Monday, July 14, 2014

Social Media Monday—This Author is Waving Goodbye to Facebook

by Edie Melson  @EdieMelson

No, I don’t think Facebook is going anywhere—yet.

But I am.

I’m tired of wasting time and energy with this clunky and frustrating social network. Facebook has become it’s own worst enemy, working at cross purposes and driving away users.

The Downward Spiral
When Facebook started, it was a way to stay connected with the people and things we were interested in. I had my list of friends and I had control over what I saw in my newsfeed.

Back then, everything my friends posted on Facebook showed up on my newsfeed, in an orderly, relevant fashion. If someone posted something I didn’t care to see I had a choice of how to deal with it.
  • I could do nothing and ignore the post.
  • I could hide that particular post.
  • I could hide that particular friend.
  • I could unfriend that person.

The control rested with me.

The same was true with the businesses I followed. If I wanted to follow a business or  a professional page, the posts from that also showed up. If the page irritated me, I had the same options.

I didn’t matter whether I interacted with the person or the page, what they posted showed up. That worked good for me, because I don’t interact with everyone or everything I find valuable on Facebook.

But this, in my humble opinion, is where Facebook began its downward slide into self-destruction. They began to judge the value of things by what posts I interacted with. There’s so much wrong with that simple premise it’s hard to know where to start.

Here’s what I mean. I like to keep up with a lot of hard-core marketing pages. I read to stay abreast with what’s going on in the field of social media. It’s a good foundation from which to give advice to writers—but most of these types of FB updates wouldn’t be something my friends and followers find valuable, so I don’t interact with those posts much.

For instance, I follow Social Media Examiner. But they’re a site I don’t interact with much. The other day I realized I hadn’t seen much from them in my FB feed. I searched for their page and they were still there. But because FB judged my interest by my interaction, they never showed up in my feed. I visited their page, clicked on the arrow beside the LIKED tab and clicked on NOTIFICATIONS. Today that means that all their updates should show up in my newsfeed.

But what about the new option to Boost a post—isn’t that valuable?

Um…not so much.

First let me explain something about the Facebook Edgerank. This is the algorithm that determines what shows up in your FB newsfeed. One of the elements that determines how many people see a post on FB, is how popular the post is. The more people who Like it, Share it and Comment on it, the larger number people get to see it.

Boosting a post isn’t a way to get around this. Yes, you can pay to boost a post and reach a lot of people, but that boost doesn’t give you a leg up on the next thing you post. You start over at zero and the algorithm again determines who sees the post. To repeat the reach of your boosted post, you must pay again to boost the post.

Bottom Line
Let’s compare this new paradigm of Facebook with other social media networks. Here’s what happens when I post something on FB versus Twitter and Google+. I think the numbers speak for themselves. 
  • Facebook: the last 7 posts I put on my FB page garnered me an average of 46 views. That’s out of 500+ Likes on that page. I had a net gain of 5 new Likes
  • Twitter: the last 7 posts I shared on Twitter went out to all 13,000+ Twitter followers, as well as anyone who searched for the hashtags I had within those posts. I had a net gain of 56 new followers
  • Google+: the last 7 posts I shared on my Google+ page went out to all of 748 followers and all those who searched for the hashtags I had within those posts. I had a net gain of 26 new followers.

Once upon a time I recommended authors have a professional page, to reach readers. Now, an author page has become a liability. For the vast majority, it’s nothing but a black hole of time-sucking frustration.

Some of you still have success with your Facebook page. But almost 100 percent of those were already flourishing communities before the Edgerank Algorithm was instituted. For those of you with FB success, don’t change or jump ship. Stick with what’s working.

I still intend to keep my personal profile active on Facebook. I’m using it as a professional page and it’s working fairly well. It’s clunky, but doable. Here’s a post on how to do what I’ve done by Adding a Follow Button to Your Facebook Personal Profile.

For the rest of us, here’s my recommendation, cut your losses and run. Invest in what works, don’t try to squeeze success from a dried-up network.

Now it’s your turn. Share your thoughts, questions and frustrations with Facebook in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,

Edie

TWEETABLES

40 comments:

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I'm still active on my personal profile, but I'm not investing as much time on my page. Facebook is huge and I think they've let that "go to their heads" so to speak. In addition, with them being a stock company, it's all about profit and making the investors happy. It's no longer a "service." to people. I need to become more active on Google + and learn the ins and outs.

