Last week I was teaching librarians about how they can use Facebook to promote their libraries. During our class, we found some major flaws in the system, flaws that make it so that many librarians have valid concerns about starting a page for their library on Facebook.
On the day of the class we found that Facebook had removed the link to create a page for your business from the homepage (now I see that it is there again). This implied to me that you could no longer have a Facebook page without first having a personal account (but I now see that maybe it was just a glitch – or a glimpse of something yet to come). One of my students said that she had created a page using that link and was later asked to link it to a personal account. I can’t confirm this because I don’t want to go against any of the Facebook terms and conditions by creating a fake page to test this out, but she showed me the page and the fact that it was indeed now linked to a personal account.
Here are my concerns about requiring that pages be linked to personal accounts.
First, Facebook has made it clear thatand having two accounts for any purpose is a violation of the terms. This means that you can’t keep work and personal separate, something that I recommend to many of those attending my Facebook classes.
Next, Facebook thinks that only one person should be administering business accounts. This is a hugely unreasonable request/assumption. Not every business is large enough to have one person devoted to monitoring and updating social networks, in many small businesses (such as a library) it is necessary to have multiple people log into the business account to update the page.
Follow that with the fact thatfor any reason and you now find yourself in quite a predicament 5 years down the road when the one person you hired to administer your business page decides to leave the company and deletes the page you worked so hard to maintain all those years.
I think that we need to see some major changes made to the way business pages/accounts are handled on Facebook. I think that business accounts should be separate from personal accounts no matter what. I also think that transferring ownership of a page should be possible, if for no other reason than the fact that people retire eventually and you can’t expect them to maintain the page once they do that. In a more realistic world, people change jobs they should not have to hold on to the page for their previous employer – nor should they have to share administrative rights with people who still work for the company in question.
I am not suggesting that I be allowed to have two accounts with my name on them – one that I use for business and one that I use for personal communications – I’m suggesting that I should be able to maintain two accounts – one with my name on it for whatever I want and one with my company (or library) name on it for business purposes only! Have you ever tried to reply to a comment on a page that you’re the admin for? Your reply automatically appears as if it’s from the page itself – but what if I want to put my own personal comment on there? I can’t – and on top of that the people visiting the page don’t know who the admin is – so there is no way to know that the comments the page has made are actually from me.
While I still think Facebook pages are a great idea and will continue to educate fellow librarians about them, I think there are some serious flaws in the design that need to be addressed soon – layoffs are common and people who are laid off are not always happy to just hold on to the page for their employer … which means watching the page disappear and then having to start all over again …. seems like a no-brainer to me.