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Facebook’s Declining Utility

Facebook is a multi billion dollar juggernaught and companies have spent millions of dollars on building brand recognition on the social media platform. Rather than blogs and even over Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram, authors use this service to sell themselves to readers.

Like Amazon, Facebook operates under super secret algorithms that it is constantly tweaking. The premise of Facebook is simple. Set up a profile and friend those people and pages that interest you. Your News Feed will then be populated with self curated information that will enrich and entertain you. Back in 2010 (which is the Cretaceous period in internet years), Facebook was referring more traffic than Google because the links, comics, videos were all recommended by “Friends” of yours.

The problem that exists now is that Facebook is now hiding pages and posts from people and pages that you have once liked. It’s hard to say whether this is in response to user complaints or whether this is the result of something a little more sinister.

Facebook’s platform is selling exposure to the 500 million Facebook users. There are twenty-five million small business owners that use Facebook to sell its wares or its brand to consumers. But more and more reports from businesses big and small are saying that there is both a lack of accountability for the ad dollars spent but that ad dollars have little or no efficacy.

There are two main types of Facebook entities: the Profile and the Page.  Per the terms of service, a Profile is to be linked directly to a real person. A Page can be used in any number of ways. There are author Pages and Pages devoted to just a particular book or series. Sometimes those book pages are set up by fans and others are created by the author herself.  Facebook requires companies like Nike or CocaCola to set up a Page rather than a Profile and all Profiles are capped at 5000 friends.

To interact you can “friend” a profile or “follow” a page and once that is done, you can like, share or comment on a status update. I admit to being quite the Facebook rube. Early in its inception I created one for personal use and I accepted every Friend request. Then one day I complained about a negative encounter I had with opposing counsel. It was a short update and something like “I really hate defense counsel some days.” Annnnd a judge that I hadn’t known could see my updates commented on it, trying to console me. Needless to say, I panicked, deleted my status update and defriended everyone but my family and a few very close friends. I remain under 40 friends today and only recently opened it up to accept new people because Facebook is the primary way that moms communicate about their kids. I feel conscripted to using Facebook against my will.

New algorithms from Facebook will decrease the amounts of view Pages receive to 1 or 2%. So even if you liked a Page, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see the content on the page if you are in the 1 or 2% unless that Page owner decides to pay for you to see it. (Dear Author has a Facebook page but I’ve not done much with it other than to post links to the Dear Author website content).  Lisa Renee Jones says that even if you pay, it’s not reaching the audience that it is intended to reach aka the people who have “liked” your Page.

From a reader point of view, in order to continue to see the content that you “liked” or “followed” you have to interact with that Page or Profile. I’m a pretty passive user. I use my likes to indicate that this post had interest to me. I shouldn’t have to like a status update every day in order for that content to keep showing up in my news feed. I shouldn’t be required by Facebook to share, like, comment on a Page or Profile if I’ve already given my consent (by friending or following) to see. While I don’t follow many authors on Facebook, I follow a TON of bloggers and I get a lot of information from them regarding new releases, new trends, and price drops. But if I have to like, comment, or share in order to continue getting that information, Facebook’s utility is reduced. And I don’t expect those bloggers to be able to promote and pay for views as an author or a big business would. (I read in one article that some large companies spend $100,000 per day on Facebook marketing).

At least one online marketer says that if Pages and Posts don’t get the results they want, it’s because the owners are doing it wrong. But it seems to me that Facebook should show me the content that I’ve requested without extra effort. I get that Facebook is a business and that it’s unlikely that my little post will make any difference but I’m kind of fed up with Facebook and this is my platform to talk about it.

What about you? Are you seeing a decrease or increase in utility from Facebook as a consumer and reader?


Facebook is different from the rest of the online ad industry, which follows a standard of allowing click audits by third parties like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.

Read more:

In 2012, General Motors announced that it would cease paying any sums to advertise its presence on Facebook given that the paid ads were having little influence on purchases.  GM maintains its Facebook page

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Deborah Nam-Krane
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 06:11:39

    Speaking as an author, I’ve found it minimally useful at best. However, some friends helped me confirm that the best way to get page views is through pictures and videos. This irritates me to no end- if I wanted to be on Tumblr, I’d be on Tumblr. Just based on a cursory glance, I think my blog, which I do almost nothing to promote (except via autolinks to G+, Twitter and FB) gets more visibility than my Facebook page.

