Facebook Fan Pages: Not User Friendly At All

This post isn’t about recovery.  I don’t like having to use this blog for non-recovery related things but I’m dealing with a situation that could make it difficult for people to find Recovery Book Press on Facebook.  That alone isn’t so bad but Facebook’s help on this is nowhere to be found. Maybe making my request public will stir them to action, maybe this post will be a lesson for anyone else setting up a Facebook fan page.

Facebook has a feature called a fan page, which is different from the kind of page that a person would have.  I won’t get into the differences, but a fan page is for promoting companies, businesses, products, etc.  When I built an online presence for Recovery Book Press I created this blog, a Myspace Page, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.  What I didn’t know is that Facebook’s process for creating a fan page wasn’t user friendly.  As I went through the process I made mistakes (because the instructions they give you are inadequate) and FaceBook is now telling me the mistakes can’t be fixed.

Personally I don’t believe that – I believe Facebook can fix the problems, they just don’t want to.  It would cost time and money (but if they made a better product from the start they wouldn’t have to go back and fix things later).  So what were my errors?

When you want to create a fan page you actually have to create two pages, a personal page and then the fan page.  It turns out that certain information (like the user name you want on each page) cannot be the same.  In my case I wanted the Fan page link to read:

www.Facebook.com/RecoveryBookPress

(By the way, if you click the link above you’ll get a Facebook error page.  I’ll explain why below.)

… so when I was asked what name I wanted my page to display I told it “RecoveryBookPress”.  Makes sense, right?  But they didn’t tell me I was creating a personal page, not the fan page.  And they didn’t explain that once RecoveryBookPress was in use it couldn’t be used by any other page – even if I’m the one creating it.  I created the personal page then Facebook wanted me to create the fan page. (“Huh? I thought I just did.”) So I created the fan page.

It gets even more confusing.  I still didn’t know what mistake I’d made because Facebook’s policy is that while personal pages can configure a user name immediately fan pages can’t do so until the page has 30 “likes”.  So while the personal page had the link I posted above the fan page’s link looked like this:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Recovery-Book-Press/223834964312776

What makes this even more irritating is that after a few months Facebook did seem to acknowledge that there was a problem with the way the fan pages were handled.  One day I logged in and there was a button to click on and text saying that clicking on the button would combine the two pages.  I tried that.  It seemed like it combined some things, but not everything.  In many ways I’ve still got two pages.

And then last weekend when I finally got 30 likes on the fan page I went to configure the user name and was told I couldn’t – because it was already in use.   So I went to the personal page and changed my username there, thinking maybe if I did it would free it up to be used on the fan page.  No such luck.  I waited 24 hours to see if maybe it just needed time to clear up in FaceBook’s system.  Nope.  According to FaceBook’s help section I will never be able to use RecoveryBookPress for the fan page on Facebook.

And now for the coup de grâce … if you have a Facebook page you can type “Recovery Book Press” in the search box where you search for friends … and Facebook will link you to our fan page.  They manage to make it as confusing as possible, still connect you to whom you’re looking for, but can’t give you the link you want.  Brilliant.

So the moral of the story is: if you need to set up a Facebook fan page someday be very careful when creating your personal account or you’ll end up blocking yourself from creating the page you intended.  If you find this whole mess as annoying as I do, or if you’ve found yourself in the same situation with no help from Facebook, please share this.

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