Things have changed considerably in the digital realm the last let’s say decade or so.
When I was younger and we needed something we would pick up the Yellow pages and find the business we need. With the emerging internet we already found that it was way easier to just jump online and find a business this way, for the simple reason you could already judge by the website if this company was professional… well a website doesn’t tell you everything but at least you could get an idea.
As time progressed companies (including our own) slowly switched away from the Yellow pages, and even the Phone book. We (and many others) focussed on advertising in magazines, newspapers etc. when we started to experiment with internet advertising on fora, websites etc. we very fast found out that this was wasted money, it just didn’t work. On an advert in the newspaper we would have our store full of people wanting the item we had on sale, via the internet….. well maybe 1-2 customers max.
But as all things…..
Internet became bigger and bigger and most of all more important.
Without a website your company was not even taken seriously, and more and more our adverts became actually a pointing aid towards our website were we could literally on the spot could change our prices, products etc. And before we knew it our advert in the newspaper and magazines became an introduction to our company and a “if you like to see our weekly/daily discounts visit……” and this worked like a charm. We were able to switch on the spot and in all honesty the amount of discounts and offers was now not limited to space or words, awesome.
But as all things…..
Slowly but steadily we found out that social media networks, forums and websites worked way better than magazines.
At this point we already started with workshops and switched our focus from Computers to photography and Home Theater. For Home Theater we started our own forum (which now is the largest Dutch forum on the subject) and for photography I joined several forums in the Netherlands and abroad. To be honest I never really used the forums to advertise but I just shared my work, helped people out and gave critiques myself…. hence people knew me and this resulted in a LOT of traffic to our workshops. In all essence we were back to the old days where you actually only visited and bought from companies that you knew. Or as we call it word of mouth, the best way of advertising.
But as all things…..
Besides forums you started to see social media networks (at that point we didn’t even call it that I believe), a very well known one in the Netherlands was for example Hyves which I believe at one point had almost everyone with internet acces on there. It was awesome….. your personal space in cyberspace with loads of connections, chatrooms, photoalbums, forum alternatives etc.
But as all things…..
Hyves died and we all went to facebook, and life was good…. very good.
Facebook had it all, all your friends, awesome albums, a clean infrastructure and it was easy to make connections and find the information you need… again it was VERY clean and fast.
But as all things…..
Facebook became cluttered, of course you have to make money, we understand, but to see a lot of adds for games, a constant nagging if you want to join and a jungle of groups where people can just add you and it’s hard to leave, hidden mailboxes for people that are not “connected” which I only found after a year of use……in all honestly facebook became more of a frustation than a gift. At one point we decided it was time to make a “fan/business” page…. and we got greeted with a LOT of limitations, I couldn’t check in, couldn’t upload images the way I wanted and the interaction with people was a lot less…. now over time some things have improved and I was almost happy.
But as all things…..
Facebook got competition.
In a time where you had your website, twitter for the fast stuff and facebook for the connections it was all clear and you knew where people were. I could understand LinkedIn for the business part, but I never understood the reason for Instagram, you are stuck with a weird format, you can’t zoom in on images, no desktop option, it just didn’t make sense. And over time we got a LOT more, what about Google Wave, Google Plus, Snapchat, Ello, Evo, 500px, Flickr and I probably forget about a million ones.
In all honesty we see the same thing with messaging apps.
Who still knows where to find something back.
Let me see I have an account on WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, iMessage/Messages etc. now that last one is frustating as heck. I’ve used Apple for years so all my friends have iMessages and when I’m in the Netherlands that’s great but when I want to send a message to a friend of mine abroad it’s 0.10-0.20 PER message….. very simple it’s seen as text. So let’s all move to WhatsApp… but than I don’t know where I got that message from….. you see the mess, especially when for example Annewiek uses messages on Monday, WhatsApp on Tuesday etc. now where did she post this….. same on facebook… was it via pages or facebook messenger…. it could drive a sane man mad… luckily I’m not 100% sane 🙂
But as all things…..
We just bow our heads and follow the mainstream,…… and this is where the danger lies and where facebook actually wins.
At the moment I really feel that facebook is very hard trying to find the breaking limit to where people go like “and now it’s enough”…. we all know by now that when you post something on facebook it’s not really fun anymore. My stream is infested with adds, when I see something from someone in all honesty it’s not really what I want to see (I’m not that interested in what someone eats, or whole family dramas) and when I post something I get an annoying popup that if I pay xxxxx I can reach the people I want to reach….. wait a minute hit reverse……. so I have to pay to reach the people I want to reach…… ok pauze…..wasn’t this the whole idea of facebook…. you connect to people and you see what they post? at the moment (and I don’t have the exact numbers) it feels like only 5-10% of what I post really arrives at my followers
We were in New York a month or so ago where I taught a workshop.
