There’s a part of my job that is tedious and can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. There’s also a part of it as a digital marketer that is all about discovering new ways to reach the right people, find out what their behaviors are, the type of content they gravitate towards, and how various algorithms work.
So, being always on the lookout for new ideas to develop digital content on the internet, I am never done experimenting. Case in point: I recently tried out Tiktok because it was touted as a new effective advertising platform for social media users and businesses.
I would never have even touched the app otherwise.
Facebook has long known that it was losing its young audience. My youngsters at home don’t use Facebook and I’ve quit the platform a couple of years back. Cold turkey. I just decided that the platform and the kind of digital content found there no longer suited me and it started losing authenticity.
That was why Facebook bought Instagram in 2012.
This way, it could continue to keep the older users on Facebook while tapping into the younger ones on Instagram. When Facebook made the move, I did not like it at all. It was a digital cave where I lurk in relative safety…and Facebook knew there was a bunch of people like me.
As a user, I felt that the buy-in made Facebook sly and inescapable. But as a business, it was the right move.
Instagram and TikTok have features that are quite likable and it is their Explore Page. They’re considerably accurate for searches and discoveries of new digital content and users. In fact, the Explore Page is viewed by more than 200 accounts every day.
It’s All About The Money, Money, Money
Facebook is known to be selfish and money-minded when it comes to making your content viewable to a larger base audience. Their primary goal is…PAY for it.
This creates inroads for large companies and organizations to pay their way to discovery. Authentic users will find it hard to find anything genuine or interesting on the platform if the content creator was not pumping money into the FB engine. It’s no wonder Facebook faced intense scrutiny from governments, regulators, company shareholders, and founders of companies, large and small alike.
I don’t know how big of a role the founders of Facebook play in this multi-billion dollar company today, but I believe his true intentions remain. The problem is that he doesn’t understand (or don’t care about) the problem we, the users, are facing while we are worrying about the privacy policies and how it’s being used.
It seems to be confused.
Facebook Private vs Professional – What Is Your Problem?
Because as a personal user, there isn’t a problem with creating and promoting our content. We may not, however, want to attach our personal profiles to Facebook Business. Employees, staff, and other agencies are supposed to be permitted access, allowed to run, explore, discover, manage, and analyze insights and data freely within Facebook Business.
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Many of us in digital marketing are using Facebook for multiple groups and pages. Because we have a little bit more know-how than others who need social media, especially during this pandemic, we often run more than one page or group.
But it has stopped normal digital marketers from creating individual professional accounts so that we can run the campaigns as separate without attaching our individual profiles to our professional one.
This is where the problem is.
Facebook should recognize the right of people to not to reveal their work stuff to Facebook. For instance, if I work in a car workshop, it doesn’t have the right to demand information about the campaigns I run for the workshop company.
Or does it? Maybe it’s something to think about.
The Never-Ending Privacy and Algorithmic Saga For Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg continues to believe that, in fighting against fake news and privacy abuse, one needs to use a personal account verified to belong to a ‘real person to manage Facebook pages and groups.
Some like me would contend that what I do to make a living has nothing to do with my personal life. I don’t want it to be intertwined. If I wanted it to be professional, I have Linkedin. Likewise, on Linkedin, I don’t need every professional I connect with there to know how many kids I have and what my favorite foods are.
Working for a clothing company does not make me a fashionista. It needs to be separate. This simply means I could work for a clothing company but love other things in real life.
Facebook needs to see a more realistic version of what Facebook is before it loses more users without needing to buy into newer social media platforms. It is my personal, humble opinion that the founder(s) of Facebook has lost touch with the reality of what its users are looking for.
After all, the real goal of Facebook (beyond the initial dating and looks-rating site it was) was to give people the power to share real stuff with people who matter. To do things within closed and open online communities. To keep whoever is interested engaged in the content we are posting on the platform.
For the social media giant, the timed goal is for the engagement to be long enough to create a cave of cash for the company, that is.
The people at Facebook, based on the kind of activities we’re doing and money we’re paying, are making truckloads of cash. The profit was USD22 billion in 2018 and it’s quickly proliferated by now with the pandemic’s ceiling crushing down on common folks like us.
Facebook can continue to monetize our content based on our private information whether outrightly or discreetly. We will never know the true extent of it all, anyway.
