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Simon Berry

Hello Beth

You don't know me but you are famous in the circles in which I move here in the UK! I work with Paul Henderson. And worked with David Wilcox and others on this: Here is a note that I have just pasted on my facebook page . . .

Trying to get an organisational presence on Facebook
I thought I'd share my experiences of trying to get a presence for the ruralnet|uk organisation on Facebook with the objective of getting other people's views on the best way to proceed (and helping others who want to do a similar thing).

The crucial thing is that the presence created must be good, up to date and interesting. However, we don't have unlimited resources (as a charity) and so its maintenance has to fit in with everything else we do and mustn't be a separate process stuck on the side.

This means that a crucial element of the Facebook presence must be the ability to 'pull in' content from elsewhere using RSS.

What I've tried/thought about so far:

1) Setting up a group - I applied for a group a while back but it didn't get approved????

2) Setting up a 'business' using 'pages' see - a suggestion from Steve Bridger

The problem with (1) is that the approval process in my case (although others seem to manage OK) and the fact that I can't see a way of pulling content into a group from elsewhere.

Likewise with (2). I've been able to add the 'Post Items' application to the 'ruralnetuk business' but can't add the 'notes' application because I have already added it to my individual account.

So, I am now inclined to set ruralnet|uk up as a 'person' and add the 'Notes' application which would pull in an aggregated RSS feed from somewhere (I think Notes will only bring in one external feed).

Am I making sense here? I've just been picking John Howes' brains on this. Has anybody else got insights they could share?



Simon Pavitt

Hi Simon

good to bump into you again, if only online from Canada.

As has been said already, Facebook are keen on making sure all profiles belong to real, live people(*). I presume this is because they want to maximise what they charge advertisers, who would not want to pay to advertise to fictional characters.

Not tried setting up RSS feeds, but do have experience of setting up groups. I've not had any difficulty doing this and all have been created instantaneously without a vetting process occuring. Nor have I read about anybody else having a problem. So I'm wondering if something went wrong in the process and you should maybe try setting up a 'Friends of RuralNet' group again?

I'm working with Community Volunteer Connections (Coquitlam, Vancouver). We set up a Group page with the idea that if the member of staff doing the admin of the group leaves, ownership can be transferred. It means encouraging people to connect with the group rather than the individual (but something counter to how Facebook encourages users to operate).

It does mean that the Group can have Events. In this case it can publicise events that it's volunteers can be notified of and then opt in or out off, giving the organisation an idea of how many people will help out at a particular event.

Not sure it's what you'd be looking for, but there is also an 'I Volunteer' application that we played with. Using it would have required everybody to install it individually - the instructions on doing so became too cumbersome to expect people to bother doing it.

It would also mean that the volunteering opportunities would appear in one common 'pot' along with those from other organisations. This might have been fine for one-off large scale projects, but didn't look like it would work so well in a situation where you're working on a regular basis with a smaller number of people.

Bye for now

(*) Although, to be technical but a bit morbid, they do allow accounts of those recently deceased to remain online as a memorial.


Hi Simon, this is Simon, the creator of the "I Volunteer" facebook app. I guess you are not that familiar with Facebook. There is nothing you need to *install* into your computer . Adding the app is not cumbersome at all, like adding any other facebook apps, it just takes 2 clicks and the link will show up on the left navigation of your Facebook page. Please give it a try and let me know if there is anything I can do to make the app better.

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