Sunday, 4 November 2012

Edgerank has changed again? Then stop being lazy and deal with it!

Crying Child

There’s been more than a bit of coverage over the past few weeks about how Facebook, in light of their IPO a few months ago, are altering Edgerank for brands to reduce the amount of paid exposure you are getting in a user's newsfeed.

But what’s the actual motivation behind the gripes? I’ll tell you what they are from a community managers point of view - and I think you’ll find it unpalatable.

It’s because Community Managers don’t want to have to work any harder. And that’s a shitty attitude to take.

My gut feeling about the changes when I first heard of them was ‘great, now I have to go to my higher-uppers and stakeholders, and tell them that the reason they aren’t getting as much reach is because they aren’t spending enough money.’ Bit selfish? Yes. It is. I gave myself a slap.

It’s the kind of flat-earth, ‘don’t want to know’ attitude that we are supposed to be fighting.

Facebook, like Google, is entitled to monetise access to it’s core proposition - it’s massive user base. They have bills to pay and lights to keep on, and innovations to drive on their platform.

They are not a public service, they are a business built on monetising users details.

You are not entitled to completely free marketing from Facebook. And somebody following your brand isn’t going to lose any sleep if they see less of your updates in their news feed if their only interaction with them has been by getting them to click ‘Like’ on your page in exchange for some goodies.

As a user, my newsfeed is starting to resemble the floor of a trade show, rather than a place where my friends hang out when they are at work and share stuff. It bores the arse off of me. And I am a Community Manager.

There are currently too many branded messages in news feeds. But my friends are there, (and their friends, and so on) and I don’t want to move to a network where I might not be able to keep up with them.

Facebook know this, but they also know that a user’s patience is finite. They’ve learnt from Myspace’s mistakes.

And I’m glad they have. I agree with this latest move. Want to even the balance? Then it’s down to you to produce better content.

If you want an ad-free equivalent to Facebook? Try Diaspora (open source goodness) or Google+ (for now). But don’t count on many of your friends being there for the time being.

You are on Facebook. Your friends are on Facebook. Brands want to be on Facebook and reach you and your friends. And that’s why Facebook are monetising your newsfeed.

QED.