Changing the Conversation: The nature of social media

I must say, the last three weeks have been pretty nice. My church started 2016 with a social media fast to unplug from technology and reconnect with real people. I had to modify said fast because I kind of make my living using it, so I abstained (with two exceptions) from personal posting. That ends today.

Boy howdy.
Boy howdy.

After having time to evaluate pretty much everything regarding social media, I’ve come up with three very basic principles I think we can all get on board with while posting, even if you’re not on the Jesus train with me. This isn’t addressing any potential Facebook debates, which is an entirely different can of worms.

Clarity – Does this post accurately and clearly reflect all sides represented on an issue? It’s easy to misrepresent an opposing opinion, but it does no one any good.

Community – How does the tone of this post affect those who will read it? Too many Christians feel like bludgeoning the world with their take on things. Satire and sarcasm have their places, and I do believe positive changes can come via snark, but there does come a point when it can cut too deep and bleed out your entire point.

Donald Trump – Anything goes. He’s an ass.

That's the whole ballgame.
That’s the whole ballgame.

I also plan on proper blogging more, particularly with an idea that struck me during this fast. I’m starting a new blog series called Changing the Conversation, where I examine myriad issues and see if there’s a third, more valid option than the two traditional views presented. Subscribe to email updates on the right side of your screen to get all of those.

The petition to kill Facebook ads doesn’t understand how businesses work

For some reason, this change.org petition keeps getting passed around from a band in Tampa that’s unhappy with Facebook for “making” them pay to reach their “fans.” It’s been a while since I found something so tacitly absurd.

This screenshot is garbage and should be treated as such.

The entire petition is rife with massive misunderstandings about how social media even works. But enough of my introduction. Let’s get to what Illuminate Me says.

The common gripe, which is also stated here, goes like this: Facebook has restricted my band/business page from reaching all of our fans with every post, and that makes me sad.

Surely, this riveting content would reach more people.

Here’s the reality: Facebook has over a billion users. I personally have over 600 friends and have liked 1,000 pages. That’s 1,600 different feeds to keep up with if I get every update. That’s simply not feasible.

What they also ignore is that they want their page to be given precedent for every single person who has liked their page, which is probably the most absurd part of it. Forget the other pages and friends that person wants to see or the chronological order of any of those posts or the fact that some of those people may not log on for days or weeks at a time; THEY NEED TO SEE MUH BAYAND BECAUSE WE MAKE THE FACEBOOKS. That’s literally what that argument is.

PLEASE TELL US HOW RELEVANT WE ARE.

Illuminate Me then claims that Twitter doesn’t charge to reach their followers, which is simply false. I even have the link to prove it. Twitter is rife with ads, promoted posts and even promoted hashtags. Maybe if they actually looked at their post reach on Twitter’s analytics, they would see that their proportionate reach is actually lower than Facebook’s because they show every single post in chronological order, but that seems to make too much sense.

Of course, none of this would be complete without the band’s gross mismanagement of their own feeds. They paid for 3,000 likes, which is literally the dumbest thing you can do on Facebook. Everyone knows those likes aren’t real, and even if they are, those people won’t ever interact with you, which is the entire point of social media. There’s also no telling how many of their 25,000+ “fans” were acquired via “like-for-like” methods (which is basically what their Twitter is), which also gives you numbers without results. Congratulations, guys, you didn’t shoot your Facebook page in the foot; you shot it in the face.

But we can’t stop there. We also have to have a musical product that’s pretty devoid of any originality or legitimate talent. Seriously, if all three songs on your profile “feature” some more famous musician that you paid $300 to record four lines, you’re probably doing it wrong.

“But Facebook is greedy.” So? You don’t understand that Facebook is a business. Facebook doesn’t owe you anything, including its very existence. If they shut down the whole site or part of the site and its services tomorrow, then that’s their prerogative as a business, just like if they want to require a subscription for service or anything else. You don’t have a right to a Facebook profile, and it’s within their rights on their site to do whatever they want.

Of note: I’m not even saying my own band’s social media profiles are glorious. We’ve been spectacularly lazy, especially since we’re recording.

And we have a keytar, which clearly means we’re superior.

Regardless, everything I said is a moot point. It’s all a publicity stunt. The band doesn’t even have a drummer listed on their profile. Good job getting your 10 seconds of Internet fame, boys. No one will care about you next week.