Why I Quit Private Facebook Groups


24 hours ago I was a member of approximately 20 private or secret Facebook groups. Some of the groups revolved around mom blogging, others were for Stumbleupon, others were regional and others weren’t particularly homogenous, we just happened to “know” each other.

I logged onto Facebook on my birthday and had the standard notes from friends, real friends, but I noticed that the folks in my groups were wishing Lady Gaga a happy birthday.

Because ya know, Lady Gaga is as real to them as I am.

I took a look at what those groups offered me as far as traffic, comments, social capital or inbound links and I realized there was a void. So I left. I left each and every Facebook group that’s not required as part of a job. I couldn’t even be offended because the folks in these groups aren’t my friends, they’re not even Facebook friends. We’re not obligated to one another in any manner. For the most part we don’t share common interests other than a career of relentless self promotion.

Secret groups of friends or family might work well on Facebook but I haven’t experienced one yet. Regional groups where you’re planning events together could make a lot of sense. Maybe planning a sports team or a party. I imagine that planning a wedding or a family reunion might be made much easier with a secret Facebook group but I found that by being a part of of them being a blogger was limiting.

Although there are great exchanges of knowledge and tips people probably wouldn’t share with the world there is also a lot of “support”. Support typically comes in the form of leaving comments on someone’s blog, submitting their site to StumbleUpon or thumbing up one of their posts. Support can also be tweeting their post or sharing it on Facebook. Support is awesome when the content is good and compelling and I love to share great posts with people but support has little value if you’re in the same tiny circles. People notice and people tune out.

What happened for me is that I felt compelled to read and share blogs that didn’t resonate with me. Sometimes I shared their posts but most often I did not. I wasn’t valuable to the group because it would take a very special writer to get me to share their brand sponsored post with you. When I did share posts from within these groups they didn’t resonate with you, my real community. Great writing discoveries don’t happen in small groups. Great writing discoveries happen when you cull the internet and read outside your own niche.

One of the many reasons I love Stumbleupon is the randomness of the sites that pop up. I love images and write ups of cars almost as much as I love discovering open source software or silk shirts. I assure you no closed group will provide this bounty of content. Facebook will provide diversity as well as twitter and google plus, but by sequestering myself in small groups I was wasting my most valuable non renewable resource, my time… and yours.

So I quit everything private and I’m back to diversity of content.

Facebook Comments


  1. Damn, I forgot to say happy bday, sorry Jessica – hope it was a good one! It’s probably because we weren’t in any secret groups together…lol.

  2. stephanierudat

    Some of these private
    Facebook groups are for security purposes which is an important factor
    that really needs to be acknowledged. I use them for many groups in the
    MidEast/SoAsia organizing an event of nonviolent resistance or even to
    discuss how policy can be changed. This is as close to a safe,
    democratic process they have. Further, I use them to stay in touch
    with members of workshops I lead. Being a member of them isn’t about us
    as individuals – it’s about the group. That’s what our personal page is

  3. Great article on many levels – I think the every day world would be surprised to know how many groups there are out there for sharing each others content.  Nothing in this world is really viral on it’s own.  Also how groups cannot truly flourish without customized content.  And the list goes on.  Great post!

  4. I’ve totally tuned out of the private groups I belong to.  I haven’t found one yet that is of great value to me… so I only stop by when I occasionally remember I’m a member.  Even then, it’s for shameless self promotion.  Perhaps I’m in the wrong groups… or perhaps it’s like high school, and I secretly hate any “exclusive” clique… but join anyway because i want to be loved.

  5. Teri Thompson

    Sounds like a healthy Facebook cleansing.  Keep life simple and meaningful
    I only use secret groups for my social media classes.  My students don’t want their “cool” images tarnished by receiving posts from their professor on their news feeds.  They buy in to the secret groups though.  

  6. Adriennevh

    I am only active in two private groups, the mom blogging one and one my dad created of just he and my sisters.  It is where we go to talk about other members of the family.  You know the “crazy” ones.

  7. Kimberly Zoot Holmes

    I have two private groups that work so well that I wonder how groups like us functioned before Facebook. But they’re exactly how you describe: LOCAL. One is a running group where we post where we’re running throughout the week, get details propose schedules etc. It’s PERFECT. And we don’t even have to be facebook friends, we all see the group. The other is along the same lines, its an extension of my boot camp so we can figure out where to meet on off weeks. So, in those cases? Perfect.

  8. I actively participate in fan based groups related to the games my company produces. One is private and one is public. We have frequent meaningful interaction and I find the groups extremely helpful in understanding that current climate of the customer base. However, I also have some profession based groups that have I haven’t checked since I joined. All I saw was shameless self promotion which was of little interest to me.

  9. Time constraints are why I keep culling more things from my daily life and routine. It is too hard to keep up with the important stuff let alone all that extraneous nonsense.

  10. They exhaust me – and I seem to be randomly added to them all the time.  Sometimes I can’t find the common thread.  Most of the time it’s the same people, different room.  I really don’t get how most of these people have that much time to devote to all these groups.  

  11. I completely agree. I’m down to 3 groups which I all like. 

  12. I agree (as I look on my facebook tab with countless notiications that I have not looked at in ages).. I have a few groups that I pay attention to, and others that out of respect for those that are heavily involved, I should leave. The ones that I feel the most connected to are the ones where the topic is very narrow. A cause we believe in, a site we all collaborate for. 

  13. I am in a bunch for empire avenue and some for fitness.  I do not like when someone randomly adds me to some group without asking or any form of notification.

    I did not know you had a birthday, did not see it on your page.  Are you an Aries also?

  14. Jessica — Iay orfay oneay illway issmay ouyay inay ouray ecretsay roupgay.  elatedBay appyHay irthdaybay!  

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