Facebook Tip: Don’t Be Just a Number

One of Facebook‘s limits is that with more than 40 million users, and a million added each week, it’s sometimes hard to find a person searching just by name.

Facebook tip don't be just a number
For example, last night I met Adam Brown from Coca Cola (with whom I am participating as part of a panel today at the Arthur W. Page Society conference.) I went back to my room and wanted to “friend” him, but when I did the search by name for “Adam Brown” I got this result:

Name number facebook

I don’t know exactly how many Adam Browns Facebook has, but it’s more than 500. Finding him would be an arduous process if I had to click through, screen-by-screen, viewing a handful at a time. Fortunately I was able to use the search within other networks function to narrow it to the Coca Cola network and send him the invitation. (By the way, the Coca Cola network has 915 members.)

Then last night I got a friend invitation from Mari Smith, and after I had accepted I saw that she had added an application called Profile Web Address, which lets you create a more memorable URL so people can find you on Facebook.

Which is more memorable? This:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777087888

or this:

http://profile.to/leeaase

To ask is to answer, isn’t it?

This application isn’t that essential for someone like me because my name is unique enough. When you Google Lee Aase, you get my blog as the first result. When you search for Lee Aase in Facebook, you get four results (one of which is my Professional Contacts group.)

But the reason I added this application anyway is so someone else doesn’t take my name, so I would encourage everyone in Facebook to add this application and stake your claim. It would be great if profile.to would create a similar application for groups, too. That would enable organizations to create official groups within Facebook and not have them lost in less relevant results that may also use the organization’s name.

If you have a common name like the Browns and Smiths listed above, and if you have a Yahoo or Gmail account, you might want to use that as your Profile Web Address. That way, when you’re meeting people and they want to know how to connect with you, you could tell them, “I’m joesmith23@gmail.com or profile.to/joesmith23.”

When Facebook profiles become available in Google (which should be in a couple of weeks), it may make this tool less relevant. I may be able to search for “Adam Brown Coca Cola” and have his profile show up on top. But for now, I think this is a worthwhile application.

And this is why I typically accept friend requests from people who read my blog, because by seeing what they are doing and the applications they’re adding, I learn things I can apply myself. And I’m still about 4,900 behind Scoble.

For tips and background on using Facebook in business or in your non-profit or not-for-profit organization, click here or the Facebook Business tab above.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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