How Facebook’s shenanigans might affect YOU

It can make an ordinary person dizzy, don’t you agree, trying to keep up with all the changes that are happening day in, day out, in the natural world of course, but also in the social media world?

Take, for example, the latest shenanigans of our favorite social media sharing site: Facebook. Have you noticed?

I have a Facebook “fan page,” as many of you know. I share a lot of cool stuff over there: all my new blog posts, as well as cool stuff I run across on the internet, and also photos and comments about what’s going on at our place. I post stuff there that you will see nowhere else. Obviously!

Facebook is pretty cool about noting how many people look at each thing I post, so I can tell what my fans like, and post accordingly. For example, I know that most of my fans prefer personal posts: what little Mack might have gotten into today, for example, or what new things are happening at our place. What my chickens are up to.

I’m quite sure, for example, that the addition of a few goats to our place would drive my stats up. (Hint, hint, Bryan?) I don’t obsess about these numbers, but I do take note when there are big changes.

About a month ago, I noticed that the numbers of views on my posts took a sharp dive. I mean, a sharp dive. Instead of having views in the hundreds, I was getting views in the tens. I was really surprised, but I attributed it in my own mind to the busy-ness of the holidays. I was busier than ever, trying to get a handle on Christmas events coming up, so wasn’t everybody else, too? I figured the numbers would go back up in time. And then I started hearing from other bloggers that it wasn’t just my page, everybody’s pages were affected, and the conclusion was that Facebook was changing things up. Again.

After doing a bit of digging, I learned that Facebook had started sharing only a fraction of what I posted on my fan page. Instead of letting all my friends see what I was posting, they started letting maybe ten percent of my friends see each post. Thus the sharp decline in views.

From another blog: “According to AdAge, Facebook said, ‘We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time…’ And a Facebook spokesperson said, ‘the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.'” (If you’re interested in reading the AdAge article, which goes deeper into the whole thing, just click on the link above.)

Ergo: Most of my friends on Facebook are no longer seeing what I post, so they can’t click on it, even if they wanted to.

This is a bit disheartening, to say the least. Most bloggers I know work pretty hard to build up their Facebook fans, so when they share something, lots of eager readers will be there to read it.

Facebook is apparently hoping that by severely limiting my reach, I’ll agree to pay to “boost” my posts, and then they’ll make more money and I’ll get the reach that I used to have.

Here's what pops up when I make a post. An opportunity to pay Facebook for more.

Here’s what pops up when I make a post. An opportunity to pay Facebook for more exposure.

You can’t blame Facebook for trying to make more money, but it’s not going to work. At least not where I’m concerned. Here’s why: most websites that I follow offer large amounts of great content through their websites and Facebook pages, for free. Vomitingchicken.com is like this. You know what you get from me: great recipes, organic gardening tips, astonishing chicken stories, homeschooling tips, and photos of mummified mice. And it’s all free. You can’t get that kind of content just anywhere, can you, Gentle Reader?

Did I mention that it costs nothing? Ergo, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay Facebook to “boost” my free content. When I publish my book, I may consider paying for advertising, but that means that the only stuff I’d pay for on Facebook would be posts to advertise my book that I want to sell.

Facebook offers a free service (for now) and so they can do what they want with it. But do you know how most people access my website? Three guesses. Yup. You guessed it. Through clicking on Facebook. But with these changes, it’ll make it that much harder for my readers to find what I publish.

So what’s a humble blogger to do, in the face of these changes? Well, here at vomitingchicken.com, we don’t plan to change a thing. We’ll still be writing up great content and helpful tips and awesome recipes, not to mention photos of chickens bobbing for corn. Stories of Dreaded Varmints and bossy deranged guineas.

Except for one thing. Oh yes. I would encourage you to do this, to avoid missing even one post: sign up for my e-mail list. That way you won’t have to rely on the folks who run Facebook, to get each and every thing that’s going on at our place. Recipes. Stories that make you laugh. Great tips on taking care of chickens and raising kiddos and getting the very most out of your garden. Dead Opossum Clean-up in Aisle Three. That sort of thing. Make sure that you’ll get every post, just by signing up on my e-mail list.

It’s so easy. Just put your e-mail address in the little box to the right. It looks like this.

See it?

See it?

And don’t worry, you’ll never get a single spam from me. That’s not my style!

Okay, so there’s my little administration update, and I do appreciate your reading it to the very end. That means you, Gentle Reader! Have a fabulous day, you!

And just because you made it to the end, here’s a picture of my daughter Bethie with little Mack, skating on our little pond yesterday. It has been punishingly cold for weeks, and now it’s warming up for a few days, so it’s perfect ice-skating weather, hooray!

Facebook shenanigans

P.S. And speaking of The Prairie Homestead (okay, or not) . . . every Monday, Jill sets up a fun event that you may want to check out, or even (if you’re a blogger, too) participate in! It’s a linking party of sorts, a big countrified barn dance of homesteading-related posts! I’m linking this post up this week right here, and I encourage you to jump on over and check out the other posts there!

29 thoughts on “How Facebook’s shenanigans might affect YOU

  1. Anita-Clare Field

    Well done Amy, this is a fabulous piece. I have had the same issue and it’s really annoying. What point is there in having nearly 5K likes on our page if only 15 people are seeing it? I have used the boost your post in the past very successfully for competitions giveaways and marketing of books etc but i’ll be darned if I am paying to promote every post. I really don’t understand why they are not being more transparent? Oooof…. *stamps feet*

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I know, Anita-Clare, transparency would be nice. Instead of BOOM! Everything has changed and we don’t know why. I thought that suddenly I was just UNPOPULAR (overnight!) and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. *joining you in stamping feet, and gnashing teeth for good measure*

  2. Cher

    Yep it is happening, I do most of my stuff on G+ now – it is less spammy and more professional, they say it will wipe FB out – well I guess we will see 🙁

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Cher, I doubt that FB will be wiped out, but it does seem that G+ is rising in popularity for business owners, at least!