    Speaking as an FB user, I’ve resorted to using lists to get through my Feed (cuts down hugely on sponsored posts). In my lists I’ve included Pages I always want to see. That’s been very helpful. However, FB lists aren’t nearly as good as Twitter lists, and you seem to run into problems after more than 100 profiles/pages.

  2. HJ
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 06:38:25

    I’m a new user if Facebook, a reader/consumer, not an author or seller. I have deliberately restricted the number of my friends so that it is very low, so that (as I rather naively thought) I’d be able to see and keep up with all their posts. I have also liked and/or followed several authors, but again limited to a few favourites and a couple of groups.

    I am finding it a frustrating experience. I thought that if I liked and/or followed an author, all their posts would come through to my new feed. It seems that they do not. Periodically I go through the list of actual friends clicking on them to check I’ve seen everything from them, and I think I have done, almost always. But it’s much less easy to do that check for authors I have liked or followed. I really have to search to find that list. When I have checked, I find numerous examples of posts which I have never seen. And that is despite the fact that whenever I do see a post from them I almost always “like” the posts.

    So even though I’ve been very selective, and am following very few people, their posts do not come through to my News Feed. This is totally unsatisfactory. I’ve chosen who I want to see – so let me see them! There doesn’t appear to be anything I can do to make this happen.

    I’d like to abandon FB altogether but I feel I can’t, for the reason I eventually joined it after resisting it for years: a lot of people now limit their interaction on other media so that if I do not stay on FB I will miss even more of what they have to say. I much prefer to use LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and a Reader system which uses RSS to follow blogs (and I still do use those), because with them I can be sure that if there is activity I will see it. But more and more people seem to be abandoning those methods or putting additional stuff on FB. I also use Goodreads, but that’s hit and miss: some authors are very active on it, others don’t use it at all.

    I just don’t understand the logic of setting up a system which gives the impression that it works in a particular way, and then using an algorithm to ensure that it doesn’t work that way. What do FB hope to achieve by that? If the intention is to force “business users” to pay, then that will only work when those users have faith that they will get what they pay for (i.e. that every single one of their likers/followers will see every single post), and at the moment it seems that not only do the users not believe that, but also that they are right not to believe that. So, what is FB actually planning to achieve? And why is it not transparent about it?

    I feel as though, as a reader/user, I’m “paying” FB quite enough by having numerous unwanted “sponsored” posts in my News Feed. I’ll put up with that if the Feed also includes everything else posted by friends and those I have liked/followed. But if it does not then I am left feeling cheated and dissatisfied. I also resent that there seems to be nothing I can do to correct the position – and nothing which can be done by those I have liked/followed which will 100% ensure I see their posts.

  3. HJ
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 06:43:12

    I have just seen Deborah Nam-Krane’s comment, which she posted while I was drafting mine. I’d love to know how to use lists as she does. Please could she or someone else explain to me what they are and how to use them? Thanks.

    (But the fact that she and I are resorting to such things does demonstrate how poor the news feed is.)

    And I agree with her that authors shouldn’t have to use pictures or videos to get seen!

  4. Lisa J
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 07:21:54

    SBTB has this same discussion going and I’ll repeat what I said there. I’m a reader, but I’m not on Facebook and have no interest in being on Facebook. The problem for me is when an author (or anyone really) ties everything to their Facebook page. I miss out on fun posts, upcoming release information, promotions, etc. Somehow, the non-FB person seems less important than someone who is on FB. It has definitely changed how I think of some authors/companies.

    I have watched all of the changes from afar and I am definitely glad I have not chosen to jump in the pool. My life is definitely not interesting enough to have a page and post my goings on. It would probably bore everyone to tears if they saw my daily life.

  5. Sunita
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 08:18:26

    I’m like LisaJ; I don’t have a Facebook account and do not want to create one, so any author stuff that goes on there is closed to me. I don’t have a problem with their choice most of the time, but in practice it means that I know less about those authors and I’m probably less likely to read their stuff. I do wish authors would cross-post at least their informational stuff to a blog or website, because I literally can’t read what they write on Facebook, and I don’t know how many authors realize that we non-Facebookers are out there.

    I understand why Facebook would be trying to monetize this type of advertising/promo; it’s basically free or nearly free for the producers, and it probably reduces the amount of non-voluntary advertising people are willing to see in their feeds. But one problem is that fans are likely to blame the authors/businesses for the fact that status updates are not showing up, rather than Facebook, and they won’t realize that it’s their own behavior that affects whether the posts show up (unless they are paid for).

