Please Don’t Like Us On Facebook (Because There’s No Damned Point)

I’m sure you have heard by now that once again Facebook is tweaking its timeline algorithm. Generally speaking, Facebook friends will get more exposure, Facebook Pages will get less. And it’s to the point that I feel I need to ask you to not “like” ResearchBuzz News on Facebook.

I started writing about search engines in 1996 and I started ResearchBuzz in 1998. When I first started I was creating the site with Microsoft FrontPage (remember that?) then I moved to Movable Type, then self-hosted WordPress and finally, about five years ago, WordPress.com. In an effort to get the content to people who might want it on the platform they prefer, I have RSS, an e-mail newsletter, and I distribute content on Twitter, G+, and Facebook.

ResearchBuzz does not make money. In fact I pay WordPress.com not to put ads on the site. I could put up my own ads but I haven’t for many years, for two reasons: first, because I don’t think that the money I would make would be worth the possible annoyance and danger to you (yes, danger: advertising networks are increasingly being used for malware) and because I really loathe a lot of the advertising out there, especially those ads concerning the “amazing technique that makes an 85-year-old woman look like a fetus” or some such (as if there’s anything to be ashamed of in being or looking 85. But that’s another rant.) I hope I never get in the position where I feel like I have to do ads on RB.

So it’s a money-losing labor of love. I don’t care. I love the topic, I love you, and there’s too many wonderful archives and tools and databases being created out there that don’t get enough attention, and I want you to know about them, dammit.

But Facebook does not to my knowledge distinguish between the fan page of ResearchBuzz News, which is free and publishes all its content under the license CC-BY-NC, and the fan page of McDonald’s, which is a giant corporation. They’re both Pages, so they’re both subject to Facebook’s organic reach throttling.

Facebook’s “organic reach” is how many people a Page post reaches when the Page doesn’t pay to promote that particular post. It isn’t 100%, but you might be surprised how low it is. For example, ResearchBuzz News at this moment has 3,566 “likes”. However, the average organic page reach of the last ten posts is, at this writing, 51 Facebook fans. In other words the last ten posts to the page reached an average of 1.43% of the people who “liked” the page.


When I initially encouraged people to “like” ResearchBuzz News, it was with the idea that if you did you would actually receive updates from the fan page in your timeline. That’s looking less and less likely, and I can’t afford to “boost” posts. Nor do I have time to slavishly follow every Facebook suggestion for the “right” content to increase page reach, and change my direction every time it changes its mind. No.

Facebook of course is an independent company and can do what it likes subject to the bounds of Federal law and any dictates issued by Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie. But from my perspective, they are a complete washout for distributing information to ResearchBuzz readers, so I’m asking you respectfully to not “like” ResearchBuzz News on Facebook, or at least if you do “like” it, understand that you have roughly the same chance of actually seeing a ResearchBuzz News item in your timeline as you do in sustaining a direct hit from an asteroid. (I may be exaggerating. Slightly.) I will keep sending items to the page, but on the assumption that very, very few people are seeing them.

Here are the many other ways you can get ResearchBuzz:

1) At http://researchbuzz.com .

2) Via the full-text RSS feed.

3) By e-mail. There’s a signup form on the right side of the page at ResearchBuzz.com . It’s free.

4) Via Twitter. I’m at https://twitter.com/ResearchBuzz.

5) A few items go on Google+.

I have thought occasionally about doing a weekly podcast covering the best of the new resources so I’d have something audio based and you could make fun of my accent. And if there’s any other way I can distribute these bits so you can do some good with them, I always welcome suggestions.

Here’s my dream job: going through my daily information traps and being able to connect every link I find with someone who needs it. Of course, I will never have my dream job. But the more useful I can be in getting resources and news to people who can use it, the happier I will be. Unfortunately Facebook is not a viable outlet for that. Not anymore.

Categories: Rants

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8 replies »

  1. I feel your pain. I put together a similar list of “other ways to get” and plan on posting it periodically. The majority of my FB posts are also Twitter and G+ posts at the same time (as well as RSS, email, you know the drill).

  2. I love what you do and hope you keep doing it. And thanks for the rant, I got an early morning chuckle from it. Always good.

  3. You have been my most consistent resource for web search information and resources for years, and your work is a huge benefit for me. Thank you so much for all you do!! I would follow you for your content anyway, but I also appreciate your sense of humor. Your posts are a consistently a bright spot in my day!

    I get your posts via email.

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