A Facebook Profile or a Facebook Page? This is probably a bad idea.

04/04/2011 By Shawn Burns

I deleted the Backpacking Dad Facebook page. It was something I’d started after already establishing the Backpacking Dad Facebook profile, and the redundancy was annoying me. It’s not that I was duplicating content; it’s that I didn’t know what to share on the Page that I wouldn’t share on the Profile. (A note: A profile is fully interactive on Facebook, adding friends, accessing other user profiles, and messaging; a Page is something you “like” and get updates from when you do so, but if you administer a Page you don’t get access to your fans’ profiles just because they like you. It’s less interactive and more broadcasting.) So, wanting to streamline my online life a little bit, one account had to go, and I chose to delete the seldom-used Page.

But…there’s a (new) feature Facebook has that will allow you to migrate your Profile to a Page, turning your “friends” into “fans” in the process, and deleting most of your personal interactions. I just don’t use Facebook as a social media browsing tool, checking up on people to see what they are doing or to look at their vacation pictures: that’s what blogs and Twitter are for, in my life. So, now I have started reconsidering the Page option, but this time through the migration of my robust Profile. Since I use Facebook mostly as a social media broadcasting tool anyway, it wouldn’t be much of a change for me. I would lose access to user profiles and updates, but I don’t pay attention to them anyway. And I’ve been liberal enough with who I confirm as a Facebook friend that I might as well have just been letting them become fans in the first place, because I don’t care to read most of the stuff that now shows up in my timeline from people I don’t even remotely know, usually selling or promoting something I have no interest in; with a Page I wouldn’t have access to those updates. It might even get me to use Facebook more, since I generally stay away at the moment to avoid the noisy environment I’ve created through indiscriminate friending.

So, I’m presented with this choice: to commit to using Facebook only as a broadcasting tool, though it will allow me to interact on my own content with people who choose to engage with it; or to commit to using Facebook as a more personal kind of space. I can’t see myself doing the latter, really. I have a blog and Twitter and that almost exhausts my engagement. But committing to the former feels like I’m saying to all of the people I’ve connected with on Facebook “Thanks! Now you’re just a number. I don’t care what you have to say about anything!”

I know that’s not really true, at least it’s not true that I feel that way about everyone on Facebook (and certainly not you. No, you’re wonderful.) I know that everyone I’d choose to interact with over Facebook, I probably already am doing so via their own blogs or on Twitter. But still, it feels more than a little like an ego move: “I’m very busy and important and, fine, you may be my fan, but I shan’t ever be your friend. Ta!” But I’m already not your friend (again, not you, I’m totally your friend), so what is the difference, in the end?

You might be able to tell that I’m leaning toward doing the profile-to-Page migration. It seems like such a great way to streamline my online life. And, well, I already have a super-not-so-secret Facebook profile, so if I really need to be connected with someone on Facebook I would still have a way to do that. I’m just not sure I need it.

If everyone decided all at once to stop blogging and tweeting and moved everything over to Facebook, I might regret the conversion. If I ended up taking a ton of crap for being so full of myself that I would only consider a fan Page and not a profile, I might regret the conversion. If it were the case that I’d been using the profile for ages, I might regret the conversion. Barring these possibles, though, I lean toward doing it.

And, doing this might force Emily to Facebook-marry my other account again. She’s married to Backpacking Dad at the moment and that just feels weird. Like, he and I might have to face off in a junkyard one day because he’s been going around straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa and ripping into oil tankers.

But, because I have a small kernel of good sense left, I’m going to leave this decision until after I’ve slept on it. And until after, hopefully, you’ve offered some input. Am I missing something in my calculations? Do you and I interact primarily via Facebook profiles now? What else should I consider? Is there a good argument for sticking with the Profile?