Tuesday, September 23, 2014

dear facebook

Dear John (or whatever guy is reading this at Facebook),
In the regular world of business, skewing numbers to deploy your own sales scheme would be seen as inappropriate, without integrity and depending on the severity – illegal.
But, you know we all depend on you.  We depend on you to know what mischief our kids are involved in, we depend on you to reconnect with high school friends and old college flames, and we depend on you to help grow our business, readership and viability. And, you know it. 
So, being the savvy example that the rest of us are trying to follow, you are playing games with us.  Some might call it a marketing scam.  Some might call it experimenting.  Some might think it is smart.  Some might even be envious of your creative ways to use your platform to leverage your power.
Hey, we get it.  Everyone is trying to make a dollar.  It’s why we use each other.
I went to a conference a couple weeks ago and part of the opening activity was an icebreaker of questions.  One of the questions on the list was “what do you wish you understood better”.  My answer, “what the heck is going on with Facebook algorithms, because they are jacked up”.
Over the last month, I’ve watched and I’ve observed.  And, you’ve helped me develop a life principle that I have posted on my board and when I quote it, I do give my experience with you the credit for origination.  “You can’t un-reach someone you’ve already reached”.  Interpretation – if someone has viewed a post, they can’t not have viewed it.  If I have a post showing 20 views and it has 42 likes and 2 shares, more than 20 people have viewed it.  I wasn’t the one good at math at my house, but I know that 42+2+followership>20!  I also know that if last Thursday over 1200 people viewed a #TBT photo, then on Monday morning there can’t be a nice round 600 that have viewed it.  That number should increase, not decrease.
I also know you’ve started really “talking” to me about how to boost my posts.  You mentioned on several occasions last week that nearly every post I had was performing better than any post I had made.  Not true.  And before you shifted your numbers this weekend I could have given you better numbers to back that up.  Just this morning, you contacted me by email to let me know that you were willing to have one of your Facebook Project Managers call me and talk to me about promoting my organization.
What happened to the authentic, organic followership you were founded on?  Oh, I know how you were founded.  I was in college administration when you went mainstream.  I was a recent college grad, not one of those 50+ administrators that were skeptical of you.  I don’t have baby pictures on FB of myself, I have real life pictures in my first albums of me at 22, 23, 24. 
You are a fantastic tool.  We respect your ability to leverage other social media platforms. We use you (and some abuse you).  We want to partner with you to make ourselves greater.  But, scheming us, skewing our numbers and making us want you by manipulation is not ok.  In a personal relationship, we call that emotional abuse.  Many have made their profession on that type of thing.  If you were the guy I text most, my girlfriends would tell me to break up with you and delete your number.  If you were a consultant I had hired to help me perfect my business life, I would fire you.  If you were my parent, brother, crazy uncle and we were about to gather for Thanksgiving, I would avoid as much conversation with you as possible because I do not have room for manipulation in my life.
Just think about it.  You have been a gift to so many.  You have helped us build our personal brand, spread our business’ sphere of influence and given many a high school or college reunion fodder for conversation. 
Can our relationship just go back to the way it used to be when you gave me what I needed and reciprocated what I gave you?  When you are most authentic, I want to engage with you more.  When you are manipulative and dishonest, I want to retreat and go in a different direction.
When you’re ready, we can talk.



Brittney said...

I think Facebook algorithms and stats are just one more thing that will be revealed to us in heaven. Until then, we can quit trying. ha! It's so frustrating for sure!

Jeanetta Darley said...

I think I have really quit paying attention to their so called insights. I start to wonder if its really worth it? Is it all just going out into the ether of the facebook void. I manage the page where I work and help with a few others.

Party of Five said...

Hahaha! Good laugh. I gave up a long time ago and decided that I don't really care about the numbers.

Georgeanne @ Eggshells said...

I have given up on the algorithms and just post what I know people like! Sometimes they see it, sometimes they don't. It's tossing a coin into a fountain, haha.

I do like going into the Ad Manager and seeing lots of demographics, though! That's always fascinating.

Talya Tate Boerner said...

I stopped trying to figure it out. Some things are never meant to be understood:) Great post!

Beth S Macre said...

Great letter! I don't like how they decide who we need to see either. They will have to improve things or watch their decline. It is such a shame, because it is/was a perfect match for us, as in small business.