Can Facebook be your Rally’s Website?
by Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour
One of the first websites I ever built was for our wedding in 1998. Since then, I’ve built websites for my own personal interests as well as for businesses and clubs. Now, we’re holding an RV Rally, so I should build a website for it right, or at least a Blog?
A normal website is primarily one-way communication. Social media (e.g. Facebook) these days allows us to have communications in multiple directions. People reading your Facebook page can not only talk back to you, they can also communicate with each other. They can even share your page with their friends … can you say ‘word of mouth advertising?’
The rally that we’re holding is a joint effort between us – Geeks on Tour, and Phil and Tracey May of TechnoRV. Rather than attach the rally to either of our business websites, we’ve decided to try a Facebook Page. This way the rally has a web identity of it’s own, separate from either Geeks on Tour or TechnoRV.
The Techno-Geek Learning Rally Website/Facebook Page
Take a look and tell us what you think. The URL is www.facebook.com/technogeeklearningrally. If you’re not a member of Facebook, you can still see the page, you just can’t interact with it. If you are a member of Facebook, click the ‘Like’ button to connect to our rally.
Benefits of using Facebook
First of all, it’s free, and Oh-So-Easy. Beyond that, it’s interactive. We really wanted our rally website to be a place where people could upload their own pictures and updates about what they were seeing and learning at the rally. This is difficult with any other website. With Facebook, so many people already know how to post pictures and update status, so it happens quickly and easily. This can expand an event to be a virtual rally for anyone who ‘Likes’ the page. By the simple act of clicking ‘Like’, anything posted by us on our Rally page will show up on your newsfeed. You can ‘attend’ the rally even though you’re thousands of miles away.
This is a pretty small rally on the ground … about 40 people, but the online rally in the Cloud can be hundreds!
Drawbacks of Using Facebook
Of course, the main drawback is that not everyone is on Facebook. As mentioned above, a Facebook page can still be seen even if the viewer is not on Facebook. So, it still serves the purpose of a static webpage for everyone, and it is automatically interactive for anyone who does use Facebook. You might be surprised at the percentage of RVers who use Facebook – it’s substantial, and growing every day.
Another drawback, especially for large organizations where you’re bound to have someone unhappy about something, is that unhappy people can post to your page just as easily as happy people. As the Admin for your page, you can delete offensive posts. If the complaint is legitimate, you can build more good will with followers by keeping the negative comment and responding in a helpful way.
What is a Facebook Page?
If you use Facebook you may think you have a Facebook Page, but you probably don’t. What you have is a ‘Profile’ aka your ‘Timeline’ or ‘Wall.’ Profiles are for people, real people, with real names. Once you have a Profile on Facebook, it is a piece of cake to create a Page for your business, club, or other entity. It is so easy, it literally takes only 5 minutes. But, creating it is just the beginning. Getting people to know it’s there is the time-consuming part. You need to promote your Facebook page, just like you would any website. But, once you get people to ‘Like’ it, they may promote it to their friends and help you build the readership with no further promotion on your part.
What is a Facebook Group?
Like a page, it is easy for any member of Facebook to create a group. From your home page (News Feed) you should see a link in the left sidebar to ‘Create a Group.’ Where a Page can only be public, a Group can be Open, Closed, or Secret. Facebook’s Group feature is intended to give small groups a place to collaborate. Groups have members. You don’t just ‘Like’ a group, you Join.
What is an Event?
An event is yet another entity within Facebook. This one has a date, a location, and you can invite people. People can respond to say they are attending or not. Any person, page, or group can create an Event. An Event can be for Public, Friends, or Invitation only.
Me too. It was really unclear whether we should create a Page, Group, or Event. After discussing it, we decided to create a Page. AND an Event. This is our first Techno-Geek Learning Rally, but we hope it’s not our last. The Page can grow its content continually while we also schedule events. So, we now have the TechnoGeek Learning Rally page, plus an Event for the May 2012 Rally, and another Event scheduled for November 2012. For the future event, you can get on the list by RSVPing that you’re ‘Maybe’ going. This way, you should get all future notices about the Event. We’re also hoping that the current Event gives us a way to communicate with just the people who are actually here at the Rally. There are some things, like schedule changes, or other details, that we want to post to the few dozen folks who are here, without bothering the hundreds who may have liked our Page.
Other Rallies with a Facebook Presence
I notice that the other rallies we’re gong to this summer also have Events on Facebook, but not very many people have RSVP’d. Without the RSVPs, you can’t use it to communicate with attendees, but the Events are still good for giving the details of the specific Event.
It’s a Learning Rally!
Our event is called the Techno-Geek Learning Rally, not just because we’re going to be teaching lots of computer stuff, but also because we’re experimenting and learning ourselves!
Follow along and learn with us by Liking the page. And, let us know your thoughts along the way!
Geeks On Tour is Jim and Chris Guld. They have been traveling the US in their RV since 2003. They teach fellow travelers how to use computers and technology to plan, preserve, and share their travels. They have both been involved in professional computer support and training since the early 80s. They maintain a family of websites including www.picasatutorials.com containing hundreds of articles, and www.geeksontour.tv where members can watch tutorial videos on all their topics.