After writing The Beginning of the End of Social Media, I decided to promote one – and only one – post on Facebook. Not only would that post have information on how to follow me directly (without relying on Facebook), but it would also explain what was going on.
They were posted a bit more concentrated in time than I would have liked (I would have preferred it to be spread out by several hours),
but the timing was supposed to be excellent. The top time for sharing
links on FB is mid-afternoon and evening on Monday, so this was a
The post appeared three different times on Facebook.
1. When I directly posted the link, and “shared” it via my personal account. This was the promoted post. (10/15/12@1702) Viewed 41 times.
2. Once when it went up via RSS Graffiti (10/15/12@1735) Viewed 9 times.
3. A third time when the Twitter echo of the post hit Facebook (10/15/12@1736) Viewed 23 times. This one was also commented on by my personal account, and may have gained more exposure that way.
Notice that, again, this means the link was viewed, not the article itself. It scrolled across someone’s newsfeed. Additionally, because these were so close together, there is almost certainly some overlap between the three.
Let’s take a look at what Facebook reported back about my “promoted” post – the first one, with 41 views.
|~twenty minutes after posting. 33% regular views, 85% paid views.|
|21 hours after posting. 15% regular views, 85% “paid” views.|
Almost a day later, Facebook reports back (in percentages, mind you) that I increased my views by 85%!
When you do the math, that’s an increase of almost 35 views…. which correlates very nicely with the number of average pageviews I was getting before Facebook made their service broken by design. I used to get 30-40 views per post… and it dropped suddenly to 8-12 views.
You know, like the non-promoted RSS Graffiti post got.
Given my experience, and the limited data that Facebook has decided to share with us (and oh, bravo, Facebook, for trying to hide behind percentages instead of giving us raw numbers when telling us how awesome your promoted posts work), it seems clear that Facebook is simply charging you to restore what functionality they used to have.
I realize they’re desperately trying to turn a hard profit after going public on the stock market, but this is ridiculous. The value of social media is the unfettered exchange of information and the number of people using the network. Instead, Facebook decided to turn a fast buck by sabotaging the very qualities that make the service worth using at all.
If you were looking for a reason to think Facebook would never, ever give even a rat’s ass about you as a user or person, this is it. And when a social media company stops thinking about its users as people and starts thinking of them as commodities, it’s probably time to start thinking about finding a new place to connect to people.
And to sell your stock.