicked on the topic, actually. (Did I mention that I am NOT a FB fan? lol)

    I love my bazillion “friends” of course, but given what I’m up to, I really don’t have time to read about what they are planning for dinner (except that their youngest son hates it because when he was two . . .), or scroll thru a bunch of cute kitten memes – or political arguments that always suck me in 🙁 – or even to click along “liking” the status updates posted every nano-second.

    So I followed your dissatisfaction there. In SPADES. You lost me at how the groups would actually be different, however. Having administrated hundreds of groups in my career, no matter how much “easier” they make it, admin is a lot of t-i-m-e consuming W.O.R.K. of the most soul deadening kind (to me). And, in my experience, many of the forrest animals are likely to have “better” suggestions for the kind of bread they want Henny Penny to bake — seemingly endless discussions of off-topic admin!

    If they gave me an administrator I might *consider* it – but even if they paid them to do it as a match to the values I’d want the group to embody, I know that I would only be changing what I did with the same amount of time and effort. (Lambchop can’t do much without Sherry Lewis).

    I think I’m better off hosting a sort-of support group where I am already putting a great deal of time and energy – my blog. You are welcome to talk about *anything* over there, btw – no penalties for “off topic” on a “so much MORE” blog. lololol! 🙂 While you’re looking for a househusbanding-hiker-living-abroad group that will let you share your artwork, you always have an invite to my party. (You don’t even have to bring a dish.)
    xx,
    mgh (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 3:20 am

      First, Brava for reading through this post despite your distaste for FB. I get it, I really do. I guess that’s why I am pleasantly surprised by the engagement and genuine relationships I’ve found select FB groups.

      Your comments about the difficulty of being a group admin doesn’t surprise me at all. Sounds an awful lot like herding cats. Exhausting, endless, yet (I’ve been told) exhilarating when things are working well.

      I can see that this is the kind of group you are building on your blog and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I may still bring a virtual dish though, Monica would never let me live it down if I arrived at a party without a gift 😉

      • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC June 25, 2017 at 3:47 am

        Well, since you insist, flowers and chocolate will do nicely. Nothing special, any ole’ box of chocolates and anything with a bloom with some fragrance (tho’ I’m particularly fond of Star-gazer Lillies). 🙂 My compliments to Monica, btw – she’s got husband-herding DOWN!

        About those cat herds — used to say that ALL the time! But you’ll have to explain that “working well” part. Foreign concept in ADD-land. ::wicked grin::

        How wonderful you are at starting with the positives, btw — and I’m pleased to see that *somebody* found some authentic engagement on FB. Good for you (and your groups). Maybe I’ll dip a toe in that water again later. Right now my time is newly stretched struggling once again with LinkedIn. Since some dear readers have been posting my articles over there, the least I can do is figure out how to thank them (and do whatever else the LI folks DO when that happens).

        I truly am grateful for their help spreading the word, and don’t want to appear otherwise. It’s simply NOT an ADD-friendly platform so I’m s-l-o-w on the uptake. 🙁
        xx,
        mgh

  • Reply Maggie Wilson June 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve worked with computers from the get-go. Since the mid-70’s.

    You might not know this about me: I’m an introvert, too. But on social media, I am a master at outgoing, at charm, at the exclamation mark!

    I also am enamoured with the computer – kinda like I was with the etch-a-sketch. It amazes me still that I can find information about EVERthing and connect with people EVERYwhere. Plus the fact that THAT’s not hyperbole!

    So combine my habituation, my alter-online-ego, and my fascination with the machine and you get someone who finds herself walking a fine line between two worlds. If that makes sense.

    You see, I am social media “coordinator” (a fancy title for the person responsible for an organization’s Facebook presence) for several non-profit and hobby groups. It’s not work, it’s play.

    One of the groups for which I am moderator, is dedicated to promoting our town. I have gained such a positive reputation from my Facebook and WordPress posts that people who have not even met me in person are suggesting that I run for town council! My point being is … my point, my point… do I have a point?