    The other interesting thing in the links you’ve given us is the way the posts’ reach is corrupted by false clicks, i.e., the clicks generated by click farms.

  6. Brianne
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 08:34:43

    I joined facebook mostly to keep up with pictures of my friends kids (about 4 years) ago. I have since added lots of friends and some favorite authors and such. I am not tethered to it constantly, but do check at least a few times a day. I am disappointed with the recent changes, because it is now hiding some of the people I have interacted with often, even people in my family. I think they are going to lose users, as I think most people do not like being told what they should and should not be interested in. It is worse as a reader, as those posts and updates are really not appearing because I do not comment on most of what I read, but still want the information. I have found myself going directly to the blogs of the authors I like, thorough their webpages, as opposed to linking through facebook.

  7. Jayne
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 08:47:22

    @Sunita: Me too. I’ve never had and never intend to have a FB page.

  8. EC
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 09:00:58

    This is why, as an information consumer, I still prefer to subscribe to rss feeds. (Thanks for having one, Dear Author, and for showing a link to the feed on your website!) When Google Reader met its demise last year, I looked into other ways to keep up to date on various topics. I found out about numerous iPhone/iPad apps which, like Facebook, decide what news they think you want to see or what blog entries you want to read. I found them very frustrating to use. I subscribe to over 100 feeds right now, and although I don’t read them all every day, I like getting the chance to read all of the headlines and deciding for myself whether I want to read a full article. I like it enough that I’m now a paying, premium user of the rss aggregator I use as a replacement for Google Reader.

    As a librarian who uses Facebook as a customer relations tool, I have to say there aren’t any real alternatives for us right now. We’re on other platforms such as Twitter and a traditional blog, and we don’t get much response there at all. In our community, Facebook is the thing. Whether we get as much exposure as we’d like because of Facebook’s algorithm is moot–we have to use it.

    While I’m personally not much of a Facebook user, I can understand people wanting to funnel all their incoming information into one “inbox,” whether it be Facebook, Twitter, email or rss feeds. I think it’s important to at least try to offer content in all of those formats, because you can’t really predict how individual readers will want to receive it.

    I recently found out about a new blog from a major book publisher, and wanted to subscribe to its rss feed. However, there was no link on their website for a feed. They show links to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and you can sign up for daily emails. I actually wrote them to find out about a feed, and it turns out they have one but don’t have a link to it on their page “because so few users still use it.” (A self-fulfilling prophecy if I ever heard one.) I wonder how many potential readers they are losing.

    Long story short, I guess my point is that despite its shortcomings, I don’t think Facebook as a platform is going away any time soon, any more than rss has gone away. At the most, it just takes a little cutting and pasting to put the same content up on several different platforms–so why not do so and reach everyone you can?

  9. Nadia Lee
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 09:06:14

    I still use FB, but recently, I’ve decided to focus more of my effort on building my blog. I’m tired of FB telling me who I should be talking to / keep in touch with and who should be able to view my updates. Their algorithm makes no sense to me because oftentimes they show me the feed of people I rarely interact with, while hiding people who I actually keep in touch with / talk to.

  10. Moriah Jovan
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 09:25:52

    I can’t tell you how much this makes my head explode. I couldn’t stand FB to begin with (and I keep having to ask Dude WTF I’m doing wrong, only to have him say, “They changed it again.”) but this was where my readers were. So I got a profile and a page. My page has a whopping 123 likes, but any given post reaches ~12 of those people, and FB asks me to pay to boost the post. I don’t think so.

    And that’s not to mention what I have asked to see, but don’t. You can’t just cut the consumer’s experience because you want to monetize. What are my readers supposed to do, ask me directly to pay to boost my posts so they can see them, even though they’ve already ask to be able see them?

    I’m also going to head back to my blog, which I’ve neglected (not in favor of FB, however), because I am not paying a non-ad agency, non-PR company to possibly maybe if-they-feel-like-it show my posts to people who already indicated they want to see them.

  11. Darlynne
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 10:33:17

    This explains why the news from pages I like rarely or never makes its way to mine, including a singer/songwriter friend who has to sneak information into her personal page.

    It’s all just another reminder that FB is interested only in FB’s best interests. The rest of us are just fodder.