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    1. Joan, even my personal profile - where I'm still active - is a chore. Look for some upcoming posts about Google+. Blessings, E

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    2. Google+, yes! Please help us with Google+. After I'd started my blog with Blogger, Google+ just showed up one day. I inadvertently almost bridged my blog over to Google+ without knowing what I was doing. I felt like it was yet ANOTHER deep, deep well of social media information to go through that I don't have time for. I'll look forward to upcoming posts about Google+. And thanks in advance!

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  2. Edie, I cheered when I read your post! I use my personal Facebook profile to connect with friends, but as a marketing tool its gotten worse and worse. I'm so glad to hear someone else has left the Facebook bandwagon. :)

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    1. Misty, I'm glad I brightened your day! Blessings, E

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  3. I'd love to hear what you thing about Hootsuite, and the other like vehicles for posting to multiple social media.

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    1. Patricia, Hootsuite is my social media foundation. I recommend it highly as way to organize your networking life! Blessings, E

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  4. I loved this post. I totally agree with your comments about Facebook and recently have realized the same things. My personal page only interacts with the same few people although my friend list is growing. On my professional page the growth is slow in spite of adding contacts. It is good to know there are others thinking the same way. Now, what is the best solution to build my platform?

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    1. Elaine, the best solution is to find the social media platform that works best for you and invest the most time there. For me, that's Twitter (I find very few, less than 1%) that don't benefit greatly from using Twitter. I also highly recommend Google+. We'll be exploring this topic deeper in coming weeks. Blessings, E

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  5. I have teetered on the edge of jumping ship many times. So to see your post is refreshing. It seems like my influence on FB has gone down. My reach, down. I don't feel I am gaining as much as I am losing (and that is mostly my privacy). I don't pay to boost posts - I refuse. I have struggled with this marketing paradigm for quite awhile, thinking that God is bigger than this. He can open doors for my writing and speaking--it's called sovereignty. It's called His plan for me. Thanks for your honesty, Edie.

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    1. Jeanne, thanks for weighing in here! Place your social media energy elsewhere and cut back on the stress in your life! Blessings, E

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  6. I joined FB on the late side, after feeling a professional push to get my name out there. I have both a personal page and "author" page. At first, I thought my not-taking-this-seriously attitude had backfired on me--I've always been hit-or-miss with it. Just don't have a lot of time to hang out there. Lately, though, I've been seeing a significant negative change, as you've pointed out. I'll probably continue to drop by for a few minutes here or there during my week, but that's about it. At least I know it's just not me.

    Thanks for this post!

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    1. Elaine, ignore your FB professional page and pour any FB effort into using your personal page like I do. Blessings, E

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  7. Interesting post! I've heard others say the same thing and I do get aggravated with the constant changes at Facebook. I'm glad to see you'll be doing some posts on Google+. A lot of people seem to like it, but I've not invested much time in building circles or trying to figure things out. Another thing for the ever-growing to-do list ... :-)

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    1. Leigh, it hasn't been worth the effort yet to add Google+ to the to-do list. I'm hoping to add it to the instead-of list! Blessings, E

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  8. I'm still learning the ins and outs of what Facebook does. Right now it keeps me informed of family and friends which is a good way to stay in touch. I am still new to Twitter and Google+ and with your tips, I will learn more about how to use them. Thanks!

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    1. Barbara, FB still provides some updates that are valuable, especially socially with friends and family. It will be interesting to se if those will be the next to go. Blessings, E

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  9. Edie, I agree about the Author page being a liability. I'd love to remove it, but Facebook said something abotu the account being removed, too. Does that mean my personal profile page? I don't want to jeopardize that. And isn't that question horrible in itself, that I'm worried about Facebook doing that?

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    1. As long as you have a personal profile, you can delete any pages you want without losing your account. BUT if you jumped on the convert-my-personal-profile-to-a-page bandwagon, you're out of options. In that case, the person would have to delete their FB account completely and sign up again for a personal profile.

      I haven't deleted my page yet. But I'm totally ignoring it. Blessings, E

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  10. Totally agree, Edie. I use FB as a social tool and nothing else. Now to get involved more with Twitter...and I hope Google + catches on.

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    1. Pat, I'm with you - hoping Google+ takes over! Blessings, E

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  11. I'm on Google+, but I know I'm not using it to its potential. I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts! I spend time on Facebook, but at this point, use it primarily for social interaction and sharing pics with family and friends.

