Facebook Demonstrates Why Digital Sharecroppers Live Dangerously

an unwitting victim...bwahahhahahaa

Digital sharecropping is often described publishing your content on a 3rd party site but it doesn’t have to mean it is the only place you publish.

Some of my friends, colleagues and cohorts are learning the hard way that digital sharecropping doesn’t always work out as well as we might like it to, especially those who built very large and active Facebook communities.


Facebook Is Ending the Free Ride

Yeah that subhead is actually a link to a story on Valleywag that is should be of great interest to anyone who has been relying upon Facebook as their primary source of digital traffic.

Look at the following:

A source professionally familiar with Facebook’s marketing strategy, who requested to remain anonymous, tells Valleywag that the social network is “in the process of” slashing “organic page reach” down to 1 or 2 percent.


The alternative is of course to pay for more attention. If you want an audience beyond a measly one or two percent, you’ll have to pay money—perhaps a lot of money, if you’re a big business.

The change was described to me by a source as a cataclysm for businesses, something Facebook is calling the extreme throttling a “strategy pivot” they’re slowly telling brands one by one so as not to start a panic.

You Have To Pay To Play

It used to be that status updates on your page would reach a large percentage of those who had liked and or followed it. It used to be easy to reach people because it was right there in their feed but not any more.

Now Facebook is encouraging us all to spend a couple of bucks to reach people.

If you are willing to pay for advertising this might not be a big deal to you at all. It is not all that surprising or unexpected because at some point Facebook has to work to make their shareholders happy and when you have access to that many eyeballs advertising is a gimme.

It doesn’t take the business acumen of a Warren Buffet to have seen this coming either.

What Can You Do To “Protect” Yourself

If you don’t want to run the risks that come with being a digital sharecropper the easiest thing to do is to simply not do it. But let’s take a step back and ask why you are using Facebook or any social media platform.

If you are doing so for business purposes we’ll assume that you have identified the platforms that your prospects and customers most frequently use and that there are enough on them to merit being there.

Since you are both smart and savvy we’ll say we are confident that you have taken steps to try and sign those people up to a list you control and that it doesn’t matter if Facebook throttles your access because they still get your message from that source you control.

Can you Game The System?

Sure, there is always a way to game the system but if you can avoid trying to figure out how to do that you should. Work smarter, not harder. Measure twice, cut once and all that other rot is applicable here because it makes sense and it is smart.

What do you think?

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  1. Pingback: Treachery on the High Seas Of Web Hosting & Social Media - Joshua Wilner

  2. Ashvini March 27, 2014 at 3:10 am

    The danger is obvious, not to bloggers that much but to entrepreneurs who are going to build new applications. Facebook was built by people and people ( and the corporations) spent months building a fan base over there. Now they moved to monetize that is fine with me but I don’t know why they are curtailing the freedom of end users.
    Even if we liked something, we cannot see it because Facebook does not want us to see it. They forgot the reason they existed in the first place ( to be built and supported by users) .
    It is going to be bad for new entrepreneurs as trust levels are going down and nobody would like to build a community on their sites.

  3. Mary Stephenson March 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Josh

    Everyone should have known something was coming when they went public. Can’t always do what you want when you have to answer to shareholders.

    Sad if the only marketing you have is done through Facebook. It is like someone else owning your blog, you have to play by their rules. Sort of like those people a few years back that were solely invested in Amazon for their business. When Amazon pulled out of California they went from good incomes to zero. Of course they are back now, but having to restructure your whole life around the only supplier you had was nuts.


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