Facebook - The Great Divider Of The World
Categories: Tech, Life Stories, Extra
It was but a few years back that AOL Group Chats and Messenger were replaced by Myspace, and shortly after by Facebook. The baton was handed from one great platform to another as the muck and mire of one business model couldn't seem to adapt and find its way through to newer and better pastures. Facebook was the platform that opened our eyes and ears to better communication. The more the merrier when it meant that we only had to say one time that "It's my birthday," and everybody knew about it. Facebook was a place for people to congregate in their own time, and not all at once, but from everywhere without walking a single step to meet in the middle. The world of knowledge was growing exponentially, not simply in knowledge about science or industry, but knowledge about the happenings of life and lives of people we knew or wanted to know.
This model was fantastic. We were in control of what we wanted to see. A friend and I started a little community called "Living off the Grid." It seems a lot of people were interested, for on the first day, 300 people followed the page. In 3 months, more than 30,000. It was an unexpected, yet welcomed change of direction of life. From that online group came a project with 28 people from the page. We planned together to build strawbale homes, and a Discovery Channel Documentary Contract came together over it all. They wanted to film what we were up to!
We struggled through those times as Discovery pulled the plug on the show. We were trapped on a 10 acre lot we were buying without any money or food, yet the audience followed us through it all. They saw our struggles and our successes, and came along for a ride. A simple post about finding 8 puppies on the roadside could reach half a million viewers. It was exciting and amazing!
We had over 75,000 followers coming out of the struggle zone. I moved on into the roofing business, and had great success, while finding time to write about Living off the Grid late into the night. When out driving, I would stop and photograph unique underground homes, meet people in unique off-grid locations, and tell stories about those I ran into. One day something clicked, and we began to grow.... I mean exponentially! We went from 75,000 to 700,000 followers in a matter of months. At that point we were growing at about 17,000 followers per day. I rapidly learned about blogging and google ads, Youtube monetization, and found that we could make lots of money off all that traffic. Business partnerships were made, we hired writers, and the race was on to utilize the following we had grown to better the page and cover our costs as we grew.
Just then, Facebook made a change. They activated ads, created the infamous algorithm, and implemented new like and follow buttons. It was as if our audience disappeared. They couldn't see our posts, they got just one ever so often if at all. Our traffic was slashed 90%, and we had to find a way through if we were going to keep everybody working.
All of us learned with time, some quicker than others, that the new Facebook model would allow traffic through for free if and only if it was popular. How popular a post happened to be was determined by likes, comments, and shares. The algorithm went through subtle changes, each of those driving more and more of a wedge between good relevant content and viral content. Viral became defined by content which provoked a knee-jerk response right after posting. What is more provoking than a lie? So posts that made the most money after that for bloggers were lies... half truths... slanderous attacks.... divisive content. A post that talks about strawbale home construction on the living off the grid page would get no traffic, yet a post about a hunter who killed a lion in cold blood would get all the traffic... because there were two polarized audiences... the vegans who supported the article, and the hunters who opposed it. This concept of free posts and the traffic driven to certain articles that were divisive meant that facebook became the wedge between readers. It took two groups of opposing ideas, and forced them to strengthen their divide. Facebook, in that moment began its role as the divider of the world. Everything we see now is the result of their model, and the craving to get free traffic instead of paying for it on their platform.
A better model would have been to adopt Google Ads, and run them on the page. Google shares with its content creators, and its model is much kinder. Facebook was greedy and wanted all the ad revenue for itself. We are all paying the price for their greed. Zuckerberg we can fix this problem. Ask me how.
Now, in retrospect I look back... Facebook tied itself to the Democratic party, and began deleting sites and pages within its ranks following a political agenda, or avoiding political conflicts. After 8 years, "Living off the Grid" is gone, so is "Amazing to See". 40 million weekly page views reduced to zero. There's no customer service number to call and deal with it. Only the courts. That's how we reach Facebook is with legal suits. It's the only way, so we're on our way... thousands of us in a massive march to the beat of a class action that they will not forget, and may not recover from. No-one will want to advertise with Facebook when we're through, because they delete the pages that pay for their existence. We'll use the money to replace Facebook with something better.... a platform akin to the vision of Facebook before the greed. Eyes on the change, for it's in the works.