Facebook Messenger Room graphic

Should I Start a Facebook Messenger Room, or a Group?

NOTE: Facebook Messenger Rooms appear to have been deprecated in July 2017. My Room is still there, but we can no longer create new ones. Stay tuned!

Several people have asked me what the difference is between a Facebook Messenger Room and a Facebook Group, if both are for sharing thoughts and questions with like-minded people. While both features of Facebook can be used for similar purposes, the main difference is in the delivery of the messages.

What is a Facebook Messenger Room?

At it’s core, a Facebook Messenger Room is a group chat on Facebook Messenger. Have you ever had a conversation in Messenger between more than two people? Perhaps you’ve been added to a group chat on Messenger for a friend’s party, or as a colleague promotes an event. As people comment on the group chat you’re phone lets you know there’s a new message. You’ll also like get one of those floating “heads” (like a bubble) on your phone screen to let you know there’s a message in the conversation that you have not yet read.

Messenger Rooms function in mostly the same ways as a group chat except that the Room is publicly discoverable. Anyone can find out about your Messenger Room and join it without being friends with you on Facebook. Here are some great ideas on how to use a Facebook Messenger Room.

Messenger Rooms are located within the Facebook Messenger app, not on the main Facebook platform. Messages will only appear in Messenger, not in your Facebook news feed.

As people chat within the Room, previous messages will get buried by the new message. It can get confusing if you have multiple topic conversations happening at the same time as replies are not attached to the original question or post. If you ever participated in old-school internet chat rooms like ICQ, this will feel quite similar.

What is a Facebook Group?

A Facebook Group is similar to a Facebook Page you might follow for a business, however, any member of the group can post on the page. Groups are generally focused on specific topic areas like entrepreneurship, social media, wellness, or your local ratepayers association. People have to join the Group and posts from the group will appear in your main Facebook news feed, interspersed with all of the other posts from friends and Pages.

Posts to a Group will be buried by newer posts, but will get bumped back up to the top of the Group as people comment on them. So, you could have very new posts and very old posts side by side in a Group. When someone posts something, if you comment on the post, your comment is threaded underneath the post so people will know you are replying to the post.

Groups are a great way to compile answers to questions or get feedback on ideas since all of the responses will be kept with the original post. Click here to get some great ideas for improving engagement in your Facebook Group.

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How are Facebook Messenger Rooms and Groups Different?

 Facebook Messenger RoomsFacebook Groups
Who can create one?Facebook Messenger users in Canada & Australia (as of publication date)Anyone with a Facebook account.
How are members notified of posts?Every message to the Room will pop up on a members mobile device as a new message.Members may set up notifications for group posts, but the default is to not get notifications (red flags).
Who can join?* People you are connected to in Messenger can add/invite you to the Room.
* Facebook will suggest Rooms to you.
* You can be invited to join via a link.
* Friends can add you without your permission.
* Facebook will suggest public groups to you.
* You can be invited to join via a link.
Can you control who joins?Yes. Rooms can either be open (anyone can join), or moderated (an admin has to accept your request to join).Yes.
Can you ban people?No. You can remove a member but they can request to join again.Yes
Can you remove yourselfYes. Look for "Leave Group" in the info window.Yes. Look for "Leave Group" at the top of the Group Page.
Can you see it on mobile?Yes. The Room will be part of your Facebook Messenger app list of conversations.Yes. You can access posts in your news feed and via the Facebook Groups app.
Can you see it on desktop?Yes, in the Messenger for Desktop window (Click on your Messenger icon at the top of your screen).Yes. Posts will appear in the news feed or you can visit the Group Page to see all conversations.
How are comments organized?Each comment is an individual post. They appear in the order in which they are sent to the Room.Posts are listed on the Group Page in reverse chronological order by the most recent comment. A really popular post with many comments could appear at the top while a new post would appear further down the list.
Are conversations threaded?No. Yes. All comments on a particular post are kept with the original post.
Can admins approve content before it is posted?NoYes, it is a choice in the settings.
Can admins remove inappropriate content?No. Deleting a photo only deletes it from the view of the person doing the deleting, Each individual member must delete inappropriate content.Yes. Once deleted it will disappear from the Group Page completely.
Can you have multiple admins?YesYes

As you can see, Messenger Rooms and Groups are similar in many ways, but function quite differently. A Messenger Room can get quite overwhelming when there is a lot of conversation happening. A Group might gt buried by the Facebook algorithm and you could forget it’s there. How you use these two methods of communicating with your followers is up to you. It appears the main thing you need to consider when choosing are:

  1. Do you need conversations to be threaded and kept together? If this is a learning environment you are trying to create, you likely do.
  2.  Are you concerned about people posting inappropriate content that cannot be deleted quickly? If so, the Group is probably a safer bet. Click here to read more about managing a Facebook Messenger Room.
  3. Do you need to get the word out in a timely manner? A Messenger Room is probably going to get noticed quicker and more often than a post in a Facebook Group.

What do you think? Can you see a place in your social media marketing strategy for either of these communication tools?

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