*Is Facebook being fraudulent? How much is a like worth?*tl;dr
You have to pay to advertise on Facebook or your page doesn't get promoted. Many publicly funded institutions cannot
legally do this. Is this heralding the beginning of the end for Facebook as an outreach method?long version
Shortly after I woke up this morning, i watched this video that was put up by +Derek Muller
. I knew I wanted to share it out, but had to think for a bit about just what I wanted to say
It's really easy to slam Facebook, especially if you're an avid user of +Google+
like the vast majority of us are. I know I have a personal bias against it as well, only really using it to share out my work to a slightly different demographic than those I reach on here and Twitter.
Derek brings up a huge cause for concern with the new model that Facebook started using last year when it comes to promotion and advertising on their platform. You must pay to play.
If you don't pay, then your posts (as a page) are not promoted throughout their network like it had previously. If you do
pay, your page is promoted until you receive a certain amount of "likes", which is the equivalent to having someone circle your page here on G+.
Many find this to be unfair, especially if you don't have any money budgeted for paid ads. Typically one could chalk that up as a battle between the haves & have-nots and call it a day. But herein lies a major problem.
The purpose of advertising and marketing is for audience/customer engagement. You're trying to reach a wider group of people who may not have seen your content before and actually participate
in the discussion or consumption of that content.
What Derek found out is that even if you promote through completely legitimate means
on Facebook, the "likes" that you get are from seemingly random no/low engaging users that have no real interest in what you're promoting. Essentially, for the money you've paid into their system of advertisements, you get absolutely nothing in return besides a number of likes.
For many people, that's completely fine. They can go to their boss/partners/investors and show that they're making a huge impact when it comes to social media. "People like us!"
The longer you rely upon that sole metric as a measure of success, the more you realize you're literally throwing money away with nothing in return.
As many of you know, I work in science outreach. I partner up with a bunch of amazing
people to create things that help bring science to the public in a way that's accessible for most everyone who watches. Some of these are NASA contractors.*NASA can not use taxpayer dollars to pay for advertisements*
There is a difference between public outreach and advertisements. Public outreach has the sole focus of educating the public and showing what the tax dollars have been used for. This is why there are teams dedicated to education & public outreach in association with missions, but you don't have television ads telling you to go visit +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and buy things at their visitor's center.
So when a platform actively throttles down the content that's being created by NASA, their contractors or anything else because they're not actually able to pay for advertisements, I have an issue with this. There's currently no way around this problem except to dedicate resources to other platforms such as Google+ (for which I, among many people, welcome with open arms).
Here on Google+ we've been able to cultivate amazing conversations
with an enormous amount of people we've never had the opportunity to before. You can hang out with scientists, talk with engineers, ask an astronaut a question or even see how images from the +Hubble Space Telescope
are processed live in a Hangout on Air!
I thank Derek for making this amazing video that really highlights some problems with the advertising model that's on Facebook. I'll most likely have a conversation with him about this at #scio14
at the end of the month. I wish I could say I was just "FB Hating", but this is a major problem when it comes to sharing out the fantastic science
that's being done across the world.
ETA: +Amanda Blain
also made a great write-up about this just an hour and a half ago, and is definitely worth a read, especially from a non-science-outreach point of view. http://goo.gl/EfRe63 #Outreach #ScienceEveryday #SocialMedia #Facebook #GooglePlus #STEM #Advertising #Education