Facebook, I Don't Like You Anymore
For the first time ever, I'm really getting sick and tired of Facebook. Sure, it annoys me that it's so big and corporate, and that it keeps changing how it looks (not to mention the privacy settings), but after a quick moan, I - like everyone else - move on.
Recently, however, I've really begun to be confused by it. It no longer makes sense - in more than one way. Old posts suddenly appear at the top of my feed for no apparent reason whatsoever, I see the same people, the same pages, old stuff, repeated posts - I just don't get it. It seems to be getting worse and worse.
If you're a page owner, things aren't exactly peachy either. Organic reach has pretty much bitten the dust. Pay for your posts. Pay for attention. Pay for your fans. Or likes. Or whatever the hell they're called.
I haven't worked with social media and all their insights and metrics for a while now, so haven't got a clue where they're all at (not forgetting that just how these things work seems to change every few months), but really can't imagine what kind of algorithm is at work (I can barely imagine any kind of algorithm). If I'm honest, I've never really understood the point of all the page metrics and insights, and am finding it increasingly hard to understand what the point is of any posts at all, let alone keeping spreadsheets of seemingly random numbers that we use to convince ourselves that what we're doing is good. It's good, really it is.
Brands and companies are often on Facebook because they have to be. They're expected to be there, and e always on. Saying you're not on Facebook - as a person or brand - is likely to elicit a pretty surprised 'oh...', but those brands that bravely fought against the flow, well, I'm starting to think maybe they had the right idea all along.
I've always been - and still am - an advocate for brand presence. If I need help, I should be able to find it. Personally, I try Twitter first, then Facebook, and then the usual 'contact page' route. I do it this way as I've found it more effective. Twitter gets a quicker response, and somehow, to me, feels more personal. Facebook posts...well...now brands seem to think they can let them sit for a while before coming back. Just like emails, which is why the contact page route is my last call.
Help/advice - call it what you will - is all I really want (or need) from a brand on social media. There are exceptions. It's nice to find out that Fyne Ales will soon be stocked in Denmark, and yes, it's nice to follow local CrossFit boxes and see updates and news, but I'd be just as happy getting this information in newsletters. The vast majority of updates and posts in my feed are completely and utterly pointless, and add absolutely zero value to my life. I'd be surprised if anyone honestly felt different.
There's this need, completely self-made and self-perpetuating, to post. Post, post, post. If you haven't posted in a day, then OMG, your fans (if that is indeed what they're called) will forget you exist! Which they probably will. Your page and occasional update will drown in the millions of others out there (unless you cough up and pay to get your post featured). But if your fans are so fickle, why bother? Even if those fans do forget your page, will that affect their purchase/usage behaviour? I'm not so sure. If Fyne Ales, CrossFit, or Arizona Highways (probably my three 'favourite' pages) removed their pages, would I stop buying Fyne Ale beer? Would I cancel my CrossFit membership or Arizona Highways subscription? No. Will I forget they exist? No.
If people do need your services or products (be it FMCG or business views or customer support), they'll find you. All you have to do is be there when they need you. No one needs to have things shoved in their face all day long. We've just got too used to it. Brands on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Jelly and Snapchat - you name it, there's a brand on it. Everyone is shouting to be heard, but I'm not sure why. Is it so that someone writes a great case study? Is it so you get on Buzzfeed and Mashable about how totes epic your Vine was last week and how it was so smoothly integrated into your Instagram and Facebook streams?
Why not make a really good TV spot instead, and call it a day.
I think we're approaching the end of a very thick-skinned bubble. It seems as if for the past 20-something years we've been riding on the high of the internet and social media. It is, after a very cool thing, and we've been keen to milk it for all its worth, discovering, programming, and creating. But perhaps now we're finally beginning to come down off the high, and see the extent of the mess we've created. Not that it's a bad mess, not at all, but talk about out of hand. How many social profiles have I got? I don't know. 10? 15? Possibly (probably) more, and what for? They all started with good intentions, I'm sure. My Klout score is 62*. What does that even mean? What does that matter?
I think there are going to be a lot of social media ninjas looking for work in not too many years. I'm not saying social media is going to die, but it's going to change, that's for sure. What is it going to change to? I don't know. All I am fairly certain of is that Facebook is going to implode.
Not groundbreaking thoughts, but thoughts nonetheless.
*was. I deleted my profile after I wrote this. It served no purpose whatsoever.
UPDATE: Perhaps it'll all go a bit like Povio, a photo sharing app that requires you to ask your friends to share a photo in order for you to see it. Could the same thing work for brands, and Facebook? Maybe.