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Posts Tagged ‘community groups’

As Facebook is wont to do, they have added a new feature which has potential privacy ramifications.  The new feature shows up as groups and is initially difficult to distinguish from the existing groups feature.  However, it is structured differently, in that members of the group can tag their Facebook friends in order to add them to the group.  This is similar to how the notes feature of Facebook works.  The first reports I heard from the media about it were focused on how it could be misused for pranks and bullying.

I was recently added to a group for Madison Women’s Rugby alums.  With JMU’s Homecoming this weekend, the new groups feature came out just in time ….  this new Facebook group allowed word to spread very quickly about events for the weekend.  Our group is basically a latent network, with many people who are Facebook friends, but who may not have actually spoken to one another in years.  This new feature allowed the network to become active as rugby players from different graduating classes added their cohort to the group.  In just a couple of days the group has grown to 51 members and there are already three events with RSVPs being coordinated through this ad hoc group.

This is a great example of self organizing and I can see potential parallels to community response.  For example, if there is a sudden need for neighbors to organize (think snow storm for example), they could quickly form a group and have it grow organically.  The latent networks that already exist within communities could become active and organized using this new feature.

What do you think?  Could this new feature be beneficial to groups of volunteers or neighborhood members?  What concerns or barriers do you see for using this new feature?

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