4.04.2012

Google Groups versus Facebook Groups

The other night, I got into an interesting conversation at my kid's school about creating an online group for the parents.  One of the parents recommended we use Facebook groups for the parents group.  At first I was hesitant as I thought Google groups might be a more inclusive platform, but I admittedly didn't know enough about either to make a strong recommendation.  I am currently a member of several online groups through both Google groups and Facebook groups.  In neither case, have I administered a group.  I decided it was time to get educated.

Here's a quick break down comparing the two.


Google groups
Facebook groups
Create
2 steps
1 step
Post with email address
Yes
Yes
Threaded discussions
Yes
Yes
Membership qualifications
Must have email address or Google account
Must be Facebook member
Privacy
Public, restricted, secret
Public, closed, secret
Archive
Posted at groups.google.com
Posted on facebook group wall
Notifications
Email
Email and Facebook
Chatting
No
Yes
Photo sharing
No
Yes
Doc sharing
No
Yes
Schedule events
No
Yes

The biggest negative for Facebook groups is that you must be a Facebook member in order to participate.  While most people today are on Facebook, especially among the younger generation, it is not as ubiquitous as email accounts.  If inclusiveness is important, Google groups is the clear winner.  That being said, it is easy to set up a Facebook account.  Doing so does not require you to "Friend" anyone or post outside of the group.

Where Facebook shines is in the features integrated into the platform.  You can use their chatting system to chat with other users online, share photo and document easily, and even use their events scheduler.  All of these can notify members within Facebook or by email.  That makes it extremely useful and nearly as accessible as Google groups.  It may also address some of the concerns of the older generation that is a bit nervous about signing up for Facebook.

What would I recommend to the parents group?  The one major concern - inclusiveness - makes Google groups a strong contender.  If they went with Facebook groups, a number of parents not on Facebook might feel alienated from the community and excluded from the goings on at the school.  However, with a education and training, many of those parents might learn the value of Facebook groups and be willing to overcome their initial hesitation to join.  The capabilities of Facebook certainly are useful.  If I were to recommend one platform, I would suggest using Facebook, but as offer education and training for those parents not already on Facebook.  However, I would certainly seek feedback from the group to make sure their concerns are addressed.

4 comments:

  1. One can post photos and file-attachments to a as part of a Google group topic or reply, but Facebook offers better visibility.

    Does one need a Gmail ID to use a Google Group, or can one use any email?

    FB can do polls: that might be a useful feature for some groups.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great points. As to your question, I believe that you have the option to use your Gmail ID or a unique email address.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Having Google Classroom, can I easily integrate google groups into google classroom with the intention of developing an independent learning community?

    ReplyDelete
  4. How do they compare with Yahoo groups?

    ReplyDelete