Pando

Facebook's awfulness as a blog platform: Your responses

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on August 17, 2016

From The From the Trenches Desk

Earlier this week I shared my concerns about Facebook as a blogging platform. Specifically the here today, gone tomorrow nature of the thing. 

Why would anyone in their right mind trust their words to something so hard to navigate, and so fond of banning its users for arbitrary reasons? 

I promised to post any reader responses here on Pando, and was expecting a mixed bag of agreement and insistence that I just didn't get it. Curiously, I got a lot of the former, but absolutely none of the latter. Nobody - even people who know Facebook very well - could give me a good answer as to why anyone would use Facebook to blog. 

The response that best summed up the concensus came from Matt Mullenweg who, of course, is the co-founder of Wordpress. Mullenweg responded to my assertion that "posting on Facebook guarantees your posts will be seen and shared more widely than a standalone Wordpress blog ever will."

I think it's great Facebook (and Medium) have convinced you of this, but you're at the mercy of their algorithms and economic incentives. A very small % of your friends will see your post, if at all.

Your best bet is posting to your own site, publicizing/cross-posting it to all your social networks (even LinkedIn), and then when people visit your post convert them to subscribe via email or follow you on networks they don't yet already.

Christian Parea agreed...

I think Facebook is great for groups and community stuff within orgs and interests. As for disseminating content it's meh.. It just seems that the focus on video, combined with short attention spans means that the best strategy for "reach" and "engagement" would involve juggling kittens while riding a unicycle on the edge of a tall building via Facebook Live.

As did John Griffiths...

It's always seemed like a no-brainer to me that you want control over your own single point of truth. Sharing through whatever social medium is burning bright at the moment is a nice to have, but not crucial.

In a thoughtful response, sent by email, , suggested that for some kinds of content Facebook is the perfect medium. But as for others... 

Thanks for the publication of the major weakness of Facebook searches which is I’m sure, a deliberate feature built into the site by Zuckerberg & Co. I have actually searched out posts because, in a rash moment I had posted something that I later (weeks sometimes) regretted and had to hunt down the offensive tidbit and delete it. Not that it really mattered maybe. But the lack of a viable search capability is tied to another phenomena  that simply put comes down to ‘Who Cares about what you said last week, let alone six weeks ago?”

 So I too have blogged to my heart’s content about topics near and dear to me and I am ramping up-searching for motivation –to continue.

I find the lack of intellectual interest dumbfounding –not an exaggeration- in the general population. So I found this fantastic series that Reuters (!) did on our criminal justice system and went apeship crazy about it on Facebook. “Look!” “See this!” “Drop everything! Read this” Notta one, nobody, tossed to oblivion was I on Facebook. But let me post cute (she really is) pictures of my Granddaughter and now the lights are up, cameras rolling, me and she are stars. Critical remarks backed up by three independent sources on what a schlep Eric Holder was in dealing with the banks and I’m back to the darkness of oblivion. Pretty soon I see cuteness (and she really is a sweetie pie) is all that counts on Facebook. Substantive analysis of our current political situation and the search for justice as fairness-the silent “boo” & “Hiss” are deafening. Maybe it’s just my circle but I’ve heard this same complaint from several people.

So I’ve left Facebook and will not go back soon but I am not sure Facebook is really lacking in anything the huge majority of its users want or need. I would guess that a vanishingly small number of people really want to search for justice or discuss how democracy can be reinstituted in the land. So why would anyone look up what some friend or other said lo these many moons ago?

So, as I always say, call me in off the end of the dock when representational democracy and justice as fairness are found to be operational in the United States of America.

Keep the responses coming and I'll keep updating this post.

UPDATE: Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism writes:

  Never in a million years would I consider blogging on FB. I had Google take my site down once in 2008 when I was on Blogger, deeming it to be a spam blog. It was only by virtue of being able to get to someone C level that I was able to get the site back up in 24 hours. Otherwise it would have been 2-3 weeks. We got off Blogger shortly after that.  Separately, I am philosophically opposed to Faceborg (I don't have a FB account of any type), so in that respect I am sure I differ from most other bloggers.

        More generally, (and I don't mean to imply disrespect to you) I don't see how anyone who is serious about blogging would let someone over whom they have absolutely zero influence control their intellectual property.  And to your point about comments, at Naked Capitalism, we've built a large, vibrant community in our comments section. Many people come as much for the comments as for the posts. We've customized the comments section to increase readability. WordPress also allows us to do a lot of filtering (moderation and blacklists) so we can put some quality checks in place while keeping the comments section pretty open (we think of our compromise as "curated"). And of course we sell ads (admittedly through an ad service, but we see their economics, control what ad slots they can use, and can and do bar certain types of ad campaigns).

        And re archives: I've been told repeatedly that our site is a critical source to academics. A lot of material written during the runup to the crisis, during it, and shortly after, is either gone elsewhere from the Web or well-nigh impossible to find via other means due to the crapification of Google searches.