[bestbits] Monetising socialisation

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Feb 18 01:37:00 EST 2015

(Also reproduced below this email)

It is bad, even if here it is monetising social connect between a 
business and a 'follower' group that 'it' has created. Smacks of public 
street pay-off rackets involving petty businesses that most police 
forces in developing countries live off.

It is unthinkable that when every small and big business segment with 
direct public interest implication - whether it be banks or cab services 
- is so highly regulated, Internet monopolies that have captured whole 
online utility sections, social networking being an important one, 
should be left completely unregulated. And they can at their will tweak 
their algorithms that involves shifting the very terms of online social 
discourse and interaction. Absolutely unthinkable!!

But to make the unthinkable possible, these business actors and their 
political backers - chiefly the US gov - has invested huge amount of 
resources, and cunning, including aimed at cultivating civil society in 
the global IG space. And it is a measure of their great success that 
these most important of global governance issues never reach the key 
global IG spaces!

In fact, my organisation, IT for Change, proposed a workshop on 
"Regulating global Internet businesses", for IGF 2013. It was rejected 
as irrelevant or not appropriate by the IGF's Multistakeholder Advisory 
Group. Which only shows how much the IGF and the MAG is captured, and 
has begun to act as a filter against, rather than a facilitator for, 
meaningful global IG discussions. Actually it is ready to act even more 
loyal than the king, given that the WEF 2015 had a workshop on a very 
similar topic, which was rejected as irrelevant/ inappropriate by the 
MAG of the IGF.


  About Face: How Facebook Drove Us Away

  * Feb. 15, 2015
  * 3 min read
  * original

Two weeks ago we made the decision to delete our Facebook presence.

Unlike some companies that have left the social network in a huff, we 
aren't angry. We aren’t bitter or resentful. No angst.

We approached our decision from a business-like perspective, carefully 
analyzing the return on investment. The same way we do for other forms 
of marketing and advertising; you know, the way any company should 
evaluate the channels it uses. We saw it just wasn’t worth it.

Like many companies, we fell into the category of those who feel that 
time and money spent on Facebook is a waste. 
It wasn’t that we didn’t like connecting with our fans and friends 
there; rather it was recent changes in Facebook’s promotional policies 
that made the likelihood of our fans even seeing our posts slim to none.

We gave it a good three years. We paid FB to advertise our company’s 
page; we added our FB page link to every employee’s e-mail signature, 
noted the URL in our advertising, linked our page on every page of our 
website. . . and over those three years we built up 6,000+ followers. We 
posted regularly, often two posts per day, and were careful to avoid 
promotional content and ad pitches – our posts, like our blog, centered 
on industry news and insights that our followers could likely use in 
their own work.

As Facebook began to limit newsfeed exposure for brands 
like ours, our daily posts might reach between 30 and 70 followers . . . 
out of 6,000+. Let’s call that around 1% on a good day. If we wanted to 
reach more folks (around 20%) that would cost us $5 for each “promoted” 

So let’s say we paid $5 per post for 8 posts per week. That’s $2080 per 
that’s only reaching around 1,200 people. Want to reach them all? You’re 
talking 4 times that or more.

Okay, so maybe we are a little miffed that Facebook has decided for us – 
and our followers – who we should be allowed to talk to each day. That’s 
the opposite of what socializing is all about. But that’s their business 
model, and we get to take it or leave it. We left it.

We don’t object to paying for promoted posts that reach NEW followers; 
nothing is free in this big old world and we get that every company has 
to make money. The magazine industry exists thanks to paid advertising, 
with brands seeking to engage via media. But organic reach – that 
carefully built engagement of followers that took so long to build – is 
now a thing of the past. You cultivated the relationship, but Facebook 
decides how often you get to connect with them. They have become the 
social chaperones of the digital age.

We join many other companies who have grown frustrated with Facebook 
some leaving in rather spectacular flameouts like Eat24’s infamous exit 
Facebook’s snarky reply 
to made it clear that they couldn’t care less what businesses thought of 
their new algorithms, asserting that organic brand content was not 
something that their users want to see -- even when they’ve indicated 
that, yes, indeed, they do.

Will we be back? Never say never. As any marketing or media channel 
evolves, they’ll offer advertisers and marketers options that might or 
might not make sense. If it looks good, we’ll try it. If not, we do not 
feel compelled to be on Facebook because “everyone has to be,” which has 
been the breathless mantra repeated by tech-savvy digital marketers in 
the past few years.

In this age of data driven marketing, it should be up to the brand, not 
the platform, to decide who sees their messages. That is the crux of 
effective marketing.

Late last year Facebook announced some new targeting tools 
<http://media.fb.com/2014/12/10/new-tools-and-insights-for-publishers-2/> that 
should “allow publishers to serve content to specific subsets of people 
who like their pages, pull down time sensitive posts to avoid displaying 
outdated content and, optionally, allow Facebook to automatically post 
articles that are already popular on the social network,” according to 
Martin Beck in MarketingLand 
Those tools are only available (at this point) to the big media 
organizations with, we imagine, robust marketing budgets to match. It’s 
on them to decide if their investment is worth it, and if they want to 
let Facebook make these critical marketing decisions on their behalf.

Meanwhile, we will continue to engage with our followers and fans on 
Twitter <http://www.twitter.com/FreeportPress> and LinkedIn 
<https://twitter.com/freeportpress>, where our content is not filtered 
out and we aren’t charged to reach the audience that we’ve built. We 
share many of our posts on LinkedIn with specific groups based around 
industry interests, and often engage in some great discussions there. We 
will also reach many of you with our Weekly Newsletter 
<http://www.freeportpress.com/newsletter/> via Constant Contact.

/We look forward to seeing you there./ See ya ‘round, Mark.

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