    Ah, yes!

    Because of my social media persona, people think I’m an extrovert. They think I enjoy large gatherings. They don’t understand that I don’t want to attend this function, join in with that event. And I don’t need to explain to you how challenging that can be!

    Anyway – this is my long-winded way of saying, yes. I do “do” groups. I am a member of several history groups that focus on our area and these forums are amazing sources of information and images. They are “safe” places as the moderators are engaged and responsive. I also follow several field naturalist, botanist, birding groups and it feels like I’m getting away with murder for being able to hang out with top experts in their fields.

    Some days I am ready to cancel my FB account. But then sure enough, someone will post a dazzling bit of art or wit (nudge nudge – I’m lookin’ at you, kid!) and then I realize I ain’t goin’ no where.

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 3:09 am

      hehehehe awwww Maggie you brilliant brilliant woman! My cheeks r sore. Big smiles.

      The more I think about it, the more this feels like the topic for a future post, but I can’t tell you (yet) how reassuring it is to see how many of you also appreciate the paradox of vastly different “presences” in real life vs. ethernet.

      Not that you were campaigning for office, but you have my vote for Major of (Almost) Unsalvageable. Sure, we’ll need to attract more zombies to make the trains run on time, but still…

      Thanks again Maggie! I can see why your online charisma is so effective.

  • Reply thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving June 24, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Another good read. I also am guilty of screening what goes on my wall to ensure it is acceptable to all of muggledom. I find that with the amount of filler and clutter on there if something isn’t seen and commented on or liked within minutes of it being posted, it generally goes unseen unless someone went looking specifically for you or whoever else may have posted something.

    I didn’t enjoy many of the groups I belonged to and was incredibly dismayed with what I was seeing in my newsfeed this past winter and spring (American politics, Trudeau love/hate posts, immigrant hate posts, etc, etc, etc) so I just went ahead and started my own group. Why not give starting your own a try?

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:59 am

      That’s so true. The vast majority of posts on muggle FB are lost beneath the relentless frenzy of new stuff.

      WRT forming my own FB group, I don’t have the organizational skills that u do. If I were to try to create and moderate a group, I seriously doubt I could foster the kind of community that could become a “meaningful” FB group.
      For now, I’m having a lot of fun playing in a few groups that are active and enjoyable. And always searching for new ones…

      • Reply thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving June 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        Oh lord, thankfully my family isn’t reading this otherwise I would never hear the end of the fact that you accuse me of having organizational skills lol! You must be quite the fright then 😛

        The relentless frenzy of new stuff… what a great way of describing it… I think many people post some things just to try to get their names noticed and to try to get their pages noticed amid the noise… which only then further contributes to the noise. Vicious cycle.

        • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm

          hehehe fortunately Monica is twice as organized as the average superwoman, so we balance each other out fairly well.

          And yes, sometimes I feel like we’re living out Shakespeare’s summation “…tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (LOVE that line btw 😉

          • thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving June 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm

            You’re very lucky to have her! I just have Dex, my 80 pound lap dog. I’m organized only insofar as taking care of him, and only because he has no other options so I’m what he’s stuck with, so I owe it to him at least. When it comes to myself though… things are good enough 🙂

            I haven’t read any Shakespeare or watched my growing pile of Shakespeare movies recently and can’t place the reference! Argh! Great line though. It IS a great line, and so utterly appropriate. I’m going to have to google it now.

          • Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm

            hehehe Macbeth.

          • thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving June 25, 2017 at 4:12 pm

            Oh jeez, you shame me. It’s been 21 years since I picked up that one :O

  • Reply Lucid Gypsy June 25, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Apart from auto linking blog posts, I rarely look at FB anymore, the ads drive me scatty!

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:53 am

      That’s a another great point I neglected to mention. There are no ads disrupting feeds in FB Groups.

