4:15 PM CDT | August 21, 2018
Texas Storm Watch launched on Facebook in February of 2014. Four and a half years later, and there are over 9.5K people who LIKE this page. The blog launched in the summer of 2017 and has also seen tremendous growth. I have thought about it for months now, and I have made the decision to focus solely on the blog. I plan to discontinue the Facebook page at the end of the month.
Most of you are familiar with the changes Facebook has made with its newsfeed algorithm over the last couple of years. It makes it difficult for pages like this one to reach those who follow it. For instance, if you post primarily status updates (text only), you will gradually see a decline in your reach. Just the same, if you post mostly video, photo, or link posts, the same will happen. To avoid the Facebook penalty, you have to make sure your timeline is diversified with various formats. If you are busy and are unable to post for a few days, the next update you publish will have reduced reach. Only a few hundred people will be able to see it, despite over 9,500 people who LIKE this page. It then takes days or sometimes weeks to get the reach where it had been. These changes are intended to force page owners to pay for advertising. If I was willing to pay $10-20 PER post, Facebook would allow most to see it.
When I first joined Facebook in 2010, it had a real sense of community. People could have a voice. It was an awesome platform. Even in 2014 when I launched Texas Storm Watch, it still seemed that Facebook emphasized the “community” aspect of its platform. Now, it feels like Facebook exploits its users and their data for profit. The company generates billions of dollars in revenue every quarter, largely as a result of advertising. We make Facebook what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. I am 100% for free enterprise and profits. It’s great. My problem lies with this...
John decides to start a non-profit group to raise awareness for let’s say air pollution. He works hard to tell others (his family, friends, neighbors, etc) about the page. A few people decide to join Facebook to show their support and see updates. Facebook, in turn, sees their platform expand. Betty, one of John’s friends, works hard to tell others about the page. More people follow the page, including a couple people who have never used Facebook. Months later, the page has 500K LIKES and is becoming widely known. The organic growth of this environmental page helps make Facebook become more appealing to individuals and businesses alike. Facebook then rewards John by limiting his page’s reach, so that he has to either (1) pay to boost each of his updates - not to those who are unfamiliar with the page but to those who LIKE it and want to see it or (2) accept a gradual decline in visibility and air pollution awareness. Facebook rewards Betty for bringing some new people to Facebook by restricting how many updates from the page she sees on her newsfeed. In place of those updates are advertisements from pages she does not follow or care to follow. Simply put, Facebook has become somewhat hostile to the growth of non-business pages and individuals. Whether it is cash or personal data, Facebook is essentially charging us to bring them business.
I enjoy posting about the weather and will continue to do so on the blog. Thank you all for your support! With the coming El Niño, an active season could be on the way! :)