Facebook, Profiles, Pages and Groups. What’s the difference?


It came up in conversation again today about the different ways you can use Facebook – profiles, pages, open groups, closed groups – and how confusing it can be to the casual user.

There is a lot of choices and not always a plain English way of describing what each of them are – or why one might me better that the other, so I’m going to give it a go here.


Profiles are people – end of.  Profiles make friends with other profiles. Just like real life – you make friends with people – not places, businesses or brands. Friends can interact publicly and privately, and just like in “real life” this interaction can be initiated by either person.

Once you’ve made friends with someone, depending on your privacy settings, you will have mutual access to each others personal profile information, status updates and photos.  – This is one of the reasons I refuse to make friends with brand or businesses who have profiles. I don’t know for sure WHO has access to it – or if I do know – who will have access to it in the future I don’t want strangers accessing photos of my son. Businesses should have pages.

But just like all rules there is an exception, mine is my hairdresser – I have a relationship with the person that cuts my hair and she is a business.


Pages are set up by people – and they represent groups, businesses charities, community groups etc. They are run by people. People with profiles can “like” pages – which essentially means they are interested enough to follow the updates on your page.

Unlike making friends. This is not a mutual connection – Profiles can view a pages information, photos, status etc but pages can not view profiles. Pages updates will go into their fans news feeds. Their fans updates do not appear in a pages news feed.

Pages can add other pages to their favourites and receive updates from other pages – but again this is not a mutual connection.

Pages can receive private messages, and they can respond to private messages, but they cannot start a private conversation with anyone – contact with a page needs to be initiated by a person (profile).

When a page owner posts to their wall the content appears as the page in date order with the latest post at the top and this is pushed out to fans news feed.  All page owners content is given priority over all content created by fans – all posts to the page by anyone other than the admin stays on the page in a section called “Visitors Posts” – and is not pushed out to other fans news feeds unless the page owner share it.


I know some people get iffy about running pages with their personal account but in my honest opinion they shouldn’t, for starters there is no link to you from the page unless you choose to put it there. and secondly running a page form your personal account makes life so much easier

I manage several facebook pages from my personal profile and unless you know me, and I choose to tell you, you’ll never know which ones. Unlike groups where you always post as yourself – the default is to post as the page, so there’s little chance for mispost mishaps.


People with profiles can create and join groups – Groups can be for anything – they are a way of bringing people together with shared interests.  There are several types of groups  and I like to use  a pub analogy to try and explain them:

  • Public A public group is like a pub on a high street with it’s windows and doors wide open. Any one can wander by and hear the conversation, Anyone can enter or be invited in to join in and you can come and go as you please.
  • Closed A closed group is like standing outside a pub with locked windows and doors – you can see who’s inside but you can’t hear what they are talking about, you can’t join in and you have no idea if its the sort of place you’d want to go – you just have to knock until you are invited in and then decide….If you leave, you have to ask to be given access again.
  • Secret A secret group is like a private party in  a pub you don’t even know exists until someone invites you along.

Whenever something is added to a group it appears at the top of the group feed, if someone comments on something older this is then bumped back to the top so the order of posts is constantly changing giving prominence to the most recent thing posted or commented on. Unless something is “pinned” by an admin to stick to the top for awhile – anyone’s posts could be pinned.

Unlike pages, when a group admin posts to a group that content is adding as themselves.

All posts to groups don’t automatically appear in you news feed the way you receive group notifications can be set per group and deserves a blog post all of it’s own!

So that’s it, my plain English attempt at explaining the different ways to use facebook.

Adding Twitter Widgets to Surgery Pages using Twitter Widget ID

Over the last couple of months regular surgery managers may have see a few tweaks to their dashboards on SMS+ as we’ve been working to iron out some of the kinks in the system. One of them being the way we display tweets.

Twitter regularly updates its API to allow or disallow various software from using it. Unfortunately the way we had been pulling in twitter searches has now been stopped so we’ve had to implement an alternative using twitters native search widgets. This means that it will no longer be as easy as just entering the hashtag you want to use, but hopefully the steps below will  guide you through adding a twitter widget to your surgery page.

New Surgery managers you can just follow these instructions to add the widget during set up.

Existing Surgery Managers, Log in to the SMS+ website and view your dashboard.

Social Media Surgery Plus Dashboard SMS+


Find the surgery you want to add the twitter search to and click Edit Surgery.

Scroll down to the bottom of the form and find the section that says “Twitter setup” and open the link to the Twitter Widgets Page in a new tab.

add twitter widget

If you need to log into your twitter account do so and then click the button to “Create New”Create New Twitter Widget

Here you want to select the Search tab, to create a search widget.Editing Widget Settings

Add the surgery hashtag; the convention being #placenameSMS (or place name abbreviation) – so for Wolverhampton we’ll use #WolvesSMS, and click Create Widget. You don’t need to worry about changing any of the other settings.

Your widget will now be created and a preview will be visible showing any tweets that already contain you hashtag.

If you are not seeing the preview if you are running an overzealous adblock extension, switch it off. You will not see the preview here, or the widget installed on SMS+ if adblock is enabled.

Now you need to copy your Widget ID. Your Widget ID is the long number that forms part of the URL on the widget page.

Twitter Widget ID number.


Once you have this number return to your SMS+ Dashboard and complete the Twitter Set up.

Put your hashtag in minus the hash so in this instance WolvesSMS, not #WolvesSMS , and paste your Widget ID into their respective fields.

Create Twitter Widgets SMS+Once complete scroll down and click “Update Surgery”.

Your twitter search widget will now appear on your surgery page.

Twitter on Surgery Page.


Bonus tip – If you are adding Twitter Widgets to wordpress blogs and other services requiring a Twitter Widget ID. Bookmark the Twitter Widgets page and then it’s the same process as above to create and identify your Twitter Widget ID. It doesn’t matter what type of stream you want, individual tweets, searches, favourites etc. Just make sure you select the correct tab from the Create Widget page to begin and your ID number will be in the URL.

Twitter Widget Types