Domino, Notes and videotape

Leave My News Feed Alone

January 26th, 2014 | Posted by elfworld in Facebook | Social Media - (1 Comments)

A lot of people expect all their friends to see what they post, except those friends you have put in a group that should only see selected posts from you. The hard and cold truth is that surprisingly few of your friends see what you are posting. Nobody but Facebook knows quite how this is calculated, but it seems that the more you post, the fewer see your postings. And if people are not interacting with your posts, even fewer will see them.

This is especially true if you have a Facebook page, for instance for your company or for your organisation. I’ll give you a good example.

I’m administering the Facebook page for the local revue group I’m a part of. We have 536 followers. Just before Christmas I posted a status telling people that we were selling season tickets for the local football team. Do you know how many people who got that post in their news feed? 23 people! That’s twenty three out of 536 people!

How do I know this? I know this because as an an admin of a Facebook page, you are actually told how many people your postings reached. And by that Facebook means how many people actually got this in their news feed. The last posting we did reached 116 people, but that’s only because we mentioned another Facebook group in our posting, so that it also appeared in their news feed. Which means that both our groups have a very low posting impact…

Dear Facebook

A list of demands for Facebook

So why is this? It’s because Facebook wants you to pay them to promote your updates. Behind the statistics for each posting that I get to see because I’m and admin of the group, there is a button marked “Boost Post.” If I click on it, you’re told how to pay so that your posting will reach even more of your followers.

Yup, you read that right. Facebook wants you to post and share so that they get as much traffic as possible. At the same time they make it as hard as possible for you to do so, and hide your posts behind some bizarre logic. And then they ask you to pay so that the posting will reach the people you really expect it to reach anyway. This is in complete contrast to how all other social media sites operate. On those sites they actually promote your postings for you, for free, if they reach a lot of people.

If you post something on Twitter, every single one of your Twitter followers will be able to see it. When you post a photo on Instagram, all your followers can see what you had for lunch. On LinkedIn all my contacts can see my update. What LinkedIn counts is whether anyone clicked on that update. On Google+ all your postings show up in all the circles (you can group Google+ connections into circles) you choose (but nobody uses Google+ so I guess that point is mute). On Youtube, all your subscribers can see your video, and as long as a video isn’t marked private, everybody who wants to can search and find it. The same goes for your photos on flickr. On all these sites, your posting will be promoted on a front page (or in Twitter’s case as a trending post) if it gets a lot of hits. And that way your posting will reach even more people.

So Facebook bascially sucks. However, there is hope. See the list above? I will give you some tips for every point in that list:

1) To see all your friends posts you can create your own News feed. A couple of years ago, in my old blog, I showed how to do that, and that recipe will still work.

2) Posts in the order they are posted can also be achieved, either by following my first tip, or by installing FB Purity. Please, please, do your self a favour and install FB Purity. You can edit your newsfeed to your heart’s delight. Seriously. You will want to send me flowers or have my babies for giving you this tip! FB Purity doesn’t work on your cell phone, but if you go to Settings in your Facebook app, you should see a cog wheel (or similar) for editing your news feed settings. Here you can choose to show recent postings and get most postings in chronological order.

3) Get rid of “top stories.” See any of my tips in point 1 and 2. Have you installed FB Purity yet? No? Well go ahead! It’s the only thing that keeps me from leaving Facebook.

4) You can get rid of old postings at the top of your stream because of new comments on it by…. INSTALLING FB PURITY or create your own news feed.

5) Want Facebook to stop telling you everything your friends do on Facebook? In this case creating your own news feed won’t work, but what will help is…. FB PURITY!

6) However, how to see all posts from pages you like I something I can’t help youwith . None of my above tips will help. If you got any tips, please share.

So now you know why so few people like or comment on your postings compared to what they used to do. And now you know why you really should analyze whether a Facebook page for your company or organisation is worth the trouble. As you can see, getting people to like your page is no guarantee that they will see what you post…


When Facebook announced that they were going to introduce hashtags as part of their service, the reactions could be categorised into three groups:

  • What now?
  • Why, oh dear Lord, why?
  • Finally!

