There is a blog I recently started following called “Single Dad Laughing”, written by Dan Pearce. It’s a really fascinating, well-written, incredibly thoughtful blog by an individual who is unflinching in his honesty and self-awareness. It’s one of those blogs that makes you realize that blogging is actually worth it.
Yesterday, he published a post that asked his readers to “save” his blog. As you could imagine, the idea seemed ludicrous, since his blog has incredibly high impressions and readership (as a PR professional, I did the research for work).
It turns out that his S.O.S. wasn’t a fluke, and Facebook was to blame.
I won’t go into details (you could, and should, read it on his blog), but the one thing I will highlight is a YouTube video that maps out, in detail, how Facebook has altered its algorithms to bilk content creators out of impressions and try and force them into spending more in advertising.
Basically, Facebook purposely limits how many people will see your content on their news feed, no matter how many friends or likes you have. The only way to reach your maximum target is to pay to “promote” your post. If you have the money, you could easily flood someone’s News Feed with your posts, while other blogs and pages you follow are drowned out.
A perfect example is Single Dad Laughing and Buzzfeed, which the author also cites as a “blog killer”. Because of Buzzfeed’s numerous partnerships with corporations, it can afford to promote its posts on News Feeds of people that like it. I follow both BuzzFeed and Single Dad Laughing on Facebook. I always see BuzzFeed articles on my News Feed, sometimes even the same article multiple times throughout the day. Meanwhile, I didn’t start seeing SDL posts until I manually clicked the “Get Notifications” option on the blog’s Facebook page. I never had to do that with BuzzFeed, probably because they just have to “promote” their post to land all over people’s news feeds.
It’s funny; as I’m typing this out, I’m pretty sure I just described net neutrality, which, as BuzzFeed explained in an article, Facebook would benefit greatly from.
Another thing about the video that particularly stuck out to me was how it was explained that, with Facebook, the lines between viewer, content creator, and advertiser have been erased, creating a big mess. While, with Youtube, the lines are clearly defined, and everyone benefits equally. With Facebook, the only one winning is the one with the biggest pockets.
As a blogger myself, it definitely opened my eyes to how Facebook, which is supposed to amplify my outreach, actually limits it. If I were to “promote” one of these posts on Facebook by paying, I’m sure I would see significant pageview increases. Of course, I don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay to make my content visible on the news feeds of people I’m actually connected to. That’s just ridiculous. It’s one thing to “promote” on News Feeds of random people you’ve never met, but doing it with my own friends and family? There is something very icky and manipulative about that.
Of course I want as many people to read this and my other blog as possible, but I am not going to play Facebook’s dirty little game to do it. That will not work for me. Sorry Zuckerberg, but this is not how a “friend” acts.