Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?
Is Facebook Dead?
Within the last 5 years, Facebook has arguably become the single most vital marketing source and referrals for photographers. Images are the most shared content by a staggering 89%. Photographs have tremendous value in today’s online world. In the beginning this helped build a brief golden age of famous “rock star” photographers. But that kind of success story happens less and less frequently these days. It’s been replaced by hundreds of thousands of tales of mediocrity and outright failure.
Don’t know what jump the shark means? It’s a reference to an old Happy Days episode that marked the end of an era. In that episode, the Fonz literally jumped a shark–an event well outside their established character–in attempts to get back declining ratings. The hype of the event quickly fizzled out only to accelerate the demise of the show. So what does this have to do with Facebook? Several changes within the internal workings of Facebook might have been the signal the massive social media empire is on its way out. Let’s take a look.
Where Did Your Posts Go?
In the Beginning: The ability to share an inspiring story, a helpful tip, or valuable information with millions of people caltapulted Facebook to a central part of almost everyone’s digital ecosystem. It’s easy. It was an applied benefit of word of mouth from people we know and trust. If you’re a business, you worked hard to gain the trust of your followers.
A New Problem: But now your messages are no longer reaching your audience. As more and more people and businesses get involved in social media to market their products and services, the louder those messages have to shout to be heard. And the more noise, the more difficult it is to sort out which information is actually valuable and which is just over-hyped and sensationalized junk mail.
Facebook’s Solution: Enter in the answer for a brighter future in the form of paid advertising. Want to get your message heard to your hard earned fans? Pay to have Facebook promote your post or page to exactly the right people who want to hear it. It’s a win for Facebook. But it is a win only for Facebook at the expense of its core users who are already reporting depression of fatigue of over stimulation?
The Problem with Facebook
Vertiasium the science guy has been digging into the data of Facebook to shine some light on these facts.
- Many people have reported a sudden drastic reduction in reach of each post.
- Facebook officially states, “…we expect organic distribution of an individual Page’s posts to gradually decline over time…”
- Is the Facebook empire built on content you’ve provided and is now being used against you?
Is Organic Search Dead? Maybe Not.
- If you are now reaching 7% of your fans, Jon argues the assumption that Facebook is preventing you from reaching the other 93% is false.
- Our expectations are the problem (and that’s Facebook’s fault, however), considering other outlets like Twitter or Google+, how many of your followers does a single tweet reach?
- Facebook limits every users feed to 300 posts and only uses the ones that are most engaging to build and grow into those feeds — in other words, it shows what the user really does want to see (by evidenced by actually click activity)
- Jon seems to suggest that only thing that has changed with Facebook is that the competition has gotten a lot tougher, but that’s the nature of business.
- These guys cover a lot of indepth information — if you geek out on that stuff, it’s worth watching the whole thing.
Or Are These Problems a Systematic Conflict of Interests?
OK, let’s say Facebook isn’t the bad guy here. What if you play by Facebook’s new rules and willing pay to promote your page but your engagement is still down significantly, what then? Is your content really that awful? Or did you just pay for a bunch of fake likes which are “worse than useless” because engagement is how Facebook determines your rank? Watch Veritasim‘s video to find out how often you are paying for fake likes with legitimate Facebook ad promotion. The bigger question is Facebook aware of this and does it have any motivation to change it.
What Will The Future Bring?
Remember when social sharing was inspiring and brought out the best in humanity? Remember how easily a small request for help would go viral and blow us away with the spontaneous generosity of strangers? Those were the days. That’s the kind of magic that made Facebook a household name. The question is will Facebook make a stand to protect the valuable real estate they created from those who would exploit it (even it is Facebook’s shareholders) and change it’s algorithm to exclude fake likes? Or will they make the choice to keep the charade going until it collapses at the expense of the end user? If so, then Facebook is already dead. Share Veritasim‘s video and ask Facebook to make a choice. #exludefakelikes
featured image found via Paul Fraiets