  12. Shae Connor
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 11:34:08

    I see almost nothing in my FB news feed from pages I’ve liked. The only thing I’ve found to make a significant difference is when I share a status update; I appear to see more posts from that page for a while after that. I have an author page on FB but never use it, because it sure seems to be a waste of time. I do have a profile page and use that regularly, but I’m a much heavier user of Twitter.

    I have found one helpful workaround that FB page owners can suggest: when you like a page, you can opt to receive notifications when that page post new updates. I’ve done that with a few pages I particularly want to see information from (such as conferences I’m attending). The option is a drop-down menu under the Like button on the page.

    Of course, I’m sure FB will soon figure out a way to make that useless, too. Sigh.

  13. Brianna (The Book Vixen)
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 11:39:12

    Facebook keeps digging its grave deeper and deeper. I’m waiting for the day FB goes the way of MySpace. The sooner, the better. I hate that FB hides content from me, content I want to see. I don’t use FB much (I prefer Twitter) but there are some bloggers/authors who post stuff only on FB. For those pages I want to keep tabs on, I subscribe to their FB RSS feed and read it in Feedly. So take that, Facebook :P

  14. Jane
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 11:41:39

    @Brianna (The Book Vixen): I didn’t realize that FB had an RSS feed! You may have changed my life!

  15. Jody W.
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 11:47:34

    *fist shake of RAGE* Hate FB. Useless. Wish it would get off my lawn. (My ratty-ass lawn, cuz I like it that way.) But I need it for family stuff and because “authors have to be there blah blah”.

    2 years ago before I knew about the fake likes, I suckered into a campaign that has RUINED one of my two FB pages, the one for Meankitty. I call TOTAL BULLSHIT on the rationale that my lack of engagement is because I’m not engaging…at least on Meankitty’s FB page :)

    /*fist shake of RAGE*

  16. Andrea T
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 12:02:33

    As a blogger, I’m really glad I never relied too heavily on FB. The bloggers who focus there rather than their blogs are now scrambling to make sure everyone follows all the little tricks to see their posts, which, FB will probably shut that down too.

    I use BlogLovin’ to see posts from authors and bloggers. I do check in on FB daily, but don’t track down pages to catch up. I’ve started using G+ a bit more, but it’s hard to filter through. And of course, twitter.

  17. Tamara
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 12:49:13

    I left Facebook for good and have yet to regret it, as the negative things I hear about it seem to increase daily. There was nothing I ever liked about Facebook, but their incessant homophobia was the deciding factor in cancelling my account.

    It may be a useful platform for authors, but I don’t see how. It’s just a whole lot of clutter and noise, as far as I’m concerned. Twitter is far better (though I still hate the aligned conversations that make me see the same comments over and over. I expect Twitter will shortly be ruined, too. They can’t leave well enough alone.)

  18. Carolyn Jewel
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 13:39:12

    I dislike facebook. I hate it, actually.

    This a bazillion times:
    ::I feel conscripted to using Facebook against my will::

    As an author, of course I have an author page. Many readers are on FB and prefer that environment so I feel I don’t have any choice but to have the presence there. As to engagement, what FB has done makes me angry. In order to get money out of me, they essentially make my page and its posts invisible to just about all the people who have identified themselves as my fans by liking my Page. If I want to reach more of them, I have to pay.

    There have been at least 3 different iterations of cross-posting blog content to a Page, and each change broke the previous method. FB is constantly breaking the way things work and constantly changing settings to expose more and more information I do not want exposed.

    Their insistence on linking a Page to a real identity shows no understanding of the risks that poses — to women in particular.

    I see little evidence that boosting a post does anything but send money to FB — because boosting a post still only means a post reaches a subset of the people who have liked my page. This is FB’s right — it’s their environment and they can do whatever they want. Fine. But if they make the space essentially useless for the stated purpose, then they are building a huge amount of ill-will from me, and, I imagine, other users. I often wonder if FB spends any time thinking about what happened to MySpace. End users are fickle, and when you treat the end user as nothing but a collection of metadata to be monitized– f*ck their privacy and their safety– then don’t be surprised when users abandon you for something better, easier, and less vicious.

