Facebook is Killing Bloggers (And Making Money Doing It)

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.

– B


Ego Article: Forbes’s 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get

So yesterday at work, I stumbled upon this article on Forbes.com that kind of blew my mind a bit.

It’s called 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get, and it’s basically some advice for those entering the real world for the first time (like me).

I have to admit, I am guilty of quite a few of these. Here they are:

We’re More Productive in the Morning – During my first 2 years at Docstoc (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis.  I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone.  But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours.  Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.

Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both.  Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue.  It’s not an end in itself.  I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.

Be the First In & Last to Leave ­– I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career.  You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove.  There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.

Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility.  You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do.  Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure.  Err on the side of doing too much, not too little.

Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big.  Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment).  Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential.  You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income.  No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life.  It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.

Okay, more than a few actually. However, it’s much better to know so you can make the changes necessary.

Basically, if you are within the age range of 20 to 29 (basically all of my Facebook friends), PLEASE read this article!

– B