  3. Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.

    Besides trying to get Bryan’s goat…
    Let me give you another piece of interesting news…
    Those folks to whom you eMail or afford RSS feeds for your blog? If you send the whole thing (and don’t put a tracking item in the whole feed- I don’t), they don’t count for analytics. So, when there are 10K or 25K readers of your blog daily via an RSS feed, you have ZERO readers according to the stats.
    Just saying…

      1. dramamamafive Post author

        I really like Bloglovin’ too, Liz! My daughter turned me on to that, and it’s a really handy way to get your favorite blogs in your inbox.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Whoa. I had no idea, Roy. I try not to pay too much attention to stats, honestly, but they are a handy tool. ALSO a total time-suck if you’re not careful!

  4. Nate

    Yes, it can be frustrating. One thing about facebook fanpages is that you have to constantly engage and there are other variables that come into play as well. Thanks for sharing!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Caro, I’m sure Facebook is just trying to keep up with the rapid growth that it has enjoyed. It still astounds me that ten years ago there was no Facebook. Can you believe that? It’ll be 10 years old in 2014.

  5. Anne Dovel

    Well done, Sis!
    Ironically, the post on my fan page that had the most likes and comments lately, was one (without a picture even) that said…”I’m not paying so my posts will show up.”

    I had a Google+ account early on in the beta phase, and then didn’t do much with it because I had spent so much time on FB. But that’s changing, Sister. Business owners have paid to get more people to “like” their pages and now they have to pay so their content reaches those people. It’s business, after all. I think we’ll see a decline in Facebook over the next few years as more and more good social media sites gain traction.

    Anne

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Sister, I agree. I think Facebook has done their job too well. It’s SO EASY to make posts on FB. It’s SO EASY to cut and paste and attach photos and copy links and videos, that people are just doing that like mad, and there’s got to be a saturation point where nobody has time to look at all the stuff that there is to look at. I sure don’t! I plan to spend a bit more time figuring out how to use Google +, because I agree with you that as social media changes, we’ve got to change the way we interact with our readers, too.

  6. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    Dear Amy, thank you for another great post. Until today, I have barely paid attention to Google Plus. That is about to change, effective immediately. I guess I won’t update my blog’s FB fan page all that much. Why waste the time?
    I also wanted to address subscribing by email. I end up getting so many emails from blogs I’ve subscribed to, I wouldn’t have enough time in the world – especially since I am having to step up my caregiving role (more on that in January) to read them, and I don’t (sorry,writers of those blogs). So just because people subscribe by email doesn’t mean they are actually reading – on the other hand I haven’t subscribed to your blog but rest assured I read 98% or 99% of your posts.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Alana,
      How sweet you are. And how right you are. Even as I encourage folks to sign up for my e-mail list, I think (with a pang of guilt) of all the blogs that I’ve put my e-mail address in. I don’t have time to read but just a few, and even that is seldom, sadly. I WANT to read all the good stuff that I’ve signed up for, but there are so MANY and time is short. Thanks so much for being such a good reader of my blog. Your loyalty is admirable, though your taste may be suspect . . . 😉 (just kidding! just kidding!)

  7. Chef William

    Great post Amy. Once again I am going to change things up in 2014. I have had to many things going in to many directions and have been tempted to pay that $5 or $10 boost but because at the moment I’m not selling anything (other than my books) so I can’t see the advantage to it. I am really working on a new plan for 2014 with a little less lost time on both email and face book. I have decided to give them 10 minutes each first thing in the morning and another 10 minutes each at the end of my computer day. I love your blogs and will continue to read them daily, and if I happen to notice that I’m not getting them, I will seek them out. I am going to take a look at Google+ and some of the other places we can go. If I discover anything I will share it with you of course.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      THanks Chef! I’m so glad that we are all in this together! I’ll be anxious to see what you do in the New Year! Happy New Year to you!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Sophie, there are lots of ways to catch the spam! You’ll probably have to install a plug-in, that’s what I finally did. I was spending WAY too much time every day deleting dumb spam messages, and I just got tired of it. Good luck!

  8. Francene Stanley

    Well, I didn’t know fb was doing this. Like you, I thought the number of people who saw the posts must be something to do with the holiday period. I won’t be paying them for anything. I don’t have money to throw away. I still receive plenty of hits from all the other outlets like twitter. Love the picture, by the way.

  9. OrangeBlossom

    I’ve canceled my facebook account since they switched me to the timeline thing over a year ago. (though technically it’s not really canceled .. they keep asking me back and saying that they still have all my data .. scary)

    I read most all your blog posts … signed up through email.

    Glad to see the ice skates are getting some use!

    Merry Christmas!

  10. Corner Garden Sue

    Hi Amy,
    I saw a comment you left on Gardeninacity about being in Nebraska, so I came to see your blog. The way I keep up with a number of blogs is by putting links to them in my sidebar.

    I am pretty active on FB, and am amazed at all of the advertising I get for things I’ve looked for when not even signed in to it. It’s kind of scary. I refuse to play games there, because you have to agree for them to send requests in your name to those on your list of friends. I also refused to connect my blog there, because you had to agree for them to be able to use your content, and I’m thinking, access your followers. I’m sorry you and others are having the issues you are having. It’s too bad making money seems to be at the core of FB more than connecting people.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Well, there certainly are strings attached to all the free advertising you get from FB, Sue! Thanks for your observations!

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