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Facebook newsfeed algorithm changes – again

Yup, it’s that time again.  Here are the new changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, directly from the source:

  • Previously, we had rules in place to prevent you from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. With this update, we are relaxing this rule. Now if you run out of content, but want to spend more time in News Feed, you’ll see more.
  • We’ve also learned that people are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about…the second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it.
  • Lastly, many people have told us they don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post. This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all…

So, what does this actually mean for pages?  Nothing good…as Facebook notes, “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”  How your page is affected depends on “the composition of your audience and posting activity.”

The first change is a good thing for Pages, because it means that if someone runs out of content, they’ll see more – and that may increase the odds of your content being noticed.  However, if your fans have a high amount of friends, it’s irrelevant.

The second and third changes, however, aren’t good for marketers, though they are arguably good for regular Facebook users.  Change #2 will boost the chances of seeing content from “friends you care about” – and thus crowd out Page content. Change #3 is the most devastating for changes, because it decreases the chances of your Page’s content being seen by someone who likes or comments.  This is a pretty common way that a Page’s content is shared in the newsfeed.

What’s your way around this?  Pay up.

Personally, I think this is part of Facebook’s ongoing (and understandable) efforts to increase revenue.  Organic page reach can never go completely away…like a drug dealer, Facebook will always need to give you “just a taste” to get you hooked.  However, if you want a bigger high (more reach and interaction), you’ll have to pay up.  There’s nothing wrong or immoral about this – Facebook is, after all, a business, and entitled to optimize it’s revenue – but it does serve as a reminder that you do not have control of your own Facebook audience, nor do you have guaranteed free access to them.  To that end, make sure you are continuing have direct access to your audience with different digital social media tools – things like Email blasts, your website and blogging.

Any other thoughts to share about this issue, or ways around the recent changes? Let us know in the comments!

No Fail

Learning from Fail: Delete embarrassing social media posts

This is a fantastic way to avoid getting publicly humiliated and written up in this blog.  You might remember Ethan Czahor, who was briefly hired by the Jeb Bush campaign as the Chief Technical Officer, only to be forced to resign after a series of embarrassing social media posts went public.  Czahor, to his infinite credit, has used the experience to hopefully help others avoid making the same mistake.  He’s doing this through the launch of a new app: Clear.

The app is in Beta right now, which means it’s being tested.  I signed up and a message told me there are over 16,000 people ahead of me, so good for Clear!

Anyway, from the app’s description, here’s how the app will work.  First, it connects (privately) with your social media accounts – specifically Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  From there, the app performs “complex analysis” on all your posts, flags potentially offensive content, and gives you the opportunity to delete it.

My only concern about an app like this is that it could give people a false sense of security, in two ways:

  1. No computer or algorithm can get every context, and this could miss potentially offensive content.  To that end, if someone relies on this program, not a thorough, manual review, they could have a false sense of security.
  2. This app could spur people to think, “Oh, hey, I’ll just go nuts and delete later,” neglecting to realize that digital can be forever and someone can get a screenshot of offensive content long before it is deleted.

That being said, if viewed properly (another tool in the toolbox), this app can be a great way to checking old content and removing anything potentially offensive.  More to the point, good for Czahor!  He not only learned from his mistakes, but he’s trying to help others prevent making the same ones.

Congressmen Gowdy and Buck pose with guns

Congressional Pro-Tip: Do not pose with assault weapons in areas where assault weapons are illegal

Congress makes the laws – and, in the process of doing so, they frequently exempt themselves, as was discovered following this tweet from Congressman Ken Buck:

Also featured in this picture is Congressman Trey Cowdy (R-SC), who is leading the House’s investigation into Benghazi.  The picture features the Congressmen with an AR-15, which is an assault rifle.

Why is this a problem?  Because, as noted by The Hill, assault weapons cannot be legally possessed within the District of Columbia, and this picture was taken inside of the Capitol complex.

In a conversation with The Hill, Congressman Buck stated that he had permission from the U.S. Capitol Police to have the AR-15 in his office.  He added:

“I have a very patriotic AR-15 hanging in my office. It hangs directly above my Second Amendment flag.  While safety protocols call for all guns to be treated as if they are loaded, this one isn’t. Further, a close inspection of the only public photo of the rifle will show that the bolt carrier assembly is not in the rifle; it is in fact in Colorado. It is a beautiful, patriotic paper weight.”

Washington D.C. authorities, however, saw the issue (slightly) differently, and investigated the issue. However, believe it or not, Congressman are exempt from laws that prohibit them from possessing assault weapons in Washington D.C.  Accordingly, Congressman Buck broke no laws.

Incidentally – and not surprisingly – Congressman Buck is fundraising off the issue, sending out an Email in which he says that, “Anti-Gun Liberals are leading a full attack against Trey Gowdy and me over the picture taken above.”

From a purely political perspective, Congressman Buck got a win here.  He got to attack “anti gun liberals” and probably raised money off of the issue.  So, a potential liability turns into a positive.  A strange situation, to say the least.

Chipolte Logo

Taking Advantage of the Politics of Chipolte

In what was, thus far, the stupidest story of the 2016 Presidential cycle, former Secretary Hillary Clinton was spotted anonymously grabbing a bite at Chipolte while driving to Iowa for the first stop of her 2016 Presidential campaign.  It started out as a relatively small human interest story before becoming even bigger: She didn’t tip, which turned into a controversy.  Then other candidates stopped at Chipolte and made sure to tip.  Then some made fun of the former Secretary, because they cook their own Mexican food.

