Last week I boosted a meme on my Crone Confidence Facebook page. I set my target audience and was told it was strong. Facebook stated that my boosted post had the potential, based on my set target audience, to reach between 250 and 1200 a day. I chose a two day campaign.
About four hours into the campaign Facebook messaged me to tell me my “ad” could be doing better. It’s seems I had too many words in my post. This is the meme.
Eight Words. Eleven if you want to stretch it out and count my website and consider it 3 words. I clicked on the help button where Facebook counselled me by saying that the words should not take up more than 1/3 of the ad. Okay, I am not a mathematician but I would guess I’m within the parameters. When the boost finished I ended up with under 400 views. Less than the low end of Facebook’s estimate.
There was a time, in the not too distant past, that I would boost similar, and even memes with more words, and reach the high end of Facebook’s estimate. What has changed?
My cynical side says I am not paying enough money. Let’s face it, I only budgeted $5.00 for the boost. But it wasn’t me who boasted a view rate of up to 1200 a day for my small monetary offering. That was all Facebook. So while I am more than sure that money is a major factor, I also suspect Facebook’s dreaded Algorithms.
For those folks who are not sure what an algorithm is, here is Oxford’s Dictionary’s meaning:
A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
So an algorithm is a set of rules that determines what fits into a pattern and what does not. The problem is that the rules on Facebook seem to keep changing.
I recognise that Facebook has every right to make money. To us average folk it is a beloved social media platform that allows us to connect with other average folks all over the world, but to the people at Facebook it is a business. One that is very successful and one, those same people intend to become even more successful.
This has become a burr in my side as of late. I feel that my site is being held hostage in a sense. Pay us more money if you ever want to have your site see the light of day again.
I don’t stand a chance. I am so small, I don’t even register as a small fish in the big pond. I am more like a tiny krill. So I feel I must play Facebook’s game if I want to play at all.
It wasn’t until Facebook’s algorithms affected me on a more personal level that I began to really get mad. A couple of weeks ago the author of one of my favourite Facebook groups posted a message. She lamented that if we haven’t heard from her lately it was because based on our personal clicking patterns, Facebook is only letting us see what their algorithms decide it wants us to see. Even her own mother didn’t get a free pass.
Now I knew this was happening on my Crone Confidence site. I would post an un-boosted post and only get 20-40 views. But when my own personal liberties were being hampered, well that is quite another subject.
How dare they. I have, of my own free will, followed this group. This is my tribe. I have become personal friends with some of the members. It is a fellowship; a safe place. One where I contribute on a regular basis. At any time, of my own free, if the group no longer serves me, I can choose to unfollow it.
So think about this for a moment. Here is a company, who decides who gets to see your thoughts, ideas, and any products you are offering to sell, which I am not, unless you pay. That is straight forward enough. Kind of like a magazine. Place an ad and we will offer it out on our platform based on our clients interests. A straight business exchange.
Now using that magazine analogy again, let’s say you received that ad, liked what you saw and decided to subscribe directly to the business, which in this case is a Facebook page. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that at that point the magazine part in all this is complete?
If you choose to become a member of a Facebook page and expect to see everything posted on it, and if Facebook is choosing through their algorithms what you see based on your past likes, they are effectively censoring your freedom.
I am not an algorithm. I am not a set of rules or a mathematical calculation. I am a living, breathing, human being. I make choices. I change my mind and make different choices. I am passionate about many things and only I choose if I am interested or not on any given subject.
And while I’m at it, I don’t play the SEO (search engine optimisations) game either. Padding my blog posts with high ranking words and phrases so that Google places my posts higher on their search engine is not my thing. Sure it is at my own peril and I probably suffer in the blog clicks because of it, but I write because it is an art form that I love and I think I have worthwhile things to say. SEO is just another form of algorithms anyway.
It would be like telling a fine painter to add some hot pink or cobalt blue to his pastoral scene of calm greens and earth tones because pink and blue are hot colours right now.
So maybe I’m a rebel at heart. Maybe I choose to buck the trends. Nothing I have created on line has gone viral yet and I know I’m sure as hell not getting famous for my views. That’s okay, I’d rather have a small (okay very small) committed group of followers than a enormous list of people who rarely click my way. Human interaction, that’s what I’m all about, in all it’s mind changing, fickle glory. Try and algorithm that Facebook.
One last thing: My friend Slade Roberson fanned this rant further with his, Shift Your Spirits Podcast – Stop Trying So Hard. Give it a listen if you feel even remotely like I do.