Any minor change in Facebook sends students around the country off into another frenzy of activity. Connecting the high school and college facebook worlds did just that a few months ago. And again today, Facebook made another minor technological change but with huge implications: it allowed the creation of global groups, meaning a person from anywhere in the facebook network (any college) can create or join a group.
Groups used to be closed to within a school, founded on the idea that groups are usually centered around physical clubs or associations (like Young Republicans or a band) within a school. But the nature of these groups expanded quickly to encompass many things that united students across physical lines. Groups like the “Anti-Collar-Popping Coalition” or “Students for the Relocation of the school to Sunny Californ I A” would bring together students that had no connection to one another besides their common belief in a random topic. Each school, then, developed their own variety of groups. Many schools have overlapping groups for the same cause or purpose; and so came about the idea to expand to create the universal group bridging school boundaries.
Now, the hard part begins. Students across the country will compete on recreating their favorite groups on the universal scale (luckily, you can’t join another school’s existing local groups). Individuals will now possibly belong to a local and national version of the same group. But with so many students entering the fray, which groups will win out? If Susie from Florida creates a “My Other School is Hogwarts” group but James from Oregon does the same thing, who’s group will get the necessary amount of members to really take off? While it may come down to timing (who will create it first?), it also will come down to indentifying the most connected and influential students in the country who can persuade a core group of students to join, who in turn can persuade others to join.
Ultimately, I don’t think it will matter that there are three versions of the same group in the long run. Individuals will split their allegiances between established physical friends and intriguing global groups. Either way, this is an incredible study in understanding trends, taking the anecdotal pulse of young people. It should be noted that Facebook already has a feature called “Pulse” that tracks the most liked movies, music, books, etc. Perhaps, global groups will be a way to help shape the trends as opposed to just track them. You know what that means, advertisers and PR executives will be looking for ways to get in the game…