Monday, February 14, 2011

Why the change in Facebook's news feed?

Although I only have a few hundred followers or 'likes' between my personal and business pages on Facebook. I had resolved to work harder on them, because I recognized great potential value there. Now, Facebook has removed most of that value, and I believe it was deliberate.

Until recently, when you made a post to your Facebook page (business or personal) it would show up on all your friends news feeds, unless they went to the extra effort of blocking you. The significance of this for a business owner is huge. If you have a business page with several thousand followers or 'likes', you could reach the same size audience as a good sized direct mail campaign, at no charge. The fine folks at Facebook must have realized this and decided they needed to put a stop to it immediately.

Now, your news feed on Facebook will only show updates from people with whom you've had some interaction recently (a post on their wall, message or something). You can change the setting so that you'll see all of the posts on your personal page, but there's no fixing the business page, and most people will likely go on using the default setting, having little interest in or knowledge of the omni-setting.

I guess Facebook believes they'll sell more ads if they severely limit their users' ability to communicate for free. Maybe they're right, but I doubt it. My own use of Facebook, as a form of business communication, will likely drop off instead of increasing, as it has now lost much of its potential value. Well, there's still Twitter, and Facebook has now created an opening for an ambitious potential competitor. I really can't argue about the price, but I don't believe the gatekeeper mentality will serve Facebook or its users well in the long run.

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