  • Reply Deb's World June 25, 2017 at 3:33 am

    A great post Gabe. You have summed it up really well. I enjoy a few Facebook groups and the interaction with great people like yourself, who I wouldn’t usually come across being on the other side of the world as I am.

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 3:36 am

      Yup. It’s awesome that FB groups bring together great ppl (and me) that never would have met otherwise. See you in the ethernet Deb!

  • Reply Mick Canning June 25, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Is there a support group for us Screaming Goat Video fans?

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 7:26 am

      Ha! On a lark I just searched. Stopped counting at more than a dozen… 😉

  • Reply thebeasley June 25, 2017 at 4:41 am

    I love our Big up Your Blog group. It’s been so helpful & everyone’s lovely. Great post Gabe x

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 5:15 am

      So true. Good virtual friends and great bloggers.

  • Reply Val June 25, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Good post. I found FB groups some months ago when an old friend of mine left one and was persuaded to rejoin by so many people in the group that I thought “wow, that’s amazing!” It’s now my favourite group out of all the ones I’ve joined. It’s a nostalgia group for people of my age who live or used to live in London (UK), and is a closed one, but it really did set me off looking for other groups. Since then I’ve joined similar ones but many haven’t been that great and I’ve left. The ones that are a real turn-off for me are those with too many rules about what you can and can’t do. I accept the sensible ones (ie, no racism, no upstetting other people, etc) but not the ‘no this that and the other’ when those work better on a post by post basis. And many of those groups, if closed, have none of the rules visible before you join, so I leave almost immediately after joining and discovering them!

    It has, as you say in your post, made life much easier. Before, when I was just reading the newsfeed (or going to people’s timelines) I had to contend with the usual fare that drove me crazy, most particularly FB’s telling me all the time about who Liked this and who changed their userpic and all that crap.

    I find some of the groups from the side panel, but others for searching via the internal search. Others I find via friends.

    The reason many of these groups have too many members – most of whom aren’t active in the group – is because of how Facebook enables people to be added. What often appears to group members as an invitation to invite their friends is actually an add button – if you add your friends they appear in a queue that the dmins see and they are eventually added to the group. Many people who are added not only don’t want to be, but don’t even see the notificatuion that they have been.

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I don’t know that I’ve ever been added to a group without my knowledge or consent (could be the security features I’ve enabled in my FB feed?). Something about being invited to a group by a friend, without my knowledge, and accepted into the group, without my consent, feels off.
      If this is the case now, Sure hope it’s another one of the FB group changes that will be implemented.

      • Reply Val June 26, 2017 at 10:18 am

        It’s nothing new and your security settings shouldn’t affect it. When you’re next in a group, look at the side panel on the right and somewhere in it you’ll see either an ‘invite friends’ or ‘add friends’ and there’ll be the small icons with your friends faces. To add someone you just have to click their icon and name and it adds them, then they go into a queue for an admin or moderator to see. If the mod or admin thinks the person will be right for the group that person will be added as a member of the group. Not all admins and mods care about who is added and just add everyone. The groups I’m in, the admins tend to weed out spammers, etc. So basically, it just takes a group that any of your friends are in, for them to add you. Let’s hope your friends are more sensible!

        • Reply Gabriel June 28, 2017 at 3:55 am

          Good to know Val. I’ve reviewed the FB groups I’m in and doesn’t look like I’ve been added to anything hokey. But I’ll keep an eye out.

  • Reply Gary June 25, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Good post Gabe and part of that first phase author platform building we discussed before. Seems you are going about it the right way. Keep up the good work. I’m also in quite a few FB groups that cross promote. Thing is there are not enough hours in the day to really keep on top now or other things have to take a hit. Writing for example has seriously been affected and I must address this methinks. Keep going my friend 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      True. Time quickly becomes a limiting factor when choosing between promoting (playing) on FB and writing/working.
      If your writing has been “seriously” affected Gary, then you are off to a GREAT start.

