There’s a new landing page on Facebook that’s designed to get families involved in sharing updates, photos, and videos on the social network. The extended family group invite page, available here, lets you create a private group for your family by inviting current Facebook members and entering in the email addresses of those who have yet to join.
Is Facebook after Grandma and Grandpa now that they have mom and dad? You bet.
Creating a family group is simple. After clicking this link, you’ll notice the name of the group has already been filled in for you based on whatever your last name is (assuming you’re currently logged into Facebook, that is…and aren’t we always?). You can edit the name if you like or leave it as is.
You then have the option of inviting more members to join the group. In Step 2, there are boxes provided to enter in the names of your family members already on Facebook. If you need more boxes, just click the green plus sign below. Finally, and likely the reason why Facebook created these groups in the first place, there is an option to invite other people in your family to join Facebook.
You can type in email addresses by hand or import them from your email address book. (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Apple Mail, and many others are supported.)
The group, once created, looks like any other Facebook group with a Member List, Discussion Board, Wall, Events Section, etc. However, there’s a big difference between this group and others you’ll find on Facebook. It’s a completely private group, not visible to anyone else.
Facebook explains this in the “Group Type” box:
This is a secret group. It will not show up in your profile, and only admins can invite members.
In other words, you can post away in here without worries that your online friends will see your activity. The only exception to this, unfortunately, is with the events. When you go to create an event within the group, it’s shared either with your local network (in my case that’s Tampa Bay) or all of Facebook. The supposedly “secret” group is listed as the host of the event. So much for privacy. It would have been nice to use this feature to track family gatherings, but there’s no need to broadcast every anniversary and family reunion to the entire social network that is Facebook.
Sadly, this Events section is yet another example of how Facebook forces public sharing on you even while pretending they’re offering you a completely private venue.
Still, assuming you have enough family members willing to join Facebook – and based on these latest statistics, it’s likely that you do – this new feature could end up being a great place to communicate and share content with your family. In fact, we expect that this single feature may even lead to an explosion of Facebook sign-ups from Grandmas and Grandpas everywhere. It might even attract some of the younger kids away from MySpace so they can hang out with the family on Facebook. On second thought, maybe not. it might just make Facebook look even more like that uncool place online where all those grownups hang out.
Thanks to AllFacebook for discovering this new feature!