I know I know… not another “Facebook sucks” post, right? There are certainly no shortage of them out there these days. The company is having to testify to congress and investigations of the company data practices are underway globally. We don’t need to be told Facebook is having a hard time.
And I’m not going to tell you that. What I will share, however, is my take on a core root of Facebook’s current PR problem. That is, in my view, Facebook no longer has any friends.
Which is ironic considering the network was built on the concept of friendships and networking components empowering the interaction of said friendships. They want us all to be friends but forgot that they need us as friends too.
How did this happen? Well, it’s two fold in my opinion. The first I won’t weigh in on so much here as we’re all very familiar with it. Whether or not you agree with Facebook’s blatant political positions, hopefully you agree the company shouldn’t operate a communication platform that discriminates based on these political positions. That in and of itself put a huge portion of its user base in an opposing position.
The second is more fundamentally simplistic. You see, several years ago Facebook had a ton of defenders. Because back then many of us felt we were in a partnership of sorts with Facebook. We built pages around brands, services, content and narratives. Facebook let us share with these audiences what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted. And what we shared enjoyed broad reach amongst the users who opted to receive such content.
It was an open platform all around. A win-win for everyone, Facebook included. But at some point Facebook decided to change the rules. They claimed it was about the newsfeed but come on… let’s not kid ourselves. It was all about greed and profit. It was a bait and switch and we all know it.
Facebook took the position that it’s a private company that is not obligated to hand publishers and creators “free” traffic. While there is some sound logic to this, it ignores the fact that we all had a two way partnership. Facebook wasn’t handing out anything for free. You see, we all have Facebook widgets on our websites. We all promote our pages and profiles. We have like buttons on our posts and content. We share content, providing it freely to Facebook.
How in the hell do you think Facebook enjoyed such explosive growth? We were all driving it! We were provoking interaction and engagement. We were the engine upon which Facebook built its lucrative sports car.
When they pulled the rug out from under us they did so with a “pay to play” scheme that makes no sense for the vast majority of publishers. Sure, it might work for big corporate brands that spend millions of dollars a year simply to ensure their brand of soda is on your mind when you walk into a gas station thirsty, but the model in no way works for the average blogger, vlogger or content publisher looking to share their work with their audience.
Take Facebook’s paid boost feature, for example. I would be perfectly fine paying $5 bucks to Facebook to have content my followers requested when they liked my page shown to them. I may not get the $5 bucks back because I don’t run ads or get any big revenue from my blog. But it would be worth it to ping my followers with my update. But here’s the thing. Facebook wants $1,300 for me to reach all of my page followers with a boosted post.
THIRTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!
Really? If I made three posts per day and boosted all three for $5 bucks or so, Facebook would get $450 a month from me. Under their current boost model they get nothing. So instead of creating a partnership that works for both of us, Facebook told me to pound sand and sold my personal information for profit instead.
Now why in the hell would I have any interest in defending Facebook or viewing them as a friend? They aren’t. They care nothing about me or my blog. They’ve proven that time and again.
And now I give my page very little time. I don’t really bother posting anything meaningful because doing so is meaningless. Really the only reason I post anything is just in case people land on my page and I would like them to see fresh updates. I don’t do so because I want to engage and interact. Those days are long gone.
Dear Facebook, yes, you coded an incredible utility. An amazing website that functions beautifully. But we created the community. We created the content. We created the interaction and engagement. We drove that part of it all.
Now that you’re in trouble and begging for help… we’re telling you to pound sand.
You want our help? You want our support? I’ll send you a paypal link and you can pay me $100,000 to “boost” my defense of you. Until then you’re on your own.
I’m guessing I’m not alone.
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