How Will Facebook’s New Page Changes Affect Higher Ed?

According to Ad Age, Facebook will bring Timeline to Brand Pages by the end of this month.

These changes will mimic the profile change announced at the F8 conference and although Facebook won’t comment on specific details, a spokesperson confirmed they plan on making Pages more consistent with Timeline by the end of February.

Higher Ed’s Love/Hate Relationship With Facebook

You may recall the uproar last month when Todd Sanders found his Official UWGB Fan Page had been turned into a community page without warning.

Dozens of other higher ed page owners gathered on college web editor shortly after to share their story and beg Facebook to return their Pages back to normal.

Although Facebook ultimately fixed the problem, it showed how much institutions rely on their Facebook Pages and why perpetual changes always leave admins a bit on edge.

The Big Question

In my opinion, the biggest question for colleges yet to be answered is what will happen with Page Tabs?

Page Tabs have become a cornerstone of most institution’s premier plot of social real-estate. Schools can currently embed videos, links, and anything else imaginable into a custom iFrame, but these may not be functional in the new Timeline format.

According to Mashable, who just put out a slew of “future Brand Page examples”, it looks like the new Timeline layout will allow for more visual appeal as well as allowing brands to populate their history with a variety of content.

Perhaps Facebook will become the new home for storing commencement addresses, campus news stories and other milestone moments in a digital scrapbook of sorts. This may be interesting for alumni looking to stroll down memory lane, but what types of content will work best to engage current and prospective students?

For schools that use Class of 20XX Pages, would this new layout help or hinder peer-to-peer conversations? My guess is the more visual and “marketing-like” a Page becomes, the less it will encourage peer-to-peer conversations. If students respond to the Timeline layout changes like the general public has, they may not welcome it with open arms. Of course only time will tell, but it will be interesting to follow how colleges and students react to the changes.

Are you excited for the new Timeline layout or will you fight to keep your Tabs running for as long as possible? Share your thoughts below.

  • Jon McBride

    I’m excited for for the Timeline feature to integrate with our university page. There is a lot of really good content that we have from years back that is hard to access right now. A lot of prospective students come to our page and ask about things that we’ve posted about before and had really good conversation about. It’ll be easier to find that stuff now to point them to.

  • Brandon Croke

    Thanks for sharing Jon, that’s really interesting stuff. 

    I definitely agree with the time limitations of the current Facebook wall feed. Interesting that prospective students have asked about things you’ve posted in the past. Would love to hear/see any examples. 

  • Jon McBride

    It took me a little while to find an example, Brandon (case and point). :) Screenshot attached. This is a common question we get about what housing is like on campus. We have a pretty good thread that we just keep pointing back to.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. I will certainly miss the additional interactivity of the page tabs, and I think that FB would be remiss to remove those right now.