Just when you thought all communities would shift to Facebook..

Posted: November 4, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

We have a really vibrant and interactive discussion group, of our VJTI class of 1985. We have an amazing set of guys who are keen and active, and every now and then, we see very interesting discussions, spanning a very wide range of topics. And contributions coming from across the world!

Recently there was an innocent question from one of the members whether we should consider shifting our group to Facebook, from the yahoogroups location where it has been running for many years.

And the few quick responses that came by, were emphatic and unanimous. That “no, we don’t shift to Facebook, and we are fine on yahoogroups”!

An interesting message right there, isn’t it? Just when we thought that all community type communication and interaction would be best done on formats like Facebook, there is a clear conclusion here. That we are better off with a plain and simple yahoogroup.

Lest you think that our group is one of ancient phobies who don’t know a shit about Facebook and hence, we prefer to stay with yahoogroups, let me assure you that it is far from the case. Some of us are Social Media professionals, and most of us are deeply engaged in social networking and microblogging and everything that is ‘in’ these days.

Yet, we rejected Facebook for this group.


1. Privacy. There are a lot of conversations on our group, which would border on controversy, which would upset the senstivity of people, which may sometimes be embarrassing if shared with outsiders. We as a group, know each other for nearly 25 years now, and are almost without inhibitions. We also understand each other well, and don’t take much to heart. But there is a fear that if these conversations landed up with anyone other than the group concerned, it may not be healthy. And with all kinds of “sharing” and “liking” that Facebook provides, we don’t know what conversation will end up landing where.

2. Chances of losing members. Like most groups, there is a mix of active participants, observers and lurkers. And observers and lurkers are always a far larger percentage. These not-very-active members perhaps receive digest versions of the email group. Which also, they might be seeing not-that-regularly. If we move out to another destination, they may not even realize it. And they may also miss all the instruction emails that we send, asking members to move to a new destination. We’d drop members, in short.

3. Why fix what’s not broken. We are quite happy with the pace, we’ve got used to the yahoogroups emails, each of us has would have worked out our own schedule or method to manage the flow. So why change. And its not a change for one person. Getting the whole group, located all over the place and connected only virtually, to make a shift, is challenging, to say the least. Best left untouched.

So we continue to be on yahoogroups.

But speaking of privacy especially, it is an interesting thought.

There was a time, when we would hesitate putting sensitive things on email. Because emails were so easy to be forwarded and our sensitive matters could land up in the wrong hands, accidentally.

Now, we find email safer. From that point of view. We do not forward nor receive many forwarded emails anymore. Oh, its such a pain to select the forward option, then find our friends from the address book, and take all that effort.

Now if it was Facebook, it was another matter altogether. One click to “share” and we are done.

How times change.. 🙂

  1. Sorav Jain says:

    Nice article Sanjay. But Yahoo Groups have become old fashion in terms of its usability. It is certainly not necessary to move your group to facebook there are other options too ex: Groupsite or Ning were you can create a closed microsite giving access to only members of your ex-community.

    These microsites comes up with tremendous interactive features such as: Blogging, discussion, active members, member objectives, polls, photo sharing, file cabinet, widget integration, calendar sharing, and lot more. This makes the site look lively. Also, it offers the email blast facility for the administrator to call people for discussions. Best part of it is, it sends a automated weekly update.

    I am not against Yahoo Groups, but inviting new members to yahoo groups may look boring to them. Shifting the whole group to new destination takes time but if the group agrees for change,shifting is possible. And yes, microsites also offers invite people option that can help you drive people to the new destination.

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      Thanks, Sorav.
      I agree on feature rich alternatives.
      However as I say, why fix what’s not broken?
      For our needs, Yahoogroups works wonderfully.
      And shifting pains are best avoided..
      Thanks for your views.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by sm63: Why email works better than Facebook for some communities? My blog post: http://bit.ly/1Tw18p Your views??…

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