My recent posts at World-Architects

      

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Bother with Facebook?

On Tuesday I tooted my own horn, and today I vent some steam – Facebook steam.

If, like me, you have or administer a Facebook fan page, you probably know that the number of people who see your posts on their walls is at the mercy of Facebook's algorithms. In late 2013 Facebook implemented a change to the algorithm that determines what content appears on people's walls, greatly affecting fan pages. Cynically, it can be seen as a ploy to get more money through post-boosting (paying for more eyes to see the posts), but at the time it was said to be directed at getting more "news" on people's walls over "viral memes," which were seen by Facebook honchos as shallow and unappealing.

What the above tweaking did to my archidose fan page, which can't really be considered news and is hardly a page that sells anything and therefore can't afford to boost posts, was to make its "reach" (number of people seeing posts on their walls) plummet – from roughly 1,000-3,000 per post (or 10-30% of my ~10,000 fans) right before the tweak to about 100-300 per post after (1-3%). This screenshot of a post from summer 2014 illustrates just how small a reach is now taking place:


[Screenshot from my archidose fan page]

Now I'm aware that a whole industry exists to help companies take advantage of Facebook, keeping on top of the weekly tweaks that range from minor to, in the above case, pretty major. But I use Facebook as a way to let people know about a blog post or a book received, or sometimes to link to content on another site; it's more about sharing than profiting, even if clicks to my site notch up the ads being counted and chances of people buying books via the Amazon sidebar; we're talking pennies at a time – nothing for me to get upset about. I'm not going to pay for tips and tricks, and I'm not going to pay Facebook hundreds of dollars per post to get a thousand more eyes scrolling past my posts on their walls.

So basically I'm venting because the question posed in the title of this post is serious: Why bother with Facebook? What is the point of me manually posting to Facebook if only 1.6% of my fans see my posts on their walls? (1.6% is based on the 180 people reached in the Book Briefs #19 post and the 10,656 fans I have right now.) My emails sent to subscribers are automated, and I'm pretty sure a lot more people see my blog posts in their inbox than on Facebook (and they don't even have to click over the website to read the content, since it's all in the email – that's how much I don't care about traffic to my site).

So what do you think, should I bother with Facebook?

11 comments:

  1. It would appear obvious that Facebook made the change in order to force people like you to pay them in order for your followers to see what you post. I run a blog with several thousand Facebook likes and am in the same boat. My plan is to retire my Facebook page as Facebook is now little more than a pay to play platform.

    Sadly, with Twitter talking about implementing a filtered feed, something similar would appear to be in the works for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I stayed away from commenting on Twitter, even though the percentages of people seeing what I post there (typically the same as what I posted on Facebook a few seconds earlier) are probably the same, since at least that platform is more open and inclusive. I wasn't aware of their filtered feed, but it doesn't really surprise me.

      Delete
  2. another reason among many to start migrating away from facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Good question...my thoughts exactly. I'd wager that the norm is diversity of platforms rather than just this one or that one. That said, if all platforms performed like Facebook it would be too frustrating to bother with any of them.

      Delete
  4. I actually still relying on good old feed...to me it feels like architects don't really use facebook in order to maintain a level of professionalism and privacy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you read via feeds? What do you use? I used to use Google Reader and before that another news feed (gosh, I can't remember its name, but I really liked it). So I've yet to try anything else, and I don't want to clog up my email inbox, which is where most of my subscriptions are these days, with feeds.

      Delete
    2. John, I and a lot of people switched over to Feedly when Google Reader got shut down. It's a basically ok reader. There are other ones out there as well.

      Delete
    3. Thanks. And it's got David Pogue's endorsement! ; )

      Delete
  5. I subscribe to this blog via RSS. A while ago, probably around the time of the google reader closedown, some "tech sages" - you know they type, they are either boosting the name of a startup that is going to be "the next big thing" (which they may-or-may-not have a COI on), or shilling for the big players - declared that RSS was dead and that it could not work with the modern web.

    The reason is obvious - RSS is a direct connection between you, the content producer, and me, the content consumer. With RSS there is no parasite to try and take commission or strong arm you into paying them to have visibility.

    So as far as I am concerned your facebook dilemma is very simple. The more people that leave it (professionally and personally), the less power it has to control the future of the web - the future of *our* web, which they have no right to own, and no right to tell me or anyone else that something we use, find valuable, and enjoy should be eliminated if it is a commercial inconvenience or threat to them - something like RSS, for example - or the right to be anonymous (facebook VP said I should not be allowed to make this comment because I am anon)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I subscribe to this blog via RSS. A while ago, probably around the time of the google reader closedown, some "tech sages" - you know they type, they are either boosting the name of a startup that is going to be "the next big thing" (which they may-or-may-not have a COI on), or shilling for the big players - declared http://crayonboxlearning.blogspot.com/2015/01/mailchimp-newsletter-tab-for-facebook.html

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated for spam.