UNPROFESSIONALISM DISCLAIMER: I have made a small fortune from selling a product called ‘Shit the Bed Hot Sauce’. In an era where everyone is trying their hardest to be as ‘professional’ as possible I did the opposite, disrupted the market and won. My writing style is indicative of this. If you can’t handle that, please move along. But if you’d like to learn something about Facebook from someone who has used it with great success and aren’t easily offended read on.
Did you notice sometime in the last few months that overnight your Facebook feed went from being hours of ‘down the rabbit hole’ fun and distraction – cat videos, pranks and silly quizzes (what type of bread are you? I’m a Ciabatta!!) to simply just photos of your friends’ holidays to Bali, memories from 5 years ago before we were lame and that ring finger we’re all “so jealous” of with the ubiquitous caption:
“She said YES!!”
Two months wages for that? RUN FOR THE HILLS HONEY!!
And with that Facebook was ruined overnight and no layperson knew why.
I will try and explain as simply as I can: Mark Zuckerberg metaphorically threw the biggest and best party we’d ever been invited to. He then took a dump in the punchbowl before we’d even had a chance to do the Macarena.
This list could be summarised simply by these 5 points:
1. The algorithm
2. The algorithm
3. The algorithm
4. The algorithm
5. Dick memes. No sorry my mistake – it’s the algorithm again.
Since January I’ve been bemoaning the algorithm to everyone from my blank faced beautician: “Wots a Argos-rhythm?” To Perth’s biggest internet celebrity since the ‘Worst of Perth Couch’ Ozzy Man Reviews. He’s Perth’s only bona fide internet celebrity who’s built a massive following off of the back of organic Facebook reach. So to say he’s annoyed is an understatement.
I’m gonna break it down like MC Hammer, so the next time you go to the beautician you can tell Susan why her ‘Back, Crack and Sack’ discount offer isn’t getting the traction it used to on Facebook.
1. What is this mysterious Algorithm?
In the olden days, Facebook used to deliver posts to you in chronological order. When you logged in you saw the newest things at the top your feed. But as more and more people joined and started sharing every boring detail of their day Facebook needed to learn a way to show you what it thought was the best, to keep you there and get you hooked.
Until recently it was dictated by everything you interacted with – funny pages, memes, news sites, your ex girlfriend (you creep, she should block you but she’s too nice). You liked, you clicked and then whammo the algorithm learned that’s what you like, so that is what you get…. or got.
Bad news for old mate Narelle from primary school and her ‘hilarious’ Sudocrem covered toddler. The truth is you never cared and always wanted to see more of those: “You’ll never believe what happened next!” articles from outlets with names like Viral Thread and Distractify.
Sozz Narelle we’ve got better things to look at now.
2. Research found out ages ago Facebook makes us depressed
- Feeling FOMO (fear of missing out) - “Why wasn’t I invited to that party?”
-Facebook gives you that feeling.
- Feeling jealousy – “Why don’t I have a fancy house with no scribble on the walls?”
-Facebook gives you that feeling.
- Feeling ugly – “Why don’t I have a circular bottom, iridescent white teeth and a perfect over the shoulder duckface smirk with little doggie ears??”
-Facebook gives you that feeling.
As far back as 2013 researchers knew beyond a shadow of a doubt Facebook was depressing us. Then fairly quickly after the articles came out, our feeds changed and became less about your friends faking how awesome their lives were to more of the good stuff - cat videos and bread quizzes.
Marketers got on the platform and if I do say so myself - we made Facebook awesome! A hot sauce that promises to make me vomit instantly and then Shit The Bed?
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!
3. Marketers like me came along and made Facebook fun
From 2012 onwards a new industry of digital media agencies started to emerge around the English speaking world. They operated by taking money off brands (like say Bunsters Hot Sauce) and created ‘viral content videos’ that they seeded across multiple Facebook pages.
These digital agencies dominated the algorithm to get clicks, views and and money in the bank. They also made advertising dollars from Google by driving traffic to their own ‘Fake News’ sites. You remember the ones “Hollywood Stars Who’s Faces Now Look like Bacon – CLICK HERE” and you have to click page after page to see every picture. Most of the time they were an absolute waste of your time, and you’d get duped in to endlessly clicking pictures of celebrities you don’t even know.
But these agencies flourished and their content proliferated on your feeds. Uni graduates got fun newly invented jobs, your feed got less depressing and new media power houses like Unilad were created.
Funny buggers like Ozzy Man Reviews came along and commentated a turtle attacking a duck and the internet was never the same again. All of a sudden Facebook was a really fun place to be. Your Mum and Dad and Granny all joined it.
