Facebook group vs. Self Hosted Forum

by pjk
4 replies
I've been thinking about this thing a lot lately. I've ran several large forums over the last 15 years, and also run several large Facebook groups.

I'm a member of a language learning FB group, and wanted to come up with ways to improve the community (see below). This led to me coming up with an idea to create a tool that would allow you to port your FB group off FB to better build the community. I'm building and almost finished with the tool now.

Issues with Facebook groups:
1) Posts can't easily be searched, browsed, or categorized. This leads to large amounts of duplicate content, wasted admin time, and excellent discussions get lost. So much good info in just the recent past is essentially gone and not used or referenced again.
2) Facebook owns the group. If tomorrow they shut it down, everything is gone. There would be no way to recover the posts, and no way to regroup our community.
3) The options to develop the group are very limited, so as more people use it, all there really is is more discussions that will be "lost". Facebook doesn't give you the proper tools for a huge group like this.
4) Discussions can't be linked to, so referencing past posts is difficult, therefore they get lost and mostly unused after a few days.

The goal of this is to help the communities that exist on FB, and everyone work together to create the most beneficial community for all. Obviously the FB group is big because it is convenient and everyone is already on Facebook, however, in the long run it leads to huge amounts of great discussion being essentially lost and un-used, along with no way to move the community forward as it grows. Additionally, people who don't use FB can't find the content or use it.

The biggest and really the only reason people use FB groups is because it is on FB, provides instant notification, and everyone is already on it. It is convenient. That aside, it is a horrible platform to develop a community, especially in the long run. The idea of starting this project came from being annoyed by how many great discussions became virtually un-used after just a few days (In virtually every one I actively use).

The tool that I'm working on, which I've used myself already with several of my communities, basically ports the content, users, threads, timestamps, etc. and formats it into a SQL database that can be imported into phpBB, the biggest free open source community platform. From there, it can easily be converted to vBulletin, Xenforo, or any other platform. There are forums with millions of posts running on these platforms fine, and all the posts are searchable and used far more than a FB group.

What are you guys thoughts on this project? Is anyone here interested in working on it as well? If you're interested in testing it out before the release and/or want to be notified when it is released, please shoot me a PM. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
#facebook #forum #group #hosted
  • Profile picture of the author CurtisJohnson753
    I'd still go with facebook, the amount of organice traffic you will attract would make everything worthwhile!
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  • Profile picture of the author gm777
    I would start with fb groups, but then when community is big enough I think it's a good idea to convert it into a forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author BranTheMan
    Facebook already has the internal traffic, start there and use the groups to drive traffic to the forum.
    Buyral Media Web Marketing Services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ertha
    In my country Facebook can form a strong community much faster than forum, however the sustainability and monetization at forum might be better.

    It really depends on your topic, if the topic is very solid and you target group is lacking of the place to discuss about you should consider go with forum to make strong community in long term.

    But i also see many people that gather their audience from group first, then establish the forum later on.
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