Monday, October 11, 2010

How I'm Using the Facebook Groups Feature. (Or Reclaiming My Facebook Profile)

Sometimes, I feel like a stranger in my own Facebook profile. I don't always feel comfortable there. I've been attacked for saying how I feel, on my own profile.

And, it was bound to happen.

It's what happens when so many different groups interact. Before Cora died, I had a few hundred Facebook friends, all family and friends, and would get on every few days.

After she died, I found comfort in Facebook finding others that fit my new self identity. See within a week, I joined these groups by default: new mom, nursing mom, strong breastfeeding advocate, heart mom, grieving mom, and activist. My Facebook profile exploded with new friends from my new life.

And, sometimes, my identities didn't mesh.

Also, I lost my family and friends somewhere in the Facebook world. I know my grieving mom late night posts made their hearts cringe, but they couldn't really relate.

I contemplated deleting everyone off that wasn't a close friend or family member.

I finally just opened a second profile for close family and friends. But, they were confused. I was confused, and forgot to post there.

When I saw the new groups feature on Facebook last night. I knew it was the answer to my Facebook issues.

I plan on deleting that second profile soon.

I set up two groups so far, one with other congenital heart defect affected families, and one for other grieving moms. It's nice to have a place to go that's safe and cozy.

I made the groups "secret" because I think others thought I was making a huge CHD group, not the case, just bringing my CHD friends together. If I forgot to add you to my CHD group, or my grieving moms group, please send me a note and I will. 

I tried to be clear that these were groups of friends from my own profile, but welcomed additions if someone thought of someone that needed the group.

Like any change, I think it's still confusing to some, but hope that after time people will see what I intend for the new groups to be, a way to reclaim my profile, and interact with people that have been a lifeline of support since Cora's death.

One thing that was a bit uncomfortable to me was that when I added people, their inboxes were flooded with notices. I wish Facebook wouldn't have done that. This article talks about that, being careful about adding people, and also about how now Facebook is more like how we interact in real life friendship circles. Often, our friend circles are fragmented around our interests.

I'm not sure how Facebook intended these new groups to be used, but I'm finding them perfect for this. And, after a bit of research, I'm finding that this is how they were intended to be used, to divide up our profile. I can see how this new feature isn't really applicable to some, and others might be down right annoyed by it, but for me, being able to segment my profile is so freeing!

Cheers to being comfortable in my own Facebook profile again!

So you know what I'm talking about, this is the interface of my <3 family list, where I added congenital heart defect families.

And for those of you overwhelmed with all the messages from people adding you to groups, here's a screen shot of where you can turn off notifications from the group. You come to this under "edit settings" in the group interface.

Have you discovered the new groups feature on Facebook? How are you using it?
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