      • Reply Gary June 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

        It so affected I am considering July’s Camp NaNo to get my current project finished! I am finding time is stacked in the wrong places to actually write properly and must now get back into the habit. Last November NaNo proper really dislodged the rhythm and I needed a break. Now things seem to want to find there way again. Which is good, I never force write as that usually ends up rubbish so I wait for the right time to write and find things flow more willingly. July I feel is the time, but that might impact my appearances on social hops! Priorities and all that yes? 🙂

  • Reply josypheen June 25, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Some hiking friends like the political rants as well!! 😉

    I have not used many of these meaningful fb groups, apart from the big up your blog which is amazing! I don’t think I could be in many more as it takes me a while to go through the ones I have already!!

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      hehehe true, hikers are pretty open-minded, and most will happily engage with political rants right alongside the latest cat GIF. So long as there’s plenty of nature porn to break things up and remind us what’s important in life 😉

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt June 25, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Groups are a great way to connect! In addition to my Boykin Spaniel and windsurfing FB groups, I belong to BUYB, and two blogger/writer groups. Consider Networking Bloggers and Authors/Bloggers rainbow support group.

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I’ll have to check out networking bloggers. Sounds interesting…

  • Reply Jennifer June 25, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I love FB groups, especially BUYB and BSL. I also participate in one from my town. Hadn’t thought to create one specifically for Family. I might have to get on that one!

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      BSL?

  • Reply angelanoelauthor June 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Hi Gabe! I was trying to remember how I found the BUYB group and I honestly can’t remember! I know I was one of the earlier joiners, but I just don’t know if FB pointed the way or it was some kind of cosmic intervention. Wait . . . maybe Zuckerberg is, you know, HIM. No. Scratch that. I’m pretty sure he’s not. Anyway, I think it’s magical to have found so many great people and however it happened I’m delighted it did. I’m also glad to hear there will be “smarter” recommendations in groups of folks with common interests. Reminds me of Seth Godin’s TRIBES. My hope would be that FB can encourage not just a single-minded focus on one thing or one ideology or POV, but help to expose everyone (including me) to new ideas outside our comfort zones, too.
    Thanks for the post, as always. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Yes! This post was already getting a bit long, but a big chunk of Zuckerberg’s FB Group changes centered on their power to encourage diverse conversations and affect meaningful change.
      He sites examples of FB Groups with the authority and numbers to influence political change (currently on local levels for specific issues, but still)
      I’m really looking forward to seeing the new direction.

      In the meantime, I’m happy it’s allowed me to meet awesome ppl such as yourself.
      Cheers Angela!

  • Reply emfletche June 25, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I think we need a group which discusses all the ridiculous groups we are “suggested” to join. I recently was recommended a Caravanning group, and also a Nursing Home is currently popping up on my page 🙂

    Anyway I can certainly concur with the fabulousness of the Big Up Your Blog community 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      oooo a nursing home group! I see your nursing home group invitation and raise you two knitting groups 🙂

  • Reply Arionis June 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    FB groups are great. My wife started a group for offspring of golden retrieves from the same breeder that we got our dogs. Initially it was just a way to see a few pictures of our dog’s siblings but soon grew to a huge following. We’ve now had one reunion for the dogs and owners, and are currently planning another one for September. I started a group of my own for friends that met on a BBS system that I used to chat on (dating myself) way back in the day. I was only able to track down a handful but it was nice catching up with people I hadn’t chatted with in over a decade. I still haven’t checked out the Hiker Trash one you recommended but I need to. Also going to check on those blog ones too.

    • Reply Gabriel June 25, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      This is soooo much better than the screaming goats groups I discovered earlier today.

      And you should, while Big Up Your Blog is currently not accepting new members, keep checking back, I suspect the founder (Suzie @ Suziespeaks.com) will open things back up soon.

