Friday, April 11, 2014

Facebook Page versus "a page on Facebook" - and why it matters

I wish Facebook had decided a long time ago NOT to call a "Facebook Page" a "Facebook Page" (I'm talking about these 'spaces' on Facebook that represent an actual entity, object, organization, business, brand, etc.). Facebook's product catalog includes Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, Facebook Profiles, Facebook Events, Facebook Games, Facebook Apps, etc.  But it's that first one that is the bane of my existence - trying, ever so feebly, to explain to people, especially new adopters, that a Facebook Page is not merely any random webpage on facebook.com. For instance, if you are reading this (had I posted it as a status update on my Facebook Profile or in my Facebook Newsfeed), you would be either looking at it as a Facebook Post, a Facebook Newsfeed, or a Facebook Profile (probably mine). You would NOT be looking at a Facebook Page, though, unless I switched to using Facebook as a Page I manage and posted it that way. It is true you are looking at a webpage on a website called Facebook, thus, a "page on Facebook", or, technically, a "Facebook page" if you will, but not a *Facebook Page* as constituted by the product they call "Facebook Pages". Fact is, unless you are a business, a celebrity, a brand, a musician, a cause, a thing other than a Facebook user, you do not have a Facebook Page. You have a Facebook Profile. End of story. But damned if I ever get people to say something like "I have a Facebook Profile". Nope, you're guaranteed to say "check out my Facebook" or "I finally created my Facebook page" when, no, no, no, you really mean Facebook Profile, your personal user account.

Seriously, I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the decision was made to call Facebook Pages what they do. This nomenclature has been a terrible burden for me for years now, and is the number one issue I run in to as I work to educate people, primarily new users, on things like the differences between and what constitutes a Page and Profile on Facebook, or what a Facebook Event is, or what a Facebook App is. For instance, I'll say, "send me your Facebook Event" and I'll be sent something that is simply not an Event on Facebook. So, in that regard, it's not really useful for Facebook to rename Facebook Pages to something else, because many users just don't know or care about the differences between the products on Facebook. In their mind, a Facebook Event or a Facebook Profile or any thing else on Facebook, and other webpage, HTML document, whatever you want to call them, on http://facebook.com, is just a "Facebook page".  Which is equally unhelpful when you need something more specific.