March 20, 2017
Last week I was reading an industry article about Facebook’s recent attempts to steal everything that is Snapchat, and almost unapologetically. It referenced a report about how personally generated, original and shared content has been on the decline within the platform; a feature “stories” in Snapchat, Instagram and others relish.
I hadn’t noticed the trend as a user, but the more I thought about it, the more aware I became of my own newsfeed … which is now mostly that … news-ish stuff. Little in the way of friends’ own content.
While entirely unscientific, and I’m sure I could replicate in a controlled setting, the content items that have been the most memorable, i.e. I can actually recall seeing and/or interacting with the posts, fall into a few general categories:
Sure, there were the HBD messages that sprinkle in each day, but those are largely impersonal now, given they pop-up EVERYWHERE within the apps of FB. A couple of cover or profile photo updates. I even noticed a video profile pic for the first-time ever. It’s a feature that’s been around for more than a year.
As a markter, and advertiser who uses the platform, this does seem a bit alarming. It’s also been an issue for more than a year, and the tenor of the 2016 election, combined with “fake news,” and “alternative facts,” hasn’t likely helped. Facebook even had to modify its algorythm for Trending topics.
Wait, is it that algorythm that’s to blame? Maybe. The platform has been accused of being an echochamber for its users, caused by noneother than the users themselves. But that’s precisely what Facebook has designed itself to be; content to which you react, engage, share, post, etc. all becomes part of what programs and scrolls next into your feed.
Has Facebook thus become an “aggregator” of other content to which we enjoy? Possibly. Concurrently, but before I really started to pay attention to content in my newsfeed, I’d noticed that engagement for my original posts varied wildly. Status’, pictures, and check-ins could have zero engagement, or +10 percent of my friends reacting. I’d considered a host of other factors, which I know can be at play. But it seems that FB is determined to show me more shared content than original and I’m not creating as much content as before. Even popular timeline posts don’t get a reshare.
But its Facebook’s advertising model that’s a strong reason I’m employed. However, an advertising model with no audience is the equivalent of skywriting in the middle of the night. No one will see it.
Hopefully, Facebook will work to find the right balance of real, original, engaging content for its users. As the quintessential social platform who has stood the test of time (MySpace anyone?), I’m confident their future will evolve with us, and optimistic it will be for the betterment of civilization, and not the forebearer of its destruction.
Have you noticed any changes to your newsfeed? What would you like to see more of? Less?
Advertising, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Newsfeed, Snapchat,