  • Reply twobrownfeet June 25, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I quite liked Facebook groups and communities. It was fantastic tool to find people with shared interests. And after moving to Seoul — I appreciated it all the more.

    • Reply Gabriel June 26, 2017 at 3:33 am

      Isn’t it great to stay in touch with friends and family even while we’re traveling the world!?!

  • Reply Ann Coleman June 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve had very little experience with actual Facebook groups, even though I belong to a couple of them. They aren’t particularly active, and relate mostly to the town I lived in for seven years while growing up. But that being said, I do credit Facebook with getting me in touch with many friends from my past, and I am a huge fan of that. I think the problem is that I have been far too passive on Facebook…just reading what is in my newsfeed (and “unfollowing” those who use it to express too much hate and disdain for those who are different), and posting a link to my latest blog post on my page. I think I need to explore this idea of specialized groups….thanks for the incentive to do so!

    • Reply Gabriel June 26, 2017 at 3:41 am

      Unfortunately, this is the case for most of the FB groups I’ve stumbled across (not active or pointlessly divisive). However, when I do discover a group of potential friends eager to engage in a shared interest, it’s like finding a virtual treasure.

      Good luck exploring Ann, but watch out for the FB vortex. Once it sucks you in, it’s difficult to leave…

  • Reply Di June 25, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Hello dear Gabe,
    A winning topic and a great blog post… thank you for bringing this to our attention.
    Firstly, I love your word ‘peopling’🙂!

    I am a member of the iPhone photography school fb group. I’m not active this year but last year it was the most amazing thing I could have ever been part of. Members would post their beloved new capture and people could say ‘awesome… well edited’ or offer helpful feedback on how to improve. We shared apps, tips, and…so much more. We shared life with each other and learnt about our joys and tragedies…Many of us have now joined Instagram and connected on our private fb pages to maintain the communication and friendship and some have met each other in person.
    Thank you for giving us the chance to share here…and I hope your cross-stitching is progressing nicely too 🌟🌟🙋🏻💕

    • Reply Gabriel June 26, 2017 at 3:55 am

      Isn’t it great Di! Finding a group of virtual friends to learn and support one another in shared passion projects is such an awesome way to stay connected and grow. For me, these kind of environments (whether virtual or real), form the foundation for genuine and meaningful relationships.

      About the cross-stitching… I haven’t made much progress over the past few months (more of a winter art therapy project). However, as paradoxical as it sounds, something about working a needle through a sheet of Aida fabric with piles of brilliantly colored thread relaxes this scruffy hiker.

      Thanks again for sharing Di!

      • Reply Di June 26, 2017 at 9:11 pm

        Hello Gabe,
        Yes, it really is a welcome gift to be able to find our ‘tribe’ as I call these types of friendships, as you said, virtual or real. When someone just ‘gets us’ it’s very beautiful for sure.

        As for your crafting, yes, I can imagine it would be a summer project. It’s like the new love for colouring in… it’s all wonderful mindfulness in action and focuses our thoughts. Great stuff, Gabe.
        Until soon…
        🙋🏻🌟🌟🌟

        • Reply Gabriel June 28, 2017 at 4:06 am

          mindfullness… I know that this is a central piece of your platform Di. This week, being mindful, and present in the moment, is particularly meaningful for me this week.

          Speaking of adult coloring books, there is a fairly new (but AMAZING) one by Jenny Lawson called “You Are Here.” If you’re in the market for a new one, you might want to check it out. Beautiful and inspiring messages that you can transform into colorful expressions.
          Cheers!

