Facebook Groups vs Discord for Online Communities


Read the full episode transcript below:

00:28 David Blackmon: Welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast, my name is David Blackmon.

00:35 Tim Strifler: And i’m Tim Strifler

00:38  David Blackmon: Today in episode 741 we’re going to talk about Facebook groups versus Discord for online communities in 2022. All the platforms online, especially the social ones, they are trying to get market share they want you to come build your community on their platform. And we wanted to talk about two platforms and kind of compare them. And we wanted to go with probably the go to the og of you know community building, which was Facebook groups. Once upon a time probably not so much anymore versus the new up and comer but has been around for a very long time. But they’ve transitioned themselves into a community-based platform as opposed to a gaming platform, where gamers could just talk to each other and stuff. And we’re going to kind of dive into pros cons advantages disadvantages of both and go from there. So Tim’s going to start us off, he’s going to talk about Facebook groups and then i’m going to counter with Discord. Go Tim.

01:50 Tim Strifler: Yeah absolutely. So Facebook groups they’ve been around for a really long time in terms of like Facebook’s history, but i don’t think they really took off and got popular until like five to seven years ago. Um and i could be totally wrong, but um that’s kind of at least when i saw them getting popular and people talking about him and a lot more groups being formed and stuff. And so there’s Facebook groups for anything whether it’s a like a localized thing, so for your local area so there’s like you know for every city there’s probably a facebook group right right um

02:31  David Blackmon: Your neighborhood

02:32 Tim Strifler: Your neighborhood, yeah exactly. And then there’s international groups for things like web design and like right now i have in front of me the divi theme users facebook group with 72 000 members, you know from all around the world. And those are people that are using the divi theme for WordPress and want to come in and ask for help and you know. Uh get help and i’m one of the moderators in this group and the rules are pretty strict. You’re not allowed to do any self-promotion or ask questions about hosting stuff like that. But different groups have different rules and stuff. Now the benefit to Facebook groups for an online community is that a lot of users are already on Facebook. There’s no software to download uh most people already have the apps um and they’re already there, they’re already logging on you know semi-regularly or very regularly. And so it can be a great way to facilitate uh community and um you know people answering questions and talking and making posts and stuff like that, but one of the major downsides is that some people they don’t want Facebook. They don’t want Facebook because Facebook has some unethical or arguably some unethical uh tracking and privacy uh policies, and you know they’ve gotten a lot of flack for it. And they don’t want Facebook tracking them, but they just don’t want a Facebook account. And so if you have your online community only on Facebook well then people that are against Facebook will just not be able to participate. And so Facebook is a lot more i would say like loaded in that aspect is you know people either love it or hate it type of thing. So that’s one of the major drawbacks. Another drawback is like the just the way the Facebook newsfeed algorithm works. Is it’s all based off of activity, right? So if you’re on Facebook and you have a group that you’re constantly active in and you’re responding and reading and clicking and stuff like that, well then facebook is going to continue to show you posts from that group, right? And that makes sense. However if there’s a group that maybe you you know for a couple weeks you you don’t really have any regular activity in but you still want to see posts, well all of a sudden now you’re not seeing posts in that group anymore. And so i’m in like dozens and dozens of groups. Some that i don’t really need to be in anymore but it’s like you forget that you join the group and so i don’t see posts from certain groups, that maybe i would want to or maybe i wouldn’t want to but i want to leave them. Just so i don’t i don’t you know have to be attached to them anymore and so that’s the downside to groups is stuff gets lost. And so because of the way the algorithm is, unless i go and specifically go into certain groups i won’t see anything from those groups. Um and so that’s one of the in my opinion one of the major drawbacks is. Unless you’re very very consistently um engaging with content from the groups you won’t see content from the group. If that makes sense so that’s kind of my spiel with Facebook groups. Overall i do like it um but i think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement on Facebook’s end, but they move very slowly and sometimes things randomly break. So uh yeah it’s it’s Facebook they’re a very large corporation and um they don’t make changes quickly and sometimes they make changes that are worse and then they get corrected months later so yeah..

06:00  David Blackmon: And i want to add to a couple of things about Facebook groups before i dive off into Discord, because you know Tim and i both have a lot of experience with Facebook groups. It’s where we met in a Facebook group many years ago, and um i want to say another downside to Facebook is reaching the end user outside of Facebook and that’s huge and important especially if you start a a group that is specifically for a business. For example your business and you want to market to those people but you don’t want to constantly spam you know marketing material in the Facebook group because you want to you want it to be holistic and organic, and let people communicate and ask questions and kind of let it flow free. Well facebook doesn’t really allow you to grab user acquisition and stuff. And you know to where you can it makes it really difficult. You need to specifically try to get people to hey come over here sign up for my email list which is a totally separate thing as opposed to combining it all into one and giving you that ability and stuff. And that’s a downside in my opinion and stuff  to the Facebook groups. Now like Tim, I like them they’re great you know for engagement. All your buddies are there, we’ve been on Facebook for forever and truthfully we’re an older generation. Not Tim, he’s just an old soul and a young body you know… Most of his generation is under on the Tik Tok and stuff like that and Instagram and um but Tim’s you know, he’s hanging in the Facebook groups as well. Um let’s talk a little bit about Discord. You know, and before i dive off into Discord i want to talk about online communities. They’re huge they’re very important especially if you’re a business owner and you want to in connect with your audience, engage with them and keep them engaged with you. As a business long term because you may want to they may want to buy more things from you in the future as opposed to just a one-off purchase and stuff. So having an online community where they can feel like they’re a part of and they can come in and contribute and they feel connected, is really really important. Especially depending on the type of business you have. If you have that type of business content creation. For example that’s huge you need a place where you can build a solid online community. Well Discord in my opinion is phenomenal for that for a lot of reasons. Now i’ve used Discord for years and it was back in the gaming days and stuff. And this was one of the ways that you could originally connect and communicate…. oh my goodness, look what we got here. We have a little visitor.

