Facebook today announced the rollout of a new feature for groups on its social network: mentorship. Now, users will be able to find mentors and mentees in Facebook groups in which they participate, so that they can learn more about the topic of the group.
The feature was initially announced late last year at the Social Good Forum, as part of a series of measures to make it easier for people to help each other. With the new feature rolling out today, group administrators can choose to start a mentorship program for which members can sign up. There are some template programs, such as those for career advancement, skill development, or simply for encouragement and support.
From there, users can sign up to be either mentors or mentees, and they'll be automatically paired, so they can go through the steps of the mentorship program together. The pairs are encouraged to check in with each other weekly.Communication between the members of a pair is completely private and only the participants can view it. Additionally, all the regular reporting and blocking tools are available as well, should anything go wrong, and only people over the age of 18 can sign up for the programs.
Facebook says that more than 200 million people on its platform are members of groups they consider meaningful, and hopes that this program makes it easier to share and receive knowledge regarding important topics in their lives. The company piloted the feature with members of some groups in the past, and it's now available for "people within select groups focused on parenting, professional and personal development".
This is the second time in recent months that Facebook brings a major new feature to groups on its social network. A couple of months ago, paid subscriptions were introduced as well, as a means to make managing groups more financially sustainable. Whether or not these measures actually increase community engagement remains to be seen.