          • Di June 28, 2017 at 5:10 am

            Hello Gabe,
            Thank you for the recommendation. I haven’t bought any myself yet but this sounds rather lovely.
            I’m not all that good at mindfulness myself but I know when I’m taking photos and writing my posts, the time melts away. That’s probably as close as I get in a week.
            And I hope this week of all weeks you are able to gain goodness out of your mindful practices, my friend. Wishing you well as always and thank you for your lovely reply 🙋🏻🙂🙂

  • Reply restlessjo June 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Food for thought, Gabe, and you’ve obviously prompted plenty of other people to think too. I flit through FB once or twice a week and you’re right- I almost certainly miss loads. I only have a limited number of close friends on my personal page and I make an effort to check on them. The Restlessjo page was created with a mind to promotion and not annoying the friends. I can’t really spare the time to search out groups though it sounds a good idea. I belong to a photography one in the Algarve but I’ve not managed to stay abreast of that. I’m a bit of a flop, in fact 🙁 Hope your week goes well. 🙂 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 28, 2017 at 3:59 am

      I love it when the most engaging portion of a post becomes the comment section! Not surprising, but I’ve learned quite a bit more about FB Groups in the few days since posting this thanks to discussion in the comments.

      I’m going to check out the RestlessJo page today. I’m a really big fan of the beautiful journeys you take us on, would be great to get a front row seat.
      Thanks again Jo and Hope you have a great week as well!

      • Reply restlessjo June 28, 2017 at 4:55 am

        Thanks, Gabe! Greetings from a soggy, wet UK 🙂 🙂

  • Reply JT Twissel June 26, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I belong to about three Facebook groups – most of them are publishing based. In general I find some of the members helpful and others just want you to support them with no reciprocity. So I’m a little on the fence about joining other groups!

    • Reply Gabriel June 28, 2017 at 4:01 am

      I hate this too- the groups that are cluttered with folks that are only there in the hopes of getting attention (and promotion) from others without in any interest in reciprocating. Guess this is one of the reasons I feel like I’ve discovered hidden treasure when I stumble across a FB group that is an engaged community.

  • Reply nocturnalmomtalks June 26, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Love the title 🙂 It summarizes the message you want to relay 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 28, 2017 at 4:07 am

      Thanks for stopping by and for following!

  • Reply Robin June 28, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I belong to a few Facebook groups and rarely (in some cases, never) interact with them. After reading your post, I realize I am in the wrong groups. I am not sure what will fit, but if I’m not interacting with the groups I belong to, then I probably shouldn’t belong. Thank you for that insight. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 6, 2017 at 6:26 am

      Arrrrggg So sorry I missed your comment Robin!
      I admit that it takes some effort and time to establish a presence in groups. If I don’t feel like I can contribute much, or that the conversations aren’t my cup of tea, it’s usually better for me to leave these groups and devote my energies in places I can “fit in” better.
      Wishing you the best of luck on your future Facebooking Robin!

  • Reply candidkay June 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

    You mean you really want to miss any and all screaming goat videos? Sheesh:). The Big Up Your Blog sounds great! And I totally get the introvert thing. Technology really helps people who need some “space” to think have it. There’s an upside to all this craziness . . .

    • Reply Gabriel July 6, 2017 at 6:29 am

      hehehe I’m actually a screaming goat video addict. I’ve probably seen hundreds of variations already and I still can’t seem to suppress a chuckle.
      And your right, we introverts have sure found our niche with social media.

  • Reply a traveler here June 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Gabe – You’re the first totallyrealish blog I’ve found, and what a blessed relief. This is an island in the storm, where htere can be reality and yet hope and joy. (Give me all I can get of that, please. Thank you so much.) And lots of people come here and chat who, unlike our country’s so-called leadership who clearly don’t have the brains God gave a goldfish, actually think and speak. Oh dear God, I’m so grateful and relieved to know that such people still exist. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

    The human race is more disconnected on a personal and authentic level than at any time in history. We don’t talk, we don’t hug children, we feed them food-substitues like “Pediacare,” we don’t write letters or teach our children how to make a sentence, they can only “text” meaningless non-words to each other in non-messages that make no sense and have no purpose except a desperate reaching for some kind of connection that they have never learned but still instinctively know they need, to survive. But they cannot escape the force-field of the blackboxes. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