    Basically, do as little as I can at FB and still engage with my fans. But I see a HUGE problem for Carolyn Jewel, Author when my posts about my books are relegated to FB Siberia while my posts of pictures of the flowers in my garden get 100x the engagement because FB has decided pictures are better. It’s not that I object to posting pretty pictures of my flowers, I don’t. But at my author Page, I want my fans to see content about my books. I resent the heck out of the fact that FB deliberately suppresses posts that constitute the entire reason for the Page and for someone to have liked my page.

    As a regular user of FB — wow. I hate that just as much. First, when my son, nephew, and nieces were young I was horrified at how willing FB was to expose that to the world because of the connection between Carolyn Jewel, author and Carolyn Jewel a private person. I thank goodness every day that my son is not on FB. See above in re how dangerous this is for women.

    As a regular person, if I like a Page or accept another person as a friend, then I want to see their stuff in my feed. Period. The fact that I have to go randomly like posts of my friends in order to keep seeing stuff is stupid. There are people who have now dropped off my feed because I didn’t click like enough. I’ve given up in that space.

    I HATE it when someone links to a FB post on twitter, a blog or other non-FB post. In the main, I can never see that content– or it takes 5 clicks to see it. And what the hell is the point of 25 posts to twitter that say “so and so uploaded a picture to facebook”? I do not care. None of those tweets tell me why I should care. I don’t understand why anyone at FB thought that would be a good way to implement such functionality and I sure don’t understand why an author would think that’s effective.

    Basically, I hate FB personally and professionally, in case you couldn’t tell, and I hope their demise comes sooner rather than later.

  19. Deborah Nam-Krane
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 14:17:15

    (Hope I’m doing this reply thing right!) @HJ: Looks like they made it harder to create a list since I created mine- surprise! :/ Here’s the FB Help page on this: Quick- do this before they take it away!

    I actually left FB two years ago, but I got dragged back by some friends to participate in a discussion group, which I have since left. Hmm…

  20. library addict
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 14:45:54

    I know that not being on Facebook at all I am in the minority. I think even if authors spend a lot of time on Facebook and only do contests on Facebook that is fine. I may resent that I can’t try to win an ARC, but figure that’s the price I pay for choosing not to be on Facebook.

    But unless they have a proper website where those of us not using Facebook can see them, it is probably resulting in lost sales. I may try an author once if a book has been recommended to me by someone I trust. But if I am trying to look up the next release or see where a book fits in a series and there’s only a Facebook link which more than half the time I cannot see because it takes me to a Facebook login screen, it doesn’t bode well.

  21. Barbara Wallace
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 16:20:10

    Interesting read. I’ve been debating breaking up with Facebook for a while now, as I’ve had my doubts whether it was a useful marketing tool or not. The best marketing is true interaction with readers, and let’s face it – Facebook is making it harder and harder to do. Plus, like with Twitter, it seems like it’s become a lot of “Buy my book” screaming – thus making it doubly hard to have a true conversation.

  22. Harper Kingsley
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 16:53:43

    I like the friends feed on LiveJournal and use it for all kinds of things. If someone has an rss for their blog, even if they don’t have a LiveJournal themselves I can create a feed page on lj. It will only show the recent 10 posts or whatever they’ve allowed their feed, but it means I can keep updated on what’s going on. Plus, once an rss is created, it’s there for other people to use.

    I’ll have to see if I can catch FB feeds with it. (I didn’t even know FB had feeds!) If it works FB might actually be useful to me, as I’ve found their news feed terrible. The people I want to hear from get relegated to the bottom of the list, while all kinds of advertisements end up on top. It’s frustrating. So if LJ can save me … there’s another reason I still love livejournal the best :)

  23. Elaine
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 17:23:09

    I’ve reached a state of Learned Helplessness with Facebook: it seems as though every time I figure out how to use it, they change the functionality. For sure, their Edgerank algorithm seems spectacularly badly suited to showing me what I want to see. I have decided to delike almost all pages, and put the remaining pages into lists: writers, crafts, misc.

  24. HJ
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 17:30:44

    @Deborah Nam-Krane: Thank you!

  25. txvoodoo
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 17:55:21

    “But it seems to me that Facebook should show me the content that I’ve requested without extra effort. ”

    Exactly this. I follow some pages of local businesses, and in order to see special events or sales, I have to add them to my notifications or I would *never* see them.

    it’s times like this I miss Google Reader. I could RSS subscribe to so many things, and I’d be assured of seeing all the things I want to see.

  26. hapax
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 20:41:26

    The City which employs me has “unofficially” required that all employees have a RealName FB page, and that said page “may” be monitored not only for what we post, but what appears on our newsfeed.

