The Perils of Public Facebook

Now that I’m done graduate school I can turn my writing efforts towards topics that don’t involve dead writers. Of course there is nothing wrong with dead writers, in fact I love them! For now, I’m directing this Monday evening post towards a blog post I noticed on the excellent Austalian blog Wine Women and Wordplay, who in turn reblogged it from the equally amazing blog of Kristen Lamb.

The chain of sharing – that’s what social media is all about, right? 🙂

Anyway, Facebook recently changed the way fan pages reach out to people on their news feed. Now, fan page owners will only reach out to a certain number of fan’s news feeds. Want to hit all of your fan’s news feeds? Well you’ll have to fork over hundreds of dollars to Facebook…per post. And these are for the poor smaller fan pages that don’t have millions of fans.

“But Matthew, fans can still go to a fan page to see all of the updates right?” Well yes, but let’s be honest…who actually does that? Everyday you login to Facebook it is inevitable that at least one of your friends have found some new fan page to like. Whether it be Jimi Hendrix or Subway, everyone is becoming a fan of something. Considering the rates in which our news feeds constantly feed us the latest and greatest insights into our friends’ personal lives, most of us don’t have time to go poking through all five-thousand things we’ve decided to become fans of. Clearly Facebook realized this, and now that they’ve gone public they are hitting the little guys were it hurts – the pocketbook.

Amusingly enough, some fan pages have decided to lampshade this unfortunate inability to connect to everyone. As the local fitness center I visit posted this morning: “Happy Monday! Too bad only 100 ish of our fans will reach this because of facebook wanting to charge to status now lol” Fortunately I was one of those lucky 100.

So why is Facebook doing this? Well now that the social networking site has gone public it now has shareholders. Facebook needs to appease their new shareholder friends, and the best way to do that is to find ways to make more money. If enough people complain and fight back against this change Facebook may change their mind. Unfortunately they only seem to be keen on doing that if there is a major privacy risk involved…for now.

As an aside, if you enjoy writing in the digital era, I highly recommend following Kristen Lamb’s blog. Her WANA (We Are Not Alone) project is a great example of how social media can be used for the powers of good.

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3 Comments

Filed under Social Media

3 responses to “The Perils of Public Facebook

  1. Thanks for the mention! I’ve always found FB’s system of only showing some updates to people mental, but I had assumed (foolishly, apparently) that ‘liking’ a page was sufficient indication to the gods of facecrack that you wanted to see its updates. They will shoot themselves in the foot with this nonsense, eventually. Make it too hard and people will go elsewhere. Myspace, anyone?

  2. I agree that Facebook’s getting a bit… um, dictatorial. But, I think that you’re over simplifying. A page (or a person’s) post distribution is based on that post’s EdgeRank, which is determined by a number of factors including what type of post it is (picture, link, status update, etc.) and how many connections the would be viewer and the poster have in common. Yes, you can buy your way around EdgeRank to guarantee that your fans will see your post, but you don’t have to. If your brand is really good, you can use Facebook to connect with your customers for free — it’s just that they keep upping how good you need to be to make it work.

  3. Matthew

    I agree that you could work your way around it, and the steps to do so have the added advantage of doing things to your fan page that you should be doing anyway. Yet this also creates two problems. First off, social networking is often a secondary or tertiary concern for most organizations. Facebook is forcing organizations to devote more time and energy into maintaining fan pages, time and energy that could be spent on the organization’s primary needs.

    Also, consider that not all fans are extroverted and want to engage on a fan page (which if I’m reading these articles on it correctly, might need to happen). Perhaps they just like to read the updates as they come. There’s about 5-6 fan pages I like to see updates for on Facebook, yet I’m not willing to devote the time to continually interact with all of them just for the privilege of continuing to see them on my news feed. And I’m sure 5-6 pages is on the lower end of the scale for most users.

    On the bright side, things like this may increase the demand for hiring social media specialists to do all this stuff for an organization. 🙂

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