In case you missed it, Facebook — that social media darling we all love to hate — is making changes to its timeline…again.
Who cares, right? Usually, I would agree; most changes are nothing more than minor annoyances. No, I DON’T want to tag feature photos, thank you very much. What’s next; are you gonna ask me to pick my top eight friends? (For people under age 30, that’s a reference to My Space. ha!)
The latest changes benefit the little guys — those of us who use Facebook to connect with friends and family, share selfies (which I swear I haven’t done since ComicCon) and, on a rare occasion, collaborate with colleagues.
No, the changes WON’T impact the way you stalk your ex or overshare what your toddler ate, or didn’t eat, for breakfast. However, the changes WILL impact the already ailing news media, especially those niche online outlets whose readership was built on social networking. And the former journalist in me cringes at the potential fallout.
Just ask brand managers…hey, you can ask me; I was one of them up until last week. Engaging users on Facebook for my employer became increasingly challenging without paying to boost posts. The only time our engagement numbers were decent was when someone, usually an employee or the occasional student, shared a post on his or her personal timeline.
Earlier this year, Facebook began paying media outlets to post and promote their content in an effort to be THE social platform by which readers obtain their news. (Sorry, Mark — I still use Twitter for that.) The latest algorithm changes certainly seem to devalue news — at least news that’s being generated by real journalists and not curated by Facebook hacks… oops, I mean employees.
So for now, yes, the future seems bleak for publishers in terms of Facebook (and print, web, advertising, subscribers, etc…but that’s a topic for another day). The current saga of Facebook and news will continue; after all, it’s only a matter of time before another new, inane algorithm takes the current one’s place.