The Rise Of Hybrid, Alternate Social Media Platforms
I balk every time people say Mark Zuckerberg is sticking to the original idea of empowering people to either share information, engage, connect or build community. It’s not what it has become. It’s now a money-making, cash-squeezing, biased, power-hungry, and distorted social media platform.
I’ve come to ask myself why people continue using it. My answer is always this: almost everyone I know is already on it and they don’t know how to move on to other social media platforms – especially the older generation.
Or maybe they just don’t want to move to another platform.
Honestly speaking, Facebook will continue to hold the lion’s share of the internet pie until and unless someone challenges it at its own game. The wretched situation is that the younger generation now prefers other modes of publishing, i.e. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, or Twitch.
Instagram remains one of the better platforms out there (although it IS owned by Facebook) especially when it boils down to advertising to Millennials and GenZers.
On the other hand, while trying TikTok (and its awesome content creation tools), I found it to be more discoverable, fun, and less complicated. Gamers, on the other hand, have their go-to in the form of streaming their games on Twitch while arts and crafts people are all over Pinterest.
Families are also using TikTok and Instagram (because of its open system) to share their content with other family members.
There is quite a gender balance on these platforms (except for Twitch which is still dominated by males) but it’s really important to note that more than 130 million Instagram users engaged with shopping or promoted posts during the pandemic. The number is increasing every month because there is an estimated 71% increase of businesses using Instagram today.
Videos And Going Live
With so many of us on lockdowns, released from lockdowns, and then going back into lockdowns throughout the two years of this pandemic, more than 80% of people have reportedly watched at least one LIVE video on either Facebook or Youtube over the past 12 months.
To connect with others despite being confined to our homes with the internet is a precious means of human social connection and interaction.
However, this means that the line between our private and professional lives has become more blurry. For someone who has been doing this for more than 20 years, I know the beast well.
I’ve developed enough discipline, strength, and strategy to get things moving in a hybrid environment. I love how people are more willing to reveal their TRUE SELVES on the internet instead of the fabricated, touched-up versions of what they want people to think they are on social media.
Gen Zers are now creating more content of their own because of the pandemic. The numbers will drop when we’re out in the clear but still, it has changed the way we use social media. We use it for news, entertainment, connection, creation, comfort, therapy, education, and business.
A lot of people I know don’t watch TV anymore. They’re either streaming content on other platforms, subscribing to the likes of Netflix, or just using YouTube as their main form of entertainment.
I created an anonymous TikTok account for the sake of experiment and discovery, innocently thinking that young TikTok users will find my content uninteresting. I would, therefore, stay under the radar.
What WAS interesting was that my older relatives found me on TikTok without me telling them about it (it’s an experimental account mainly for work) and sharing it in a family Whatsapp group. I was floored.
It seems that this natural habitat for Gen Z has attracted a more diverse base of audience in the form of parents who wish to connect with their children during the pandemic.
The older generation is starting to see its appeal.
There are so many different versions of videos that we can create. For instance, never would I have thought that First-Person videos were going to ‘make it’. This drone-driven video in a bowling alley (YouTube) got more than 2 million views (at the time of publishing) despite being only 1 min 27 seconds long. It’s the same concept as game streaming where the gamer LIVE streams his or her gameplay to their viewers and followers.
It tells you where we are going with it, doesn’t it?
My summary is this: more people are hopping onto the social media bandwagon because it is now no longer the alternative; it’s heading mainstream albeit a less regulated, nuanced, or sophisticated one. With the pandemic, all of us are, more or less, in the same boat. The more relatable you are, the bigger winner you will be.
Nearly half of social media users say that social media is now their digital detoxing medium. It’s a kind of comfort instead of a distraction.
For me, sadly, Facebook is not going in that direction if they continue with their clamp-down on how and when we see what we want to see on the social media platform. Because first, let normal people like us digital marketers create a boundary between our personal and professional lives in order to PAY you for business-related promoted campaigns. I don’t need all my personal data in a business account, thank you very much!
The money that goes into it is the kind of revolting capitalism I sometimes loathe. And the world doesn’t look too kindly to this kind of behavior from the top guys with that kind of power.
As the world continues to come up with new ways to tap into technology to enhance our lives, I would like to remind people to be more mindful about what they post and where they post their content on social media.
Real life matters.
Have a great week ahead!