Caring for Facebook Pages-
when is it work, and when isn‟t it?
Interaction Design Centre
University of Limerick, Ireland
Presentation at the „CSCW at the Boundary of Work and Life‟
collocated with the ECSCW‟13 conference, Cyprus, 21.09.2013
Digital media literacy
The role of Pages in the economy of
I have a long term history of involvement with social
media going back to 2002;
I observed the evolution of Facebook from a
yearbook to a sophisticated money making
I started “work” on Facebook early on almost
I started using social media in my teaching in 2004
at CNAM and never looked back;
I see social media becoming a requirement for the
kind of jobs my students are applying for.
Digital media literacy
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest - learning by
Young people are “naturals”;
“It‟s time for social media literacy to enter
mainstream education.Learning to use online
forums, be they social network services like
MySpace and Facebook, blogs, or wikis is not a
sexily contemporary add-on to the curriculum – it‟s
an essential part of the literacy today‟s youth
require for the world they inhabit.“
Personal profiles and Pages
Who is behind a Page?
A person with an individual profile can
create the Page and becomes automatically
He/she can appoint other Page
Managers, Content Creators, Moderators;
An organisation can create a Page without
going through an individual profile; in this
case, the activities allowed are mostly paid
Two more roles are available: Advertiser
and Insight Analyst.
The first academic study on Social Network Sites
(SNS): (boyd&Ellison, 2007);
Social capital implications, various communication
practices on Facebook (Ellison, Steinfield&
Use of SNS in the workplace (Archambault&Grudin)
Mobile devices and practices allow people to
integrate home and work (Barkhus&Polichar, 2011)
Work and non-work worlds are “made” by people
“in and through the ways they move, mobilize
people, objects, information and ideas”(Ciolfi et
Own diary on managing Facebook Pages
Reflecting on collaboration situations;
Survey – to get a broader perspective on
existing practices amongst Page Managers;
Pilot with a social media content manager in
an advertising agency;
21 respondents, most of them in Ireland –
none of them advertising professionals.
Shared authorship can create confusion and
Making decisions about what is appropriate and
what is not can be difficult for different managers.
The immediacy of posting leaves very little space
for making mistakes.
The timeliness of posting creates pressure and
Awareness of pending tasks is facilitated through
Facebook‟s functionality of flagging new content;
Communication and Coordination between
managers occurs mainly through “caring” for the
The survey targeted the practice of updating
(posting on) Facebook Pages;
Questions on the place, time and the type of
devices used when updating Pages.
Perception/attitude regarding this type of
When do people update Pages:
1/3 permanently on Facebook from a device
or another; another 1/3 spend 2-4h a day on
Page management happens during office
hours, during own time, during week-ends.
On holidays – only 45%!
How many Pages?
21 respondents: 70 Pages (from 1 to 9 each);
Alone or in collaboration?
only 25 Pages have a unique Page Manager.
From where? (Place, device)
Office, home, public places;
Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone.
Why maintaining a Page?
the creation and maintenance of the
FacebookPage(s) was their own initiative, either for
reaching out to customers for work or for engaging
with the public as part of volunteer organisations.
10 - for their current employer,
12 - for their own businesses,
14 - related to communities and charities they
7 - for their hobbies
one stated : “my dog has her own page, for fun also
When is it work, and when isn‟t it?
“Yes, updating a facebook page is work, each post has to be
carefully monitored to ensure that your company is being
represented in the way you want it to online.”
“Though it's a volunteer page, I consider the page as
"work", in the sense that I would take care to post accurate
information relating to the page's objectives, and respond to
all contact from interested parties.”
“Yes it's work, it has to be strategic, measured, set a
tone, promote things properly so not quite the same as
personal Facebook use.”
“Yes it is work, but not paid work. It's my own company +
additional charity effort so I set goals etc myself.”
Is Facebook as a medium sucking us
in, making us do work while we think we‟re
Different Pages serve different purposes –
permeation of work and private life;
We acquire skills at work that we then use
We acquire skills from our hobbies that we
get to use for work;
Manifestation of micro-work;
Amateurs vs professionals.
Looking deeper under the surface – maybe
an ethnography of a Page?!
The situatedness – a “work” Page? A hobby
or charity Page?
Studying the collaboration between Page
fans and managers;
Finding an appropriate method for studying
the intricacies of this type of work.