We posted this extensively online on all social media networks including facebook….. a week after the workshop I got several mails from people claiming they didn’t knew I was teaching in New York….. “huh, really…. don’t you follow my facebook”…. yeah they saw some images coming by (which is already weird because I posted almost daily) but they didn’t know about workshops….. now this workshop has been promoted for at least 5 months with the last 2 weeks almost every other day….. maybe they didn’t really follow me (but than how did they see SOME of the other posts?)
According to some… you have to change settings in your facebook to see everything that someone posts. We tried it and it seems to work from the personal page, but the fanpage…. nope doesn’t work, people see a little bit more but not everything, and actually facebook proofs it, every single post I see this “cool” little meter.
And of course I have to press BOOST to get more people seeing my post…. wait a minute so I create content which costs me a lot of time and money and I have to pay 15.00 PER POST to get it to my followers who can watch it for free…… mmmmmm something’s wrong here. Shouldn’t facebook pay me because I create kickass content for their platform?
Well ok facebook has to make money, I get it.
So let’s try this.
A few years ago we tried facebook adds for workshops and it worked like a charm, we paid 200.00 euros for an add and wow we got 10 attendees, making it worth our effort and price, we were happy. At the moment…….. well if we invest 200.00 euros we are happy if we get 1-2 paying attendees. And yes we really offer great products and workshops for a very very affordable price.
And it’s not just that, also the interaction, likes, comments etc. are seeing a serious hit over the years.
Where at first an image would get 2000-3000 likes easily you now see that you get stuk at around half of that if you’re lucky. It does depend on the material, some of our models get a lot of likes on certain shots, but you really have to wonder……
It does seem that people with a little amount of followers get more likes than people with huge amount of followers, and when you hit a certain HUGE threshold it seems the game changes again. I do get the feeling that facebook does favor people on algorithms that have a small group, if you grow bigger they seem to think “big enough” and when you hit a sort of magical barrier they think “oh let’s support that one”, I could be wrong but I do see a decline in likes, comments etc. the last few years and I’m not the only one.
But as all things…….
People grow tired of the big company and threaten to leave.
If I would have gotten a quarter for everyone that told me they were going to leave facebook or told me to leave facebook I would be a rich man. So what’s the problem? why don’t you just leave facebook if you’re so unsatisfied with it, the explanation is very simple and a HUGE problem.
- Everyone is on facebook
Meaning if you leave facebook doesn’t care at all, people that follow you will not see updates anymore and will find the next cool thing and…. well you only hurt yourself and your business.
- It’s a mess everywhere
As explained before there is a jungle of social media platforms, and they all have a problem. Take for example Google Plus, in my opinion the best network out there, they have everything from a great message system, awesome quality for photos and videos, links to groups and communities, it’s very fast, the mobile app is awesome it just works, it’s MILES ahead of facebook…. but….. well there are a lot of people on there but not the people that interact or that are on facebook. Some call it a ghosttown and in all honesty I don’t agree… there are a lot of people there, but they don’t use it.
- Facebook has managed to do something REALLY scary
There are companies that ditched their website for facebook (we never did but we did give more attention to facebook), but that’s not the scary thing…. try to register or login for a new website, and even some monitor software or doctors or whatever…. login with “facebook” it’s literally almost weaved into the fabric of our daily life.
In my opinion facebook has a position that is now impossible to stay in a private company, it’s way to dangerous. We are all logged in, connected, shared via Facebook. If facebook would turn everything off you don’t want to even imagine what this would mean. This is one of the reasons why for every new device I get I don’t opt for “facebook login” anymore but email. Will facebook ever become public…. of course not, they earn a LOT of money and I mean A LOT and they are getting more and more powerful every second.
Now don’t worry I didn’t become a conspiracy theory person. But it is the MAIN reason why social media is dying.
People don’t want to interact on facebook anymore, loads of people I ask about their facebook experience describe facebook as “annoying” and “no fun but we have to”, compare this to many years ago when the same responses would be “Man it’s so cool”.
Facebook has us with the back against the wall, if you delete your account you’re gone, you could call it digital suicide.
I hear you say “well Frank you can still use instagram” well yeah…. ever looked who owned Instagram…. and what about sharing a link to a video, or a blog post…. now without an image. Than we have twitter left….. yeah well great but…… did you ever really go to someones account and look at their tweets, or do you (like me) just sometimes browse through the updated timeline?
