What Really Happened on Facebook this weekend?

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FacebookFor those of you who missed the frenzy this Sunday on Facebook  because you were hanging out at your cottage or basking on a beach somewhere, I can enlighten you.  Facebook issued an invitation to all it’s users to get their very own “vanity” URL for their business/fan pages.  They set certain criteria to be eligible including:

  • Your Facebook Page must meet two requirements: it must have been live on Facebook prior to the May 31, 2009 cut-off date and have had a minimum 1,000 fans at that time.
  • This limitation is temporary. All Pages created after May 31, 2009 or that had less than 1,000 fans on that day will be eligible to claim usernames on Sunday, June 28, 2009 if they have more than 25 fans.

Then  yesterday, Facebook changed the rules again in that you had to have no less than 100 fans on your page.  Suddenly everyone was scrambling to add fans.

Kudos to  Mari Smith, the “pied piper” of Facebook as well as Mashable’s Pete Cashmore who posted on Facebook yesterday afternoon to update everyone on the change.  Not only did they post the change, they both jumped in with their ideas on how to help us reach our 100 quota!

Mari Smith directed everyone to   “Come join my friend Hazel Grace of Socialbees in this fabulous new Facebook chatroom for support on Facebook Fan Pages/Vanity URL registration tonight…”.

And Mashable’s Pete Cashmore invited everyone to “comment on his post” by adding their Fan Page addy and inviting fans.  At last count, I noted that over 400 comments came in from Facebook users.

At first, I visualized Facebook sitting back and watching the extra frenzy they created in changing their criteria for eligibility at the last moment as we Facebook users “stepped up to the plate” and scrambled to meet the new rules.

I, for one, wouldn’t have had the time on a regular workday to meet this challenge but it was Sunday evening and I had pretty much burned out on work for the day so I started “fanning” everyone who had posted a comment on Mashable’s post.  In the end, I did not reach the goal of 100 fans, but I did gain something much more valuable.  I gained many new fans to my Business Page and in doing so, I met and learned about over 50 businesses on Facebook that I probably would never have met otherwise and will continue to become more familiar with them as their posts show up on my “wall”.

As a Social Media Marketing Specialist, I just learned another big lesson on the power of Social Media sites, and about Facebook in particular.  I don’t put a huge value in gaining thousands of fans, followers or connections within social networking.  I do, however, value and appreciate making manageable and meaningful connections with businesses and people through Social Media that wouldn’t have been possible in the past.

So did Facebook change their criteria at the last minute for some specific reason or did they actually do their users a favour?  I invite your comments and thoughts…

Diane L. Coville


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