A Google News search for “Hillary Clinton Chipolte” reveals way, way, way too many stories.

COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE LESS IMPORTANT?  Seriously.  This is ridiculous.  There are so many real issues facing 2016 Presidential candidates, and we are talking about a burrito bowl.  What a distraction.

Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the point: The Chipolte story has turned into an actual thing that people are using to judge Hillary Clinton.  Sadly, this is the political world that we live in: When small stories become much larger than we ever deserve.  So, the question becomes this: How can elected officials use these small stories to discuss who they are, and then leverage those kind of stories on social media?

It is possible, and more importantly, you can do so in a manner that advances the interests of your district and constituents.  Some thoughts:

  • Patronage local businesses: When you are at a local business, post a pic on Facebook.  Talk about your order.  Talk about how nice the staff is.  Make sure to make the focus on them, not you.  Soon enough, you’ll be recognized in other local businesses, and they may ask for the same treatment!
  • Be human – get specific: As this idiot Chipolte story showed, people like the little human details about elected officials.  Almost all of these stories discuss what the former Secretary ordered for lunch.  So, when you are shopping at your local businesses, get specific and talk about what you are purchasing, and how you are going to use it.  This will remind people that you, as an elected official, are a human being.  You take care of your kids.  You mow your lawn.  You are a normal person, like anyone else.  That is always an effective point for an elected official to be making.
  • Tip: Someone should have tipped.  You are an elected official, and you have to care for the average worker.  Tip.  That being said, don’t go running around on social media, screaming “I TIPPED BECAUSE I CARE!”

Any other thoughts to add?  Let us know in the comments!

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

Cyberbullying

California School Board Member accussed of cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying is a big problem in schools.  However, this is the first time I can remember that a school board member has actually been accused of being the guilty party.

Dawn Turnbull was first elected to the Lucerne Valley United School District in 2010.  She was described by her local paper as “outspoken,” and that seems to be an understatement, given some of her Facebook comments.  According to local reports, Turnbull has used Facebook in the following ways:

  • Calling School Board Member Tom Courtney an “old man,” a “pervert” and a “pig of a person.” She apparently claimed that Courtney sexually harassed her, a charge that Courtney denies. In a later exchange, a friend says, “Want me to hurt him [in reference to Courtney]”, and Turnbull responds “Yes, … I do.”
  • Calling former School Board Member John Buchanan a “poor slob who works 24/7 and could barely make meetings.”  She also attacked Buchanan’s wife.
  • Discussing Superintendent Suzette Davis, Turnbull said, “”Now that I have found out who our Super really is, she is kissing (butt) to this low-life (Buchanan).”

There’s more, but these are the “highlights.”

Unsurprisingly, the most recent school board meeting drew significantly higher turnout than usual, with many attacking Turnbull and her comments.

Board meetings usually don’t feature members attacking each other publicly. However, apparently Board President Jim Harvey said, at the last meeting, “It’s an embarrassment that you’re on this board, and you need to resign immediately.”  Turnbull responded, “I won’t.”

A vote to censure Turnbull for her conduct passed by a 4-1, with only Turnbull voting no.  Turnbull is also now the target of a recall effort.

This is truly a sad case.  No one, let alone a public official, should ever threaten another with bodily harm.  And to insult other electeds and staff is truly inappropriate.  I suspect this is another case of social media not making anyone dumber, but giving someone with questionable judgement another venue in which they can display that lack of judgement.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

Michael Buble Inappropriate Pic

Singer Michael Buble uses Instagram, is creepy

I’m a man, which, without question, comes with certain societal advantages.  One of them, generally speaking, is that I I am far less likely than a woman to be blatantly and publicly objectified for my body.  As a man, I try to be very conscious of this, and practically fall over myself to not be guilty of objectifying women in such a way.  Most men that I know and am friends with behave the same way – after all, we all have mothers, wives and daughters.

Someone really should have told this to singer Michael Buble.

In an Instagram post last week, Buble made this post:

In case you didn’t know (I certainly didn’t), that’s Buble in the picture, and the “Lu” he refers to in the caption is his wife.  Meanwhile, that poor woman just happened to be there.

The comments eviscerated Buble:

  • “I love Michael Bublé but I am very disappointed. He’s a married man he shouldn’t be posting pictures like this! If my fiancé did this I’d kick his fucking ass.”
  • “Would you say what you hashtagged to her face?”
  • “That’s someone’s daughter, dude.”
  • “You made sure to get her permission first before posting, right? And that she’s not a minor? Way to keep it classy.”
  • “yep. let’s humiliate a stranger. Stay Classy, Buble.”

The story also became national news, highlighting the poor taste of the pic.

Buble apparently realized he was a shmuck and put this apology on his Instagram feed on Friday:

A statement from Michael regarding his recent Instagram post.

A photo posted by Michael Bublé (@michaelbuble) on

As far as apologies go, this is a crappy one.  It “hurts [Buble] deeply” that anyone would think he would disrespect women…really?  So he’s the offended party?  He also regrets that people found the photo offensive…not that he took an offensive photo.  When you apologize, you take responsibility and pledge to never let the same thing happen again.  Buble took none.  He clearly doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

I think this goes not just for celebrities or politicians, but for anyone: this is just downright creepy behavior and shows exceptionally poor judgement.  You never make a social media post like this – I’d argue that it was actually a form of harassment/cyber-bullying. Meanwhile, the apology was juvenille, and made Buble sound like he was the offended party.

So, in conclusion, do nothing that Buble did.