There has been quite a lot of discussion around the recent announcement that Facebook will no longer allow pharma to disable comments on their Facebook pages. I have mixed feelings about this – but that’s for another post. What this change in Facebook did make me wonder about was how well pharma Facebook pages without comments enabled have been doing.
I dug up an old post on whydotpharma (http://bit.ly/NpXkv) where there was a mention of the ADHD Moms Facebook page (sponsored by JNJ’s McNeil). The post written in February 2009 makes reference to the page having nearly 8,000 “Likes”. Two years later this page, still with comments disabled, has risen to 22,079 “Likes”. One of the arguments for enabling Facebook comments is that without this functionality the Facebook page will not be able to develop the community and will therefore not be as successful as it could be. However I would argue that a growth of 275% over two years indicates that this is a successful Facebook page!
The title of the page, ADHD Moms, would indicate it is a community page and yet there is no real community functionality. What is it that makes people “Like” this page then? There is an element of community in the “Moments” tab where people are able to leave comments – but this is not being done on the wall as is usual (and where it would be more visible). The page does have some good resources such as useful links and podcasts and content is provided by “Leaders” which are a JNJ paid medic and some “ADHD moms”. All in all not bad – but more like a website than a Facebook page. So why not just set up a website – why set it up on Facebook?
The answer is of course that Facebook has become one of the key “go-to” places on the internet and McNeil was simply following the old adage of “fishing where the fish are”. People are searching Facebook for health information therefore McNeil simply set up a resource for ADHD Moms where they are present.
What will happen to this page in August once comments will have to be enabled? I hope McNeil does the brave thing and go ahead with the page with comments enabled. This is after all not a product site but a site for mothers to come together as a community around a disease their children suffer from. Enabling comments seems like the right thing to do.