“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
-John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902)
Ever since Facebook forced the new Timeline layout on its users, I have had a sneaking suspicion that something is awry. The radical redesign, followed by the introduction of promoted posts, as well as increased ads in the right sidebar, left a sick feeling in my stomach. Facebook, as we knew it, is no more. IT’S OVER, I TELL YOU…IT’S OVER!
Histrionics aside, I chalked up my initial impressions of the update as an expression of my aversion to change. “This newest Facebook”, I figured, “will end up being just fine.”
After a couple of months, my comfort level with the new layout grew. Remarkably, I even kind of like it now. Facebook has added a few cool features, increased the size of displayed images when you share articles, and provided a slicker presentation when you update photographs. All excellent, in my opinion. They also added (or was it always there?) a feature to schedule your posts, and began displaying the actual reach of each posting.
This data provided curious feedback. At no point were my posts being seen by my entire 1000+ followers. The numbers actually weren’t even close. At best, maybe 10% actually saw my postings. Now, I am fully aware that a certain percentage might hide AskPPC posts from there feed. What I couldn’t believe is that 90% of my followers would. Cue my nagging suspicions once again!
Sure enough, shortly after this data began appearing, Facebook added a new, more prominent “Promote” drop menu so that users could increase the reach of selected updates. “Another example of Facebook flexing their advertising muscles”, I figured. I could in effect play along or take my ball and go home. Fine.
However, I soon noticed a trend that I cannot justify. Facebook, it appears, is limiting the exposure of scheduled posts from social media dashboards like Hootsuite. As someone who uses both Hootsuite and Facebook to schedule posts, the side by side differences are startling:
A quick scan through our feed found numerous instances where a standard Facebook post, compared to a scheduled Hootsuite post, resulted in a viewer difference as high as 3 to 1! As a quick test, I scheduled my last post Monday (7/9/12) using Facebook’s tool and my final post Tuesday (7/10/12) using Hootsuite.
Note the difference in volume (and in the actual presentation!) for both posts. Facebook, it appears, is penalizing posts submitted using social media dashboards. Have any other Hootsuite users noted this difference? We would love to hear your feedback!