09:04 Tim Strifler: We’ve got a special guest, he’s learned how to open up my office door.

09:10  David Blackmon: He should, hey all right. Man that’s mini Tim..

09:15 Tim Strifler: Hey can you say, can you say David?  

09:22  David Blackmon: Oh that’s perfect! You said it perfect! Um yeah, so oh he’s ready to talk now, that’s okay. He might add some good good comments to the podcast. Yeah i know that’s totally okay uh but this is a real, this is real life. Here so we kids grandkids anything you never know what’s gonna happen on WP The Podcast. Um so you know building those online communities is really really important and having control over it being sovereign in your as much as you can in the online world is really really important. Well platforms like Facebook groups and stuff make it really difficult for you to have sovereignty which means basically you control your stuff, and when you’re a business owner you want to be able to control that atmosphere not like you want to control the the people in it. Because you want them to be free, and you want them to feel free. But you want to be able to serve them as best as you can serve them, and the platforms like Facebook and stuff may not allow you to do that because they have restrictions, and they have guidelines. And they have things that you don’t own the platform, they own it. So you can’t customize it. Well, Discord’s a little bit different and beneficial in my opinion because first of all you’re visually, verbally and textually engaging your community which you can go live in a Facebook group, but it’s very different than a Discord channel. You’re communicating voice which is our normal way of communication. For human beings is to talk to each other. So if we’re engaging that’s Discord’s number one way. So what it was built on is voice you know and that is as a human that’s our number one most natural way to communicate with other humans. So being able to hear Tim’s voice, and Tim being able to hear my voice and us be able to discuss something is huge. Discord allows you to do that. It’s always allowed you to do that, but it’s developed to the point where you can customize it. You can set up your own environment, the way you want it. There is free versions which allow you to set up your environment have some ability to control some of the aspects of it but not all of it. There’s a paid version, which i actually like the aspect of having the paid version, because then it allows me to completely customize it the way that i want it and it makes it mine. Even though it’s Discord. It’s the same thing as purchasing software. I’m purchasing software and i can set up my own servers the way that i want to have them set up Now Discord for example with building an online community when someone drops into your Discord versus Facebook. For example Facebook will ask you to give you some security questions, will you follow our rules and stuff. Discord you do the same thing but it’s you know you can have welcome messages, you can have you know there are a lot of bots that are integrate with Discord that allow you to automate a lot of tasks in Discord . Which i don’t think Facebook does. And um, if they do i’m not aware of it. I mean, i know they have the messenger bots but we’re specifically talking about Facebook groups. But yeah on Discord you can programmatically set up all kinds of channels and informational things to where people know, where to go that separate from that doesn’t get buried in the group. That doesn’t you have to be pinned at the top. That doesn’t have to go to like three three other tabs deep that you may not even know that they there are tabs, and they exist. Or anything it’s all front and center. Right in front of your face and stuff. So uh one of the things that i like about it, is you can create video and voice channels as well. People can sit in a general voice channel and a very specific channel, let’s say a WordPress channel, and you can talk about WordPress all day long with people as opposed to typing. You can be on a headset, you say hey i’m kind of stuck with this one thing, anybody out there that can help me? Boom yep i’m here go into your other little private channel right then and there. And the same thing and it’s just it’s it’s as they would say back in the 50s it’s the bee’s knees it’s pretty cool, it’s very powerful. You can get really really granular on all the things that you can do. So check out discord for online communities. It’s amazing, and you can customize it. You can totally have your own bio, do your own thing just like a facebook profile I guess. Um but you know, you’re limited in the Facebook group. Aspect they’re not going to show everything whereas Discord, your profile is when when people click on your profile they’re gonna see all of your stuff.  So check out Discord for online communities. I like it better than Facebook groups and hopefully Tim and i are gonna be starting, the i don’t know some kind of WordPress Discord community at some point, and chat with everybody. So yeah, anything else Tim?

15:05 Tim Strifler: No uh that’s it. I have zero experience with Discord but i’m excited to dive into it because yeah i like everything you said.

15:10  David Blackmon: All right. Tomorrow we’ve got another great topic, how WordPress stores content and why it’s important for you to know how WordPress stores content. Tim, until tomorrow we’ll see you then.

15:27 Tim Strifler: Take care, bye.

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