Facebook was killing it. This was the golden era when my hot sauce’s page went from about 2000 followers to 50,000+.
Honestly, I’m sorry to sound like one of those “I got in to Bitcoin 2 months before you” type jokers, but I totally am. I got on the Facebook bandwagon when you could shove an already used up Multi-rider in to the ticket machine and get a ride for free. (Sorry for the completely 1990s Perth reference).
4. When good times go bad: Trump gets elected - Zuckerberg feels responsible
LONG STORY SHORT: Some Russian hackers paid to target ‘Fake News’ stories in to the Facebook feeds of undecided voters to convince them to vote for El Trumpo. It worked.
Zucks felt very guilty about what his little baby had done. Chris Isaak’s ‘Baby done a bad bad thing’ was played on repeat at Casa Del Zuck that week.
But then on January 11 this year Zucks emerged from Skynet Headquarters and said:
“Never am I ever letting viral fakeness spread across my little baby ever again. From this day fourth even if someone wants to share something with their friends, I ain’t showing it to them. The era of spamming your mates with ‘What bread are you’ quizzes is over. I herby decree that from now on you all must give a crap about each other’s fake lives again. #fakelivesmatter.”
That was his press release pretty much word for word.
So he changed the algorithm to have more “meaningful connections” basically photos and status updates from people you actually know. Remember what Facebook used to be like when it made us all depressed? Yeah he changed it back to be like that again.
Most of your mates are a bunch of boring %@$&s so Zuck’s changes were instantly detrimental to the entertainment value of Facebook. Within months the articles about Facebook making us want to cut ourselves started emerging again:
Woah that was quick - 11th May 2018
5. Businesses, New Media and all other Facebook Pages lose ALL ORGANIC REACH AND DIE A QUICK AND PAINFUL DEATH
Organic reach is free. It’s when people like your content, so they’d share it. Great content would catch on fire and go viral. But now when you share something it doesn’t go in to your feed. It only goes on your wall. So your mates only see it if they come and look at your wall. That sweet free reach is gone.
I can prove it. Here’s a post of mine that did really badly in my opinion back before the Algorithm Apocalypse. It only got 16 shares and reached 15,000 people:
Now I only get a quarter of the reach.
That’s the difference between a million people seeing my posts and only 250,000 people seeing them. That’s a lot of eyes not seeing your products, business page or other good stuff you need them to see. Before when you shared something all of your friends who interacted with you would see it pop up in their news feed. Now they get nothing from you except for those ‘memories’ photos taken 5 years ago, so we can all lament how much we’ve aged and got boring. Thanks for those guys.
You now have to pay to play on Facebook and for a lot of small businesses there isn’t the budget for advertising.
The newly spawned ‘Digital Marketing Agencies’ with business models based on the content sharing economy have all quietly choked on their own sputum and died. Or probably moved in to even more unstable territories like hosting: “How to get rich off Bitcoin” seminars.
Some businesses have lost their purpose. Some Uni grads have lost their jobs. Zuckerberg killed a burgeoning industry when he killed the golden era of free organic reach.
All Hope Is Not Lost
I've noticed a strange phenomena on my Business Page lately. Memes and funny photos that wouldn't have got much attention pre-apocalypse are now going off like a fish milkshake at the cricket.
Anus Beef Sausages. Come on guys is that really funny enough for 361 shares???
This is just my theory but I think there’s less noise on Facebook now. People are looking at their feeds and there is NOTHING fun anymore so the minute they see something good they tag a mate.
Free content that wouldn’t have gathered an inch of steam on my page in the past now kills it. It’s in complete contrast to what’s happening to businesses who are conned in to paying for planned, professionally filmed, scripted ‘content’ that they have to pay to promote. It eeeks out a sad existence of pity clicks from family members while an ‘Anus Beef Sausage’ sets the internet on fire for free.
The Algorithm Apocalypse has taught me one thing. In this day and age a business can’t be built on one platform alone. Hence my recent embracing of the circle jerk that is Linkedin.
If you read this far and learned anything please give me a thumbs up. But if you’re paralysed by the fear of looking ‘unprofessional’ by visibly engaging with an article of this nature then give me some love over where you won’t be judged by that mole from HR who already wants to get rid of you:
Instagram:@bunstersww Or Facebook
How badly has your FB page’s engagement been smashed?
How has your personal Facebook feed been affected? For better or worse?
Do you remember the old Multi-riders you could just ram into the machine and get a free ride in Perth?
Everyone's experience is different I am no expert on this and would desperately like to discuss it with someone other than my beautician Susan.
P.S. Zuck, I still think you are a genius and you will rule the world one day. But I need this sorted out before Christmas buddy CHOP CHOP.