Will The New Facebook Hurt Your Blog?

AGAIN?

Last Thursday Mark Zuckerberg and friends hosted his fifth Facebook F8 Conference, the annual meeting of today’s most glamorous technorati where the Zuckster announces all the big changes we’ll be seeing on Facebook in the coming year.  A few days prior to F8 you probably found yourself disoriented/confused/annoyed when you logged onto Facebook and saw that the brilliant minds over at FB, Inc. had once again decided to muss up your newsfeed without even having the decency to consult you about it or give you any sort of real control over it at all.  What is this sudden clutter, you asked yourself, what in god’s name is this ticker on the side of the page, what the hell is the difference between a “top story” and a “recent” one and how could Facebook possibly determine which stories are which for me?  I don’t have answers to any of those questions for you, some things will forever remain mysteries, but one thing I do know is that, between these updates and the announcements made at F8, Zuck and Co. aim to get you on Facebook, keep you there for as long as possible, and draw as much information from your usage patterns as they possibly can.

 

THE GREAT TIMESINK

Will this newest iteration of Facebook be good for your blog?  At risk of sounding a little paranoid, I’d say no; I’d say that the newest version of Facebook won’t be particularly good for anyone other than Facebook and all of their new partners (Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu, among other media giants).  The so-obvious-it-doesn’t-need-to-be-said reason for this: the more time that Facebook gets people to stay on Facebook, the less time people will be on your blog.  And that’s what this new Facebook is all about: time, and Zucko streamlining your online decision making process so that you spend as much of your time on his site as possible.  Once all of these new updates are up and running the great majority of people will never find a reason to leave Facebook, and why should they?  Spotify is there, Rhapsody is there, Neflix and Hulu are there; all of the media that we scavenge the internet for will now all be found in one place.  As of yet Facebook has not announced any changes to their fan pages so I’m curious to see whether they’ll remain the same (in which case I’d suspect that they will be relegated to the sort of backwaters of Facebook) or if they’ll also adopt the new Timeline feature, in which case the whole point is that people will log onto your fan page and stay there as long as possible, as opposed to moving on to your blog itself.

 

 

 

 

THE CULPRITS


The two big issues here are the new Timeline feature and all of Facebook’s new media partners, as I mentioned above.  If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Timeline is basically a highly advanced version of what used to be your Wall.  It will contain every status update you’ve ever made and you will be allowed to add important events from your life to it, turning your personal Timeline into both a veritable treasure trove of free information for Facebook and a sort of personal blog that covers your entire life.  The Timeline, in conjunction with the new 5000 character status update limit, means that people will be spending much more time actually writing on FB as opposed to just yelling from a hilltop about what they did that that day or posting lyrics from a Chris Brown song.  I predict that the Timeline will look much more like an actual blog than like your old Facebook Wall.

 

THE VERDICT

I’d be wary, watch how all of the new changes pan out.  If FB, Inc. implements the same changes that they’re making to profiles into the Fan Pages then I think it’s going to become increasingly difficult to drive traffic away from Facebook and towards your blog.  In any event, Facebook has responded very strongly to Twitter and Google+ and their response is clear: they want as much internet real estate as they can possibly grab and they want you there with them.

 

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15 Responses

  1. Ashe Mischief @ Dramatis Personae

    My other concern for my blog– would be people LEAVING Facebook. After this last round of changes, I’ve seen a lot of the “older” crowd (compared to the 13-college set) saying that they’re tired, fed up, and just want something simple. If people leave Facebook with the launch of Timeline… well, then there go the fans on our Facebook pages as well.

    Great, great look at the new changes, Nando. I had NO CLUE about the collaborating with Netflix and Spotify, but it continues to make me feel like my space on there actually ISN’T mine, but is all them marketing me.

    Reply
    • Nando

      That’s a good point. Most of my older friends on facebook are still keeping up with it, but have also invested a lot of time into G+. This is largely because most of them are artists or involved in the arts in some way and it’s the best way to display work (FB’s white background for photos is awful). The art world is the one community that I’ve seen G+ really blowing up in and techies, too, seem to have really taken to it.

      I doubt though that too many people will be leaving facebook anytime soon, no matter how bad it gets. It’s become too entrenched in our day-to-day lives; I can’t stand the thing and I’m on it multiple times a day, every day. G+ is fun and all, but I don’t think they’re going to pull off any great exodus from facebook and onto their site. People are lazy, facebook is there, their friends are all on it, why bother starting the whole process all over again?

