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How To Receive Notification for New Responses in Facebook Discussion Board

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Discussion board can be one of the most underrated applications in Facebook Fan Page. It is a mini forum for fans to interact with one another; an excellent area for admin to collect feedback, answer requests and bond with fans in discussions.

However, most of us have neglected its importance due to a huge setback - Facebook does not provide notification for new responses. Fans can either bookmark the thread to check back regularly or have the page admin to send weekly reminders for unanswered threads. Inconvenient and time consuming. Your fans will eventually lose interest and move on.


Why Don’t Just Let the Fans Post on Wall instead?


No doubt we are encouraging an open-posting fan page. However, allowing fans to post on Facebook Wall is a complete different issue than owning an active discussion board. Not only it’s an added value but also a perfect section for new fans to blend in with others. You can easily monitor and trace back the discussions without worrying they be swallowed by busy stream of updates.

While we earnestly hoping for a solution from Facebook, I’m going to share with you how I keep up with the discussion threads:




Google Reader to Track New Responses in Facebook Discussion Board


The main idea is to create a feed from the existing thread and have Google Reader track for new responses. Here are the configuration steps:

1.  Identify the link location for the particular thread you wish to trace.


2. Click ‘Add a Subscription’ to reveal the link box. Paste the URL, click ‘Add’ and a new feed for the thread will be generated.


3. Rename the feed and repeat step 1-2 for other discussion threads. Manage them in a folder for easy follow-up.


4. Once a fan has responded to the selected discussion topic (for example: Fan’s Profile), within an hour Google Reader will retrieve the update as any other regular feed from your subscription.

Now you can head right back to the discussion board and welcome her!


Is it Possible to Receive Updates via Email or Desktop Notifier?


Email notification is not possible for Google Reader. Some third party feed generator services, however, come with delivery options, for example  Page2RSS.com combines with notify.me (email alerts); Feed Notifier is a desktop application as you can see in the image below:



I do need to remind you that time of delivery may differ from one service to another. Google Reader is still by far, my top pick for reliability.


Bonus Tip :


For feed delivery services / notifiers that are unable to recognize / generate feed straight from a discussion thread, you can retrieve the Atom Feed URL for the entire folder which consists of all the discussion threads by following the below method:

1. In Google Reader, go to Manage Subscriptions.


2. Go to Folders & Tags (publicize the feed) > View Public Page.


3. Copy link location for Atom Feed and use it for any feed delivery service preferred. (Make sure the folder feed is ‘publicly viewable’ at all times for the application to work)


Now Is Your Turn …


Do you have a better way to track new responses in Facebook discussion board? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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