Control your Facebook Newsfeed
As a social marketer and photographer have you ever felt your Facebook newsfeed is completely out of control? That it only seems to be a select group of people posting roughly similar subjects and that all the others have simply stopped.
Where did they go!?
The answer is that they went to the bottom of your algorithm.
My very brief research tells me that there are approximately 1.5 billion items of information posted on Facebook each day and that almost 5 billion items are shared each day. The average user sees only the top 30% of items.
There is a major traffic jam of information and nowhere to put it on our newsfeeds - it is being culled, throttled and relegated based on your historic preferences and a set of subtle markers.
The problem for photographers is that we typically engage with a bunch of other photographers daily and our families and 'normal' friends much less. That model only leads one way. Pretty soon you have missed your godsons' birthday and not realised your sister got engaged!
Have you noticed also, that Facebook has a habit of grouping posts and comments by engagement? 'Top Stories' and 'Top Comments' and that maybe those stories and comments received engagement because the person posting has a big list of friends?
I'm finding that my algorithm is trying to be a bit too clever and ends up being, forgive the language, dumb as shit, instead.
I am a human being. I am interested in a wide range of subjects, I am also interested in and open to being swayed by, opposing views and tastes. I dislike having my content so strongly curated. What can we do to take back control?
There are two ways to read your Newsfeed. The Facebook way and the other way. If you set it to the other way, invariably Facebook finds a way to change it back.
The 'other' way, is to view it by 'Most Recent' first. Suddenly a whole world of new content will open up! People you thought were dead, start to populate your newsfeed with all sorts of subjects that have nothing to do with photography. Yay!
The bad news is that the checkbox always mysteriously migrates back to 'Top Stories'. We must be vigilant.
You may also notice the 'Edit Preferences' item in the menu. There you can tell Facebook to do things like prioritising your sister and godson's posts! Hide posts and unfollow people. Find pages to like or completely eliminate everything to do with Pokemon and Candy Crush Saga.
One of the things that Facebook is very good for, is finding people that you would never have met in normal life and building a relationship with them through common interests. I regard many of these people to be good friends. Old friends even. However, what happens, if you neglect a friendship?
As our Newsfeed becomes congested we see and engage with fewer posts from that person, we lose touch, we stop engaging and pretty soon we have no idea what that person is doing.
Enter the 'Friends Lists'. Friend Lists are a very powerful feature we can use to organise our content. We can group friends into different lists defined by any criteria we like.
For example, I have a list for South African photographers and another for those based in the rest of the world. I have a list of non-photographers, a list of university friends, another for family or people who have joined one of my groups.
These lists help me to stay in touch by filtering the content in my newsfeed. If I spend a little time cycling through these lists I can catch up with the latest from most of my friends instead of just some of them!
We've all seen adverts on Facebook and we all know how many of these are spookily specific.
Tidying up adverts, for us photographers is vital. The reason it is vital is the random way we spread our Facebook 'love'. We 'like' a lot of stuff! We like a lot of stuff we might not really really like. We may even like some stuff we don't actually like at all.
All this feeds the algorithm, which then spits out rubbish - including irrelevant and spurious adverts.
Now I hate adverts at the best of times and I hope you notice that there are none of those hyper-annoying pop-ups ruining your reading experience on this site? No adverts at all in fact.
Facebook does make us view adverts. We can choose to curate those ads or ignore them. The downside to curating them is that Facebook knows more about you and your preferences. The upside, is you see things that may actually be interesting or useful. You can decide.
Personally, I do curate mine. You can do it by selecting 'Settings' and 'Adverts'.
By now, I hope, your Newsfeed will be semi-tamed! In the following posts I will describe some of the other tips and tricks I have discovered to make my online life easier to manage.
I'm sure there are a whole host of other ways to tame Facebook and I'd love to hear some of your ideas! Leave a comment below.