Personally I’m in the last category, but I will go through each category here. First of all because I’d like to give people who don’t know what hashtags are, or how they can be used, an introduction. But I also would like to go through the pros and cons of the use of hashtags.

What now?If you don’t know what hashtags are, here is a short intro: Hashtags are keywords that are used to categorise something you’ve posted. It’s heavily used on social sites like Twitter and Instagram, and to a lesser extent on Google+ and LinkedIn.


Hashtags can be used to search for postings about a certain subject

You create a hashtag simply by putting the #-character in front of a word or phrase. The phrase can’t have any spaces in it. So if you for instance posted a photo of your breakfast on Instagram, an all too frequent occurrence I’m afraid, you could tag this post with the phrases #breakfast #food #morning or something similar.

These hashtags will then become links. If people click on any of them, Instagram will do a search for you and present other photos tagged with the same hashtag.

During big world wide or national events, people tend to agree on specific tags for the event. So during the Eurovision Song Contest people who posted on Twitter about it used the hasthtag #esc.

When a hashtag becomes very popular, it turns into a trending topic, and Twitter often display trending topics for you via the hashtag.

So is this useful for you? Yes, it makes it much easier to know what to search for and to find postings about subjects you care about.

In addition it makes it easier for others to find your own postings. Now, this could make it very tempting to pepper your postings with hashtags, but please don’t. I’m guilty of doing this myself, but if you use too many hashtags, people or services might consider it as spamming.

In the image above, I’ve searched for the hashtag #eiendomsskatt (property tax) on Twitter. I could easily have done this on also Instagram, Google+ or LinkedIn. And now you can do it on Facebook.

Why, oh dear Lord, why?
I was a bit surprised to see that people who are using social media sites a lot were completely against hashtags on Facebook. However, I think I know where they are coming from.

Hashtags, especially on Twitter, can sometimes be used in a very bad way. Very often you will find people using a hashtag they have invented, like #mymommaisagreatcook. Naturally, these hashtags don’t lead to any other topics about this, and are therefore just meant to be funny or clever.

Facebook is full enough of junk as it is, and if people start creating hashtags like #ohwhydomydogdothistome just to get a feeling across or to be sarcastic, Facebook certainly isn’t going to get any better any time soon. And I don’t even want to think about all the spammers and the tagging they will start doing on Facebook now…

There are also safety issues. Remember that hashtags are meant for searching and sorting topics. So if you tag a posting on Facebook, will this posting then be visible for everybody who do a search on that tag? Or will is just be visible to you and your friends?

A friend of mine tagged his posting with #molde, which is the name of the town where we live, and I clicked on it. I got a long list of postings tagged with #molde, and I only knew a few of the people who had done these postings. Now, does Facebook also list postings from accounts that are protected from anyone but friends? I don’t know. I choose to think they don’t, but you never know.

On top of this, a lot of people don’t know what their security settings are, so if you start using hashtags, please make sure that you’re settings are set to a level that you feel comfortable with. I’m afraid we are going to see a lot more examples of people finding postings they thought were only presented to a closed circle out in the open.

Now to my group. I love hashtags! I’ve used them, and I’ve abused them. I frequently do searches via hashtags on most services I’m on. Even on LinkedIn. Just take this blog for example, the tags for my postings here can be thought of as hashtags. Just click on one of them in any of my postings here, and give it a try. Even flickr has had tags since the beginning. They’re not hastags, but the principle is the same.

I’ve therefore often wondered why Facebook haven’t introduced hashtags, since they for years were leading the way for social media. They have fallen a bit behind in recent times, but hashtags are a welcome addition now that they’re finally here.

So, please use hashtags. But use them wisely. Use them so that people easier can find your postings and use them to generate traffic based on how interesting and relevant you can make the tags. But do not use 10-20 tags in a posting.

Let’s make a deal. From now on, I will from now on only use three hastags for every posting I do, and you will do the same. Deal?