      Reply
  2. WendyB

    LOL — “most glamorous technorati” — I wouldn’t call those nerds glamorous. Rich…successful…egomaniacs…sure, all of those things! Not glamorous 🙂

    Reply
    • Patricia

      I don’t know about that one… Look at the likes of Marisa Mayer, or the girls running Chictopia!! Glam tech people do exist, and we are always in attendance at these “nerd” events. 😉

      Reply
    • Patricia

      I don’t know about that one… Look at the likes of Marissa Mayer, or the girls running Chictopia!! Glam tech people do exist, and we are always in attendance at these “nerd” events. 😉

      Reply
  3. MJ

    This was a very interesting read and do get your point about people staying on FB for as long as possible. The longer your on there, the better their stats look to their adverstisers. I also had no clue they were partnering up with Netflix and Hulu. The more info you can store on Facebook, the less people would be willing to go to your blog. It would be like having another blog in addition to yours (which spells to me something else to keep up with and really maintain!)

    Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    • Nando

      I wish the data being collected was just for facebook, but unfortunately it’s all essentially being passed on to every company they’re partnering up with. FB doesn’t need numbers to impress advertisers, they’ve got numbers in spades. It’s unbelievable to me that they’ve partnered with both Netflix AND Hulu, Spotify AND Rhapsody. These brands don’t care about competition anymore, they’re all just interested in getting as big a slice of facebook’s data pie as they possibly can, which will in turn help them better market their products to us.

      Reply
  4. karis f.

    I’ve been playing around with the timeline for a few days now and am yet to see how it benefits me personally at all. You’re right, they’re doing all they can to make people spend their entire time online browsing through Facebook. It’s a terrifying thought.

    Reply
  5. Sharon

    Well, I just left Mashable and changes are coming to the FB fan pages, also. Plus, as of now (also read on Mashable) pages are receiving the short end of the stick with updates posting on the news feed.
    Google+, which doesn’t have fan pages but is working on introducing some type of option in the near future. Not sure how that will work since Google+ is more about privacy.
    Either way being a small brand/blog is going to get tough unless you learn to manipulate the system. Time will tell how to do it.
    But one thing is for sure you will have to stay up to date on all things social network so start reading and doing your homework. *back to Mashable*

    Reply
  6. Heather Fonseca

    I have to say I’m so sick of Facebook right now. I’ve never really be “into” my fan page, though at first it was kind of fun. I much prefer twitter for reaching my audience and followers. I’m intrigued with Tumblr and Google +, but the newest changes on facebook just make my eyes roll. I still check on it occasionally just to see what my friends are up to, but my fan page is pretty dormant.

    Who knows, maybe they’ll change themselves right out of popularity.

    Reply
  7. de la Pen

    Excellent post! I was just commenting on the new Facebook earlier today on Twitter. I’ve always disliked the site but I started a fan page & personal profile because “everyone was on Facebook” and after two years of having a fan page there, I only have 77 fans! However on Twitter, I have over 1,000 followers. It’s too difficult to connect with people on Facebook with a fan page because you can only promote it on Facebook with ads which costs money.

    In essence, you spend time promoting the page on your blog & Twitter, which goes to the point, why should ppl follow you on Twitter AND Facebook? Also, to have an interesting FB page you really do have to create original content which is time consuming and makes you feel like you’re just updating another blog. I think Facebook is pointless for small brands/bloggers b/c those are the people who don’t have time to create original content for FB & then promote that content. So yes, I do think the new Facebook will hurt your blog, it already has by making you spend time away from it especially when it’s not driving actual traffic!

    Reply
    • Sharon

      de la Pen. . . if you have a personal FB page you can promote your fan page through it. It you have friends and family ask them to promote your fan page. When I started my fan page that is what I did. I invited all my friends to like my page then, I asked all my close friends and family to invite all their friends to like my page. In no time I had over 500 fans.
      Also, you can use your fan page to make comments, like other pages, and more. Use it. I gain a new fan every time I like the posts of brands who I write about.
      Lastly, if you hold a simple contest/giveaway just for your fans they appreciate it. Every March I do a Women’s Trivia Contest (in honor of Women’s History Month) and giveaway something simple. Last year it was tote bags with my logo. I gave away 60 of them (which was the limit I set because people wanted me to keep going).
      Also, support others pages by liking their pages. I like many pages which rotate when people visit my page. Giving others exposure.
      I think having a page has been very helpful and it drives readers to my blog when I do post my post links there. . which I try not to do often to avoid being to much in people’s timelines. Now, I have over 3000 fans.

      Reply
  8. Slow Southern Style

    I’m with Ashe, most of my friends are ages 25-40 and most are complaining about the new Facebook layout. I’m not sure how many of them are switching to Google+ just yet though, or are at least active on it.

    I’m finding that I am actually spending LESS time on FB now, only using it as my Slow Southern Style page and to just check when I get notifications. I think I’ll stick to Twitter for the time being.

    Reply
  9. Priyanka Pradhan

    Thanks for this article!I’ve been thinking about this myself… FB has been one of the main drivers for the popularity of my blog so this is bad news! Plus FB is getting getting ahead of itself now… too complicated and trying to incorporate ALL the features of ALL available social networks online. Thats just crazy and OTT! I’m gonna look at Google Plus as my main social network now. So long FB!

    Reply