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    1. Dawn, I think a lot of us are under-utilizing this dynamic platform. But we'll come up to speed together! Blessings, E

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    2. Google+, I mean. NOT Facebook!

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  12. Yeah, I'm not a fan of Facebook at all. I follow mostly friends, not businesses, but truthfully the vast majority of the nonsense people post is just an enormous waste of time. On the plus side that realization has helped to lead me to be a lot more careful about what I post to my Twitter account. I don't want to be junking up people's feeds with a bunch of nothing, so I choose my tweets much more carefully now. As a result I post a lot less, but hopefully the quality is far better. Hopefully. :)

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    1. JK, that's a great way to look at social media! Blessings, E

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  13. I'd appreciate an explanation of Google+. I am currently ignoring it, but random strangers keep adding me to their circles. Kind of freaks me out. ;)

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    1. Amanda, your explanation is coming! And don't be freaked out, Google+ recommends connections based on people you put in your circles. That's where it's coming from. Blessings, E

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  14. Edie, I have both a fan page and a profile. About a month ago I reached the end of my patience with the author page. almost 600 likes and 12 people seeing my post did not justify the time and effort I was putting into it. I set out to friend every individual who'd liked my fan page. I've gone back to hootsuite for scheduling my posts, and I double post them to both FB places. I've not received any complaints since so few people see the author page posts, and the interaction on my profile page has quadrupled. I haven't deleted my page, but I pay very little attention to it, and I don't look for that to change. I am like a lot of the writers commenting on this. I keep getting added to people's google, but I don't have a clue how to use it.

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    1. Sharon, your story about FB is what I'm hearing again and again from authors. Blessings, E

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  15. Like others, I too have a love hate relationship with Facebook. Someone once posted that it's a bad idea to build a home on a shaky foundation - FB is that shaky foundation. I have no idea what they're end game is, but I'm done playing.

    So I started putting more work into building a mailing list.

    I have over 12,000 likes, less than 500 people see each post. I used boost my posts - do you know how it gives you the range per boost amount? I would get a fraction of that - so why am I paying?

    I just think FB isn't a friend to small business so instead of hoping they'll change, I'll adapt and adjust by putting more of an emphasis on my Google Plus and Twitter activity.

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    1. Kimberly, I love that! "It's a bad idea to build a home on a shaky foundation." You've summed up the FB problems so well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Blessings, E

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  16. It looks like I'm the dissenter here because -- though I agree it has its problems -- I'm quite happy with Facebook. Yes, I'm grateful for the relationships it has renewed, strengthened or even created. But during the last 4 1/2 years that I've been unemployed/self-employed, several my best jobs have come my way thanks entirely to connections on Facebook. In fact, I'm in the process of starting a new career that would never have happened without FB.

    Though I imagine Google+ has the same or similar attributes, this current job connection started years before Google got their social network going. I'm not against migrating to G+ if that's the way things go, but it won't be because I'm angry or frustrated with Facebook.

    At least, not yet. :)

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    1. Sharyn, you're not a dissenter, you've a had a legitimate good experience. I have several friends who are doing well with FB. But the rest of us aren't, and it's those frustrated authors I'm reaching out to. Stick with what works, that's my advice and FB is working for you! Blessings, E

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  17. Very interesting post! I personally love my FB author page because it's easy to interact with my readers without writing a longer blogpost...just keeping them updated on things going on. But I, too, would LOVE to learn how to use Google + more effectively. I'm following a lot of people but never see anything they share...so I'm figuring they're not seeing what I share either! :)

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  18. I don't appreciate everything about FB for sure, but I've found it to be my second best method of putting out the word about my site (Pinterest is my best). I also consider it ministry, using it to encourage Christians with quotes and images.

    But I'm finding it requires posting good content 5-8 times a day, based on the best times of day according to my FB insights. The FB scheduling tool is essential for this.


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  19. Hey Edie.I have just recently started spending more time on Twitter and have gotten almost 150 new followers in a week. Which is good for me. Thanks for the info and the comparison you showed. Definitely confirms my direction. Thanks. Have a joy filled weekend.

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  20. Left Facebook a couple of years ago and never looked back. Love Twitter. It's so easy to use. Thank you for posting this. I was thinking I'd have to go back on Facebook professionally when the time came, but perhaps not.

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