Facebook beat Google by feeding people junk food. Now, it seems they’ve hit middle age and realize it’s time to get fit and eat healthily.
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The beauty of Google plus at its inception was that engagement and organic growth were rewarded. The more interesting your content, the better the reward in the form of increased engagement and higher post visibility. If you didn’t engage with other people’s content, people didn’t engage on yours. Everyone declared the network to be a ghost town. But why was this? Simple, Facebook trained everyone to be lab rats, seeking instant gratification. With every new tweak by Google to combat useless comments and negative engagement, the more people turned away from the network. Facebook kept rewarding people for lazy content and stolen viral video.
When Facebook went public, it had to earn real money, instead of pocket change from in-app Game purchases. They sold ad space and marketers bought it up as fast as Facebook could clear new acreage. Marketers were in heaven. Users were mildly annoyed by an ad here and there. Google still struggles, pivot after pivot, trying to define a network for users and become more than a data repository for marketing content to be indexed by the search engine.
Fast forward to 2018. Users are faced with a Facebook landscape littered with sponsored ads, memes, videos, and content begging for likes and shares. Fake news, which spiraled unchecked in 2016 and early 2017, abetted by Facebook’s need for profit, is finally coming under some control. The average user is now distrustful of the content being thrown at them as they scroll their newsfeed. If the users leave, marketers have no audience, and Facebook sells no ads. Facebook’s got a problem; they need to remain profitable yet keep the product, read: users, happy.
Facebook’s solution is to demote unengaging, useless content, and reward people and brands for creating conversations. Marketers can no longer be lazy and fulfill self-imposed posting requirements with endless inspiring quote memes, obscure holiday celebrations, and regurgitated inferior content. People who don’t write thoughtful and thought-provoking introductions on their shares will see their reach decline. Friends won’t see each other’s posts. Posting for the sake of posting is penalized. People aren’t going to see what a brand or person posts if the algorithm decides it isn’t relevant to them.
So, in the end, Google’s original model of rewarding meaningful interaction and engaging content was right after all. Now, if Facebook could give us formatting on our posts, the circle would truly be complete.