    The majority of American, and apparently worldwide “normal” minds (the new normal is frighteningly similar to the old psychopath) are brain-chained to an invisible force-feld emanating from ubiquitous (sorry about that big word but it’s a delicious one because it says so much, .i.e. “existing everywhere at once”) small metal blackboxes, which they cannot escape from, and which are continuously and insidiously programming them and their children (who will take over the world pretty soon) with a deeply embedded sociocultural psychpathology of casual carnage, massacre, mutilation of human beings, killing and destroying for fun, and “May the worst man win” ideology. And The Player is the only one that’s real, no one else is real, just a video character.This is personified with horrifying accuracy in the so-called “president” of the U.S. – My Country. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF. If we don’t, we’re just repeating the early days of the holocaust, with our eyes wide closed.

  • Reply Liesbet July 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    There must be a “share-a-sketch” Facebook group, Gabe! I agree with you, the Facebook groups provide more interesting topics than my general Facebook feed, which I rarely look at anymore. Such an overwhelming mess and our precious time is already filled with so many other things! My current strategy is just to look at my notifications and react to those. Each time something happens in my favorite groups (of which the IWSG and Big Up Your Blog) are a part, I check it out. I am also a member of a couple of house sit Facebook groups which are helpful and entertaining as well. When sailing full-time for eight years, the sailing/cruising focused groups were inspiring and great as well, but now, my interests lay elsewhere.

    • Reply Gabriel July 6, 2017 at 6:50 am

      I’m sure there are plenty of digital art groups out there, but I haven’t found one that’s particularly meaningful yet. (In my experience, most digital artists are more interested in sharing their own work than engaging with other artists).

      And I can absolutely see how you would excel in FB groups Liesbet! You have such an active and mobile lifestyle with your husband, and so many interests.

  • Reply noellekelly July 2, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I have a few Facebook groups that I love – my own little book club one, Rick O’Shea book club, Cloggers – a Cork bloggers group, Best of Netflix Horror and of course Big Up Your Blog! 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel July 3, 2017 at 9:57 am

      hmmmm I’ll have to check out the Best of Netflix Horror group

      • Reply noellekelly July 3, 2017 at 10:18 am

        If you’re a horror movie fan, definitely check it out 🙂

  • Reply Hot Mess July 2, 2017 at 10:58 am

    You rock! Thank you for this post! I requested access to the blog support group and Jenny’s but they (Jenny’s) aren’t accepting new members. There was a place to say why you are an exception and I filled it out. Could you please do me a huge favor, contact the page admin and kinda’ vouch for me? I want to join!!

  • Reply bedlamanddaisies July 3, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t spend much time on Facebook, but I can see how Groups would be appealing.

    • Reply Gabriel July 6, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Sure, for those of us that are pathologically introverted, FB offers a close parallel to living the “real life.”

  • Reply Lorna July 6, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Even with all it’s faults, I still love Facebook. I live away from more than half the people I love and those whom love my kid. So FB is a must for me to keep connected. As for the blogging/friendship side, BYUB is my new favourite hang-out!

    • Reply Gabriel July 6, 2017 at 7:19 am

      I know right! I’ve missed spending as much quality time there recently as I’d like. This real-life seems to get in the way of the important stuff…

  • Reply The Hook July 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I don’t bother with Facebook.
    Maybe that should change?

    • Reply Gabriel July 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Nah. In your case Hook, you’ve got access to the primo cast all day every day.

  • Reply A few comments about building my blog community - (Almost) Unsalvageable(Almost) Unsalvageable July 19, 2017 at 2:44 am

    […] Pro-Tip: In my experience, Facebook blogger groups are a horrible place to meet future engaged followers. Most are only interested in your participation on their blog and will grudgingly visit yours when forced. However, I recently wrote a post highlighting a few that are remarkable exceptions. […]

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