Like most adults, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love seeing pictures and hearing about my friends’ lives. No matter how busy I am I can take a few seconds and peer into their universes and not feel so disconnected, or can I? I have very few friends. There I’ve said it. My Facebook friends are limited to people I really know. I share pictures of my family and talk about the events of my life – very exciting stuff. But because I have a very limited number of friends, I should be able to see everything they post on this online community. Not so. (According to Facebook, the average person sees only 16% of any individual’s posts.)
If you’ve been paying attention to your Facebook feed, you may have noticed around the beginning of October that you were seeing less and less of what was going on and much of the activity was being relegated to your right-hand side bar. Why would Facebook want to
hide bury my updates? Monetization. If I have a very important update (aren’t they all?) and I want to make sure all of my disconnected network sees it, I can now pay to promote my news. To me, this is vaguely reminiscent of airlines instituting paid priority boarding. If everyone refused to pay, it would go away. (But we’re naturally competitive as a species and sitting in that seat first is imperative to our happiness.) Yet, when everyone pays to be first, no one is first.
Maybe I’m bitter or maybe I see this as a line of demarcation. Facebook has said they would never charge a membership fee but if they are charging me to post – or rather, to have posts my friends actually see — that’s the same thing.
What does this mean for your organization? It means very few of the people who follow you are seeing your posts — unless you pay. And if you expect people to return to your site after they “like” you, you’re not playing the odds (since less than 30% do).
Where does that leave us? Deactivating our Facebook pages or pulling out our wallets and realizing that there’s a cost associated even with free online community sites?
What do you think? Fair or sneaky?