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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Is Facebook Becoming an Anti-Social Cash Cow?

Thought for the Day: Today's Words of Wisdom are my thoughts related to Facebook and social networking. What made Facebook an exciting "social" phenomenon for me as a psychologist was that it was an easy, grassroots way to communicate with friends, family and fans. I believe in using social media for social good and facebook is making it increasingly difficult to do so. Lately however, I have been questioning whether it is worth posting anything on my facebook page. If anything, my posts have become more sophisticated with better graphics and content over the years. However, although I have over 1200 fans, unless I pay to boost posts, only 4 - 12 fans see them at all. 

The change happened gradually over the last few months. In the past, 80 -150 fans would see an average post depending on the content, day of the week and the time of day it was posted. Lately, only 4 or 12 fans actually see a post. It is clear that Facebook is trying to get fan page owners to pay for exposure. When I run an event or am speaking on the radio, I am happy to pay to boost a post, however, it feels unfortunate that people who have chosen to follow my page do not even see my regular daily updates which I work hard to make informative and helpful. Frankly, it is becoming an "anti-social" social networking site!

If you want facebook to work as a grassroots "Social" network again, I think you can try to make a difference. In the 60's being a social activist meant getting up and out into the streets to protest.  In this day and age, to be a social networking activist, you can do it from the comfort of your home, on your phone, ipad or computer. If you see a post (on facebook and other social networking sites, too) that matters to you don't just read it passively. Give it a like, comment or share it with others. These actions will insure that you see the posts from these sites in your stream. If you take online social action, I believe it will make a difference. Visit the sites you have not seen in your stream lately and like some posts. That will insure that Facebook starts showing their posts in your stream again.

If you stay a passive observer, you will soon find that your facebook stream is nothing more than a flow of paid advertisements. Facebook, in it's push for building a stock market presence may simply lose the unique nature of social networking which made it popular in the first place. I believe that social networking is an asset when used properly, but other sites will replace Facebook if they are not careful. Google+ is far more user friendly and may be the next Facebook. 

I would love to hear your thoughts & comments on this subject. Authors, psychologists, musicians,  nonprofit organizations, if you have a Facebook fan page, have you noticed this phenomenon? What are you doing to combat it? 

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