    Needless to say, that pretty much killed any engagement with FB for all City employees.

  27. Roni Loren
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 21:56:34

    I agree with what Carolyn Jewel said above. And the privacy issue is a biggie for author self/ personal self thing. There are so many things FB forces you to use your profile for that pages can’t do that it’s near impossible to keep your personal account separate. (And it’s against TOS to have two profiles, so you can’t even get around it that way.)

    And the advertising thing has me ready to quit FB altogether. Only showing 1% of people who have opted in to see your information is ridiculous. What’s the point? That’s like having a newsletter, getting people to sign up for it, and then the newsletter company telling you that you have to pay each time for each person you want to send a newsletter to or they won’t get it. And as a reader, the same thing. If you sign up for a newsletter, you wouldn’t be expected to email the author every week just to say –hey, signed up and really want you to send me that newsletter, just wanted to remind you. If you opt in, that means you want to see that information.

    At this point, I’m on FB against my will for the most part because I have readers there who I like to be connected with and who are only on FB. But as an author, I’m putting my efforts into encouraging readers to follow my blog or sign up for my newsletter. I can’t control anyone’s space or platform except mine. The social networks can change their rules at will. So even though there are some I love, like Twitter, I know that I can’t set up my house on that foundation because things could change any moment.

  28. John Holton
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 22:49:57

    I gave up Facebook for Lent. It’s turned out to be the best thing for my circadian rhythms. sanity and creativity. I might not rejoin after Easter. Between the people who post like squirrels on crack and the groups that stir up the imaginary hobgoblins (to paraphrase Mencken), not to mention the manipulation of my news feed by Zuckerberg’s mob, it’s lost nearly all of its utility. It has its uses: my brothers and I talk more through Facebook than on the phone or in person, it’s good to keep up with my nephews and cousins, and it’s good to know where the people I used to work with have ended up. (I’m spared the ads, thanks to Ad Block Plus.) Aside from that, forget it.

  29. Brianna (The Book Vixen)
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 23:36:31


    It’s not too difficult to do, though it’s not something Facebook advertises. This is the RSS link you’ll use:

    To find out a Page’s ID, enter the URL for the Facebook Page here:

    Then copy and paste the numeric ID at the end of the RSS Link above.

    For example, the RSS link for The Book Vixen Facebook Page would be:

  30. gloria
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 23:48:50 Veritasium shows why paying for advertising on Facebook is actually worse than doing nothing, it actively suppresses engagement with fans due to the massive amounts of fake clicks the page will receive. This is a huge problem for Facebook and one that won’t be solved anytime soon. All I can say after watching that is if you are an author DO NOT pay for advertising on Facebook because the vast majority of your clicks will be from fake accounts, which will suppress engagement from your real fans. It’s a terrible way to run a business.

  31. Kaetrin
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 00:43:55

    I have a FB page for my blog where I cross-post but that’s about it (same for Tumblr actually). I may get a little more into Tumblr one day (probably not) – I like blogs for longer posts and Twitter for the rest. But I felt I should have a FB page because discoverability. What bothers me most about having the Page for my blog is that I can only comment on my own Page. I can’t, using my Page, go and comment on another person’s post. It limits my interaction on FB and makes me dislike it even more.

    My personal FB page has very few friends and mostly only those who live in other countries plus one or two friends who only use FB to catch up and my privacy settings are locked down tight. I’m so tempted to delete my personal page but have resisted so far because of those two or three people I’d have difficulty catching up with otherwise.

  32. Isobel Carr
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:28:06

    @gloria: Thank you for posting that! I was going to go dig it out because it perfectly answers why there’s no point in any of us paying to advertise on FB. I can’t STAND FB. My publisher forced me to start a page, and so I did. About the ONLY thing I find useful is the group feature. So I joined a group for historical romance readers so I can actually interact with them.

  33. cayenne
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:52:05

    Egads, FB is annoying. Like many people, I have 2 hats when it comes to FB use, and so I have to separate my personal usage from business, but they do switch around a lot (of course – I only have one head!).

