Maybe you're aware that Facebook has never allowed organizations to have their own Profiles on the site - only individuals could. Recently they added a feature they call Pages, which provides companies, bands, teams and other organizations (like schools, for example) to have their own presence outside of the Facebook Groups.
People who want to show their support or affinity can click the "Become a Fan" link on an organization's Page in Facebook. So if you're a fan of, say, the Los Angeles Times, you can visit their page and "become a fan." People looking at your Profile in Facebook can see what you are a fan of, and if they are interested they can click through from there and view the organization's Page as well (and maybe become fans themselves).
I was trying to get my brain around the differences and similarities between Pages and Groups, and between Pages and individuals' Profiles in Facebook. And there's the question of who, if anyone, should create and maintain an institutional Facebook Page for your school, and whether you want alumni to become fans of their alumni association. More about that in a future posting.
Meanwhile, I decided the best way to figure it out was to try it. I created a Facebook Page for the Alumni Futures blog. I encourage anyone interested in exploring Facebook's Pages function to take a look; the feed from this blog is posted there as well (using the RSS import feature of the Facebook Notes application*). I would like visitors to post their ideas for topics and ideas worth exploring on the blog. (And of course I'd love for them to become fans.)
The verdict is still out over whether Pages are actually useful, and of course there was a huge popular backlash against Facebook's collection of data via its Beacon system, which delivered info about purchasing habits of individuals using third-party commerce sites. But I'm not participating in Beacon, so you can be a fan of Alumni Futures without having to worry about Facebook stomping on your privacy (any more than they already might).
Here's a link to my Page, plus some others, to give you an idea:
University of Rochester Insitutional Page on Facebook
Villanova University Alumni Association Page on Facebook
By the way, Facebook has introduced Friend Lists, so you can separate your friends into categories - work, school, family, and so on. As Mashable points out, though, there's a missing piece of the puzzle. You guessed it: Privacy. In the words of Download Squad, you should be able to...
...control what information is available from your profile. For example - do you really want your co-workers seeing those drunken photos from the party you had last weekend? We thought so.
It's also important to realize that these groupings don't show up in your profile; it's just for your own management of (and communications with) your Facebook connections.
Other coverage of this new feature:
*[Updated December 24, 2007: I am now using the Simply RSS Facebook application to import postings from the blog. Thanks to Dylan Easley for the tip!]