Facebook really has become the primary social space online. Stepping out of Facebook is like going on a retreat in some distant land with no link to the rest of the world.
I noticed this story on TechCrunch about how cross-posted tweets were removed from Facebook, along with the conversations that formed around them.
Facebook users are complaining the company has removed the cross-posted tweets they had published to their profiles as Facebook updates. The posts’ removal took place following the recent API change that prevented Twitter users from continuing to automatically publish their tweets to Facebook. According to the affected parties, both the Facebook posts themselves, as well as the conversation around those posts that had taken place directly on Facebook, are now gone. Reached for comment, Facebook says it’s aware of the issue and is looking into it.
Axios published a post clarifying what happened:
Here’s what happened, according to a source close to Twitter.: Twitter had initially asked Facebook for more time to see if there was a way for users to continue joint posting to both social networks, but Facebook said no.
As a result, the Twitter app for the Facebook platform was essentially made useless earlier this month once Facebook officially removed the ability to cross-post. With the app’s sole function eliminated, Twitter decided to delete it from the Facebook platform, having no reason to think that doing so would remove old tweets that were cross-posted. It’s not clear whether Facebook knew this would happen, either.
Those tweets have apparently since been restored to Facebook, so the harm was short-lived. At the same time, this incident serves as an important reminder that you rarely have effective control over your content on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
It’s also a big reason why I prefer the POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere), approach to publishing my content. That said, moves like Facebook’s changes to their API at the beginning of August 2018 have the effect of frustrating this to a degree.
It’s affected people’s ability to publish to their Facebook News Feeds automatically using external services (although you can still publish automatically to your Facebook Page). That said, this just reinforces the importance of having your own space on the Web where you have considerably more control over your content.
I don’t use Facebook all that much lately. When I do open the app, it’s generally to check which birthdays are coming up in the hope that I don’t miss them.
One of the benefits of not using Facebook much is that I see how Facebook entices occasional users back into the fold. Here’s an example that I noticed yesterday:
Whatever you may think about Facebook, it clearly hires really smart people who know heart strings to tug to persuade users to return to more active use.
Despite what I know about Facebook, and my thoughts about using the service, I can’t help but notice how compelling this sort of messaging can be. This is something Facebook does really well.
Whether you’re concerned about recent news about the extent of Facebook’s tracking or not, this discussion is worth watching:
But Googlers can also make a strong case that Google makes valuable contributions to the information climate. I learn useful, real information via Google every day. And while web search is far from a perfect technology, Google really does usually surface accurate, reliable information on the topics you search for. Facebook’s imperative to maximize engagement, by contrast, lands it in an endless cycle of sensationalism and nonsense.
I’m not sure I’d give Google as much of a moral edge over Facebook. Both are focused on optimising engagement. That’s pretty much a necessity given their business models. At the same time, Facebook does seem to turn engagement into an art form.
Courtesy of Vox in “The case against Facebook“.
I’ve been fairly inactive on Facebook in recent months. One of the benefits of that is having an opportunity to see a variety of Facebook Guilt Trips in action. Here’s today’s:
I don’t remember which Page I unfollowed. I’m pretty sure I won’t feel to guilty about it.
I recently decided to remove Facebook from my phone. I made the decision after finding myself opening the app and frequently being pretty underwhelmed by the updates Facebook insisted on notifying me about.
Although I was tempted to delete the app altogether, I decided to remove the app from my home screen instead. This means I’d need to find it in my app drawer to open it.
The immediate benefit was that I didn’t find myself opening the app because I was bored and then wondered why I bothered. The downside had been that the main utility Facebook has for me has been buried: I’ve started missing birthdays!
Yup, probably the most valuable part of Facebook to me is the birthday calendar and not checking the app obsessively means I have started missing birthdays. I can’t seem to work out how to sync birthday calendars with my phone yet (I think I know how to do it) so I’ve been reliant on the app to remind me.
Aside from that, my decision to remove Facebook from my phone has been worthwhile so far. I don’t open the app out of mindless habit. I don’t have that regret when I do and I have replaced Facebook’s spot on my home screen with Feedly instead.
Much better use of that attention-grabbing spot.
If you’ve been dissatisfied with your Facebook experience lately and you’re tempted to remove it from your mobile device, just consider the loss of the features like the birthday calendar and decide if it’s worth it.
How often do you find yourself responding to a tweet or Facebook update linking to blog posts only to realise, after responding, that the answer you seek or point you make is contained in the blog posts you were in too much of a hurry to read?
TL;DR your blog posts but, hey, I commented!
I seem to do this often. Given the low click through rates I see in my social media analytics, I suspect the majority of people who respond to these social shares do it too.
After all, it is so much easier to just reply to a tweet or comment on a Facebook post and have your say than it is to click on the link, load the site and read the article that was shared.
As someone who shares stuff on Twitter and Facebook fairly often, it’s certainly my hope that people will click through and read my posts but that happens relatively infrequently compared to the “engagement” that takes place within Twitter’s and Facebook’s walls.
Twitter, in particular, is supposed to be this terrific platform for sharing stuff with people. What I realized is that when Twitter and Facebook talk about how their platforms are so effective as engagement drivers, they’re really talking about engagement on their platforms. This certainly comes across clearly on Twitter where you have analytics about your tweets available.
This isn’t surprising. Social networks make money from people using their services, not clicking away and going elsewhere. Still, many of us still suffer from this delusion that sharing our stuff on social networks will, necessarily, send more visitors to our sites.
Introducing a new acronym: RTFBP
So, assuming that this trend is only going to continue and relatively few people will actually click on those links we share and visit our sites to read our blog posts, I have come up with a snappy acronym: RTFBP. It stands for “Read The F$&king Blog Post” and it has the benefits of being short and easily hashtag-able.
RTFBP is intended for content marketers who find themselves answering questions and responding to seemingly insightful comments made by people like me who took the TL;DR approach to social media shares. As silly as that is, considering that I know that the point of social shares with links is to direct me to the blog posts that contain the information I seek, if only I RTFBP before tapping “reply” or “comment”.
So, as a self-confessed lazy follower, I both apologise and offer my newly minted acronym to all the marketers whose eyes I cause to roll, yet again. I am working on clicking through more often and reading before I trot out some pithy response. Promise.
Featured image credit: Pixabay