Somethings get to big.
When you listen to one song at a time music is enjoyable.
When you love one band it’s easy to get track of their albums, all their news and concerts etc.
When you love one genre of music it’s cool to get a magazine about that genre.
But now imagine that you hear all the songs that are released this month not in a playlist but all at ONCE, plus you are forced to also read all the news about all the bands (also the ones you don’t like) on one page where all the letters are overlayed, spinning around etc. what happens……
You pull the plug, run outside and sit in the garden and enjoy nature, it’s just too much. Now enjoying nature is great…. but it doesn’t earn you any money so….. well sometimes you have to just bite through and go back into that annoying jungle.
Social media is great, don’t get me wrong.
But think about this.
When I started photography there were a few nice forums, maybe 2-3 that I really frequently followed, when I quite posting on forums it was not because I didn’t like it anymore….. I still would LOVE to interact on forums, but at one point I was a member of over 20 forums and posting a message somewhere took me 20 times copy and paste….. and keeping track of all the replies and questions….. it became a mess. That’s why I was so happy with facebook… ONE place for everything, cool, structured, clean and uncluttered.
At the moment I’m afraid we are at a point where there is no turning back, so the next part I’m writing is impossible, but I’ll give you 2 options in which the internet would be a great place again.
First solution, which could very well be possible
Someone creates ONE app that combines ALL social media platforms in one streamlined look.
This can be in tabs or whatever, but just ALL social media platforms in one app.
But here comes the difficult part.
That app should be able to filter out all the duplicate posts
And here it becomes even more difficult.
When I post an update I only want to update it ONCE.
That app should be able to post it on ALL networks so that people that don’t use that app don’t miss that update, but people that do use the app only see it in the filtered app. Now a few years ago this would very well be possible…. but since facebook (again facebook) is now denying posts via third parties that actually throws another barrier up. For us this means making a custom post on facebook everytime we update our blog, upload a new video or post a new image or tip for you guys. A few weeks this all went automatically via wordpress and YouTube now I have to set a reminder for scheduled posts to also manually do it on facebook.
Second solution, which will NEVER work
We just delete ALL social media apps, no more Google+, no more facebook etc.
We just delete ALL messaging apps
We get ONE worldwide network that is public, with it’s own foundation that keeps everything in order and makes sure that there is no porn, spam etc. But does make sure that there is no filtering, if you follow someone… you see those updates.
In that network you can make groups of family, friends and companies etc. why not just use the Google Plus circle system which is awesome.
Within that network there is ONE messaging app, this replaces all email and is a direct or group messaging app which can handle videochat, groupchats, remote desktop etc.
This network would also immediately solve all the problems we have with emails at the moment.
So why will this never work?
For the same reason we don’t all drive electric cars at the moment…. money.
Facebook or any other firm that owns a huge social media network or messaging apps owns all our data, and to be honest I love that fact for the simple reason I now see adds that are aimed at me, and although I don’t like to see too many adds I much rather see an add for a cool EV, RV or camera than ladies hygienic products. The company that owns Facebook is in essence the most powerful force in the world, it can influence people, it can connect people but also destroy companies by simply not showing their content….
Again don’t worry I’m not paranoid, and I can make my own decisions so I’m not that easily influenced, but I do find it annoying people don’t see the content I work so hard on just because facebook thinks to know that they don’t want to…. or want my money to show it.
This blogpost was absolutely not what I intended to write.
I started with this :
“A lot of people say, why not just leave facebook”
“Well the problem is facebook has everything connected, so business wise it would not be smart….”
And the idea was to just type a few more lines about this.
The more I thought about it the more I realized it isn’t that easy.
So what do I do about this?
Well you really can’t do anything about it, it’s reality. Again if you delete your facebook account or any social media account that’s on a large network people will just forget about you because there are so many others…. they won’t even miss you probably unless you’re like a huge celebrity (and even than).
So what do I do about this?
Well for starters we are more actively using our blog again, posting more articles, the tips I normally shared via social media will now be posted on the blog. Images I normally shared via social media will now also find it’s way back again in the blog. And…. maybe, just maybe…. I’ll join 1-2 forums again just for fun and real interaction with people.
So sorry for long rant, but it’s something that really lies close to my heart because I so very much love the interaction with you guys and I really see huge problems for this in the future let alone for people that are just starting out.
Feel free to leave comments, and share this post via social media (no pun intended).
Would love your interaction on this.