    I’ve been in the media advertising industry for over 20 years, and only once have I confidently recommended using FB for a media campaign (a contest that was not exclusively dependent on FB entries, and thus wasn’t a cheat to get people to like the Client’s page), and that was several years ago, before the many platform changes. For me, as a media planner, the biggest problem with FB has been the lack of audit; they’ve always claimed that the ad interactions “proved” that the advertising worked, but, as Veritasium shows, that is complete and utter crap – last time I looked, click farms were not my target audience. Since FB’s ads are non-standard and don’t serve serve through third-party services like DART, they control the whole process, but without verifiability, I can’t compare FB ads’ performance to other formats, so with limited Client budgets and all other goals being equal, I’ll use sites that can offer audited results. FB is far and away the largest social platform in much of the world, which makes it attractive for campaigns with Reach goals (though these changes clobber FB’s ability to meet Reach targets by sabotaging the exposures), but it isn’t the only one, and media planners (and Clients) can find alternatives if they adjust their expectations for campaign success and do some thought work to use those alternatives most effectively.

    As an individual, I use it less and less for all the reasons Jane and commenters here have already noted, and when my ad brain kicks against the personal brain, I recognize that it’s because of what FB is doing to its platform in order to monetize that creates a less fulfilling user experience. But both brains realize that FB won’t and doesn’t have to change unless there is a mass abandonment of FB, i.e. individuals and companies closing their profiles and pages, so that FB generates less internal traffic and consequently can’t claim as many page views or likes; to support that, they should change to auditable ad serving so that relevant advertisers can be convinced of a robust and honest environment. Without steady and auditable user traffic, there’s no point for advertisers to buy FB, and ultimately they can’t monetize or survive. I give them max two years under this model.

  34. Estara Swanberg
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 13:59:04

    @Harper Kingsley: SO THIS! It all comes down to LJ – I have never not had my account there and there’s a lot you can get even for free – and adblockers take care of the rest. AND they have nested, numbered comments and comment editing.

    Whenever I don’t find a particular feed in the feed search – their presenation of the feed list is atrocious – I subscribe for a month and create as many feeds I like for my reading. I basically use LJ as a feed aggregator AND because a lot of my favourite writers and fellow friends (from the sf&f field) still have a presence there OR mirror their own blog’s content on LJ (or dreamwidth, but you can mirror that, too). And then there’s GR, of course, which if you keep your interactions to a small group of people you know, is a similar experience to LJ, come to think of it.

  35. txvoodoo
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 15:38:36

    @Brianna (The Book Vixen): Thank you, that’s incredibly useful! I think I might put that into feedly or livejournal. :D

  36. Angie
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 03:28:37

    Since you’re collecting data…. I don’t use Facebook. When it first popped up, I just wasn’t interested. Then I started hearing what sounded like valid complaints about privacy and settings, then more, then more. Now they’re trying to monetize their users more directly (users were never their customers under the original business model — users were the product, companies that bought data about the users were the customers) and it seems to be getting to the point where this “free” service is pretty useless unless you spend quite a bit of money. I have to admit I’m not exactly shocked, and nothing I’ve heard about these new developments makes me at all eager to get onto facebook, either personally or as either of my writer personas. [shrug]

    I’ve started using Google+ out of curiosity, but it’s not the center of my online presence, and I don’t ever see it becoming that. If G+ ever goes in the direction Facebook has gone, I’ll quit without a backward look.


  37. Irene Preston
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 13:04:33

    I’m curious how many people sort their posts by MOST RECENT. By default, Facebook sorts them by TOP STORIES, which is how they manage to not show so many posts.

    This is also how they get sponsored posts in your feed. I assume sponsored (paid) posts are always TOP STORIES.

    If you want to see the difference, you can easily change the sort. Of course the problem for those of us who subscribe to a lot of pages is that Facebook starts to look like Twitter, with posts whizzing by.

    I’m not taking Facebook’s side on this, TOP STORIES does filter out a lot of stuff I want to see regularly. I think a lot of people don’t know they even have an option though – and that’s the way Facebook likes it because it encourages page owners to pay for those top positions.

  38. txvoodoo
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 16:11:29

    @Irene Preston: I do – I have a bookmark set to it ( )

    The problem is that you can’t go backwards to “catch up” so you don’t miss your friends/family, it’s just a chronological dump. By the time I get to catchup, my page is scrolled so much that my browser tends to choke.

  39. Irene Preston
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 17:00:38

    @txvoodoo: Thanks – I had several people tell me they set their FB this way. I notice FB “reminds” you that you can move back to the Top Stories sort, but they never remind you about Most Recent.

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