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
6 December has become my Social Anniversaries Day! This morning I saw a personalized video celebrating my 10th “Faceversary” (the anniversary of me joining Facebook).
In even bigger news, today is also the 12th anniversary of this blog. I published my first post titled “In the beginning …” on 6 December 2004. At the time this blog was called “Wired Gecko” and it has been through several iterations and used various domain names since then.
Excluding this post, I have published 3 910 blog posts and have 8 567 comments so far.
The next major release of WordPress, version 4.7,
is also due to launched today too. I’m sure Automattic wasn’t thinking about me when the release date was planned but it’s a nice synchronicity nevertheless.
I’ve been thinking about my blogging again lately. I haven’t always been particularly consistent with how much and when I write but I have been expressing myself through my writing in one medium or another for almost 25 years.
I write for many reasons. Sometimes, as I explained in my post titled “You’re miserable because you’re not writing”, I write “because it unblocks the dam of emotion that has built up”. Mostly, I write because I have a strong compulsion to share ideas and interesting things.
The more I write, the more I learn and, soon enough, “that all gives way to a wonderful flow that you don’t want to stop so you keep writing to keep the pipes clear and fresh water flowing”.
I write a lot about writing because it is so much a part of how I express myself. My other big outlet is my photography and I tend to swing between writing-intensive and photography-intensive phases. Occasionally, like the last week or so, I am somewhat balanced between the two.
It’s a flow. It comes and goes. That is the nature of my writing and photography. Hopefully I will discover how to bring the two together in the year ahead. I have a feeling that achieving that will uplift both passions and create new opportunities for me.
Here are some of my thoughts on this blog’s 10th anniversary. I think they remain as relevant today as they did two years ago:
This blog began its life under a different domain on 6 December 2004. It has survived in one form or another until now, thanks and no thanks to me. I started my blog after tinkering with blogging back in the primordial days of the social Web when blogging was the New Thing, after interactive fora. Keeping a blog alive for 10 years feels like an achievement. Having 3 527 blog posts under my metaphorical belt (not counting this one) feels like I have made a meaningful contribution towards documenting my life and the things that interest me. It is something worth commemorating.
Image credit: Pixabay
I just read Jeff Jarvis’ Medium post titled “Returning Scarcity to News” and especially appreciated his argument for journalism as a service, rather than as a commodity content business:
Only when we reconceive of journalism as a service rather than as a factory that churns out a commodity we call content, only when we measure our value not by attention to what we make but instead by the positive impact we have in lives and communities, and only when we create business models that reward quality and value will we build that quality and value.
News and entertainment publishers are increasingly looking to major platforms like Google and Facebook for wider distribution of their content and alternative revenue options. It’s easy to understand why: these platforms have far greater reach than any single publisher and with ad blocking increasingly hurting publishers, they need to do something. And soon.
I’m cautiously optimistic that ad blocking will prove to be a positive trend that forces publishers to focus on better content and improve the overall ecosystem. I think we will have to wait a couple years for business models to settle and the dust to settle before we can draw any conclusions.
Still, I am hopeful that good quality content will win.
I recommend reading the rest of Prof Jarvis’ post on Medium:
Image credit: kaboompics
I came across a post on Facebook that is a great reminder that Facebook can’t censor your blog posts when you publish them outside Facebook’s sphere of influence.
Two days ago, Facebook deleted my personal account of the Holocaust, my intellectual property, for no reason in the world and under the sole justification that it “violated Facebook standards.”
I don’t know if Facebook actually did delete the original version of this post but this sort of thing happens on services like Facebook (and not just Facebook) all the time (often for good reasons, too).
Essentially, services like Facebook can (and do) remove posts that they feel are in violation of their terms of service. Reasons can include posts that advocate racism, incite people to commit violence and other bad things.
Sometimes, though, posts are removed simply because they offend some troll’s peculiar sensitivities. Examples of this include posts depicting breastfeeding.
Ran Shirdan’s Facebook highlights the importance of having your own space on the Web that companies like Facebook (and others) can’t censor simply because your content doesn’t meet their standards. It is almost trivially easy to create your own space on the Web which can share from to other services. Start with WordPress.com or even Medium.
Sure, the flipside of this is that racists, bigots and other offensive people can also publish their crap outside Facebook’s sphere of influence but that is the trade-off for your ability to publish the stuff that is meaningful to you and that you feel should be shared with the world without fear of being arbitrarily censored. By the way, there are ways to deal with bad stuff being published on independent sites too but they aren’t perfect.
Sometimes you have something important to share. Sometimes you just want to share something that isn’t that important. You should be free to express yourself in legitimate ways without worrying that some troll will have you censored.