1628 Likes and Why I am Shutting Down My Blog's Facebook Page

1628 Likes and Why I am Shutting Down My Blog's Facebook Page

As an experiment to see if buying traffic would even be a feasible alternative to keep my page alive, I boosted a post, spending $10 to potentially reach a larger number of those who liked my page.  While I could choose to reach both those who liked my page and their friends, I could not choose to solely target likers, which is frustrating, but I decided to see what $10 would do. The people who saw my post jumped up by more than 10 times to a reach of 1492 people, which means that 92% of my traffic to that post was paid.

That means, if I only posted to my Facebook page once a day and wanted to have even most of my page's likers see my content, I would have to pay a minimum of $300/month, that's $3600/year, to unleash the 90-95% of my page's old potential organic traffic through likes alone. If my page likes increased, the cost of reaching them would go up, too.

If I were a larger organization or retailer, I might be able to justify this kind of cash as an advertising expense, but as a medium-sized blogger who genuinely wants to connect with people, I cannot argue my way into believing that Facebook's public pages make sense for me anymore, especially when personal profiles offer so much more as far as connection and conversation go.

The only conclusion I can come to is that it's time to close down my blog's Facebook page and use my personal profile as my main point of Facebook engagement. This is actually a good thing.

Over the last year, I found that my public Facebook page made engagement very one-sided. People came to see me, but I could not go to see them in the same way, because pages do not behave like personal profiles as part of the conversational back-and-forth in people's timelines. Our public page conversations are effectively lifted out of the general Facebook timeline and primarily isolated on the pages themselves. It has felt too much like broadcasting and too little like connection.

Over the last week since I asked people to use my personal profile instead, my Facebook profile increased from about 140 to over 600 friends, and it's steadily climbing. I have had so much more human and meaningful interaction in less than a week than I ever saw in the whole year that I ran my Facebook page. I am back in the general thick of it chatting, seeing what other people are up to, and being present with people as a friend and acquaintance rather than a broadcaster operating through a blog page's agenda.

Facebook's public pages are basically a paid advertising game now, which makes sense for Facebook, apparently, but the kind of interaction that this pushes me towards as a personal blogger is no longer a good fit for me or my content. Rather than feel upset about the changes, though, I am happy. 

Facebook's throttling of public page traffic has pushed me to reexamine my engagement there — what I do, why I do it, how I do it, and who I do it with — and I have come to a more integrated and human approach again, a place that feels more meaningful to me and more true to what I commit myself to online.

Of course, there are certain privacy issues you need to take into account before choosing to use your personal Facebook profile as a more public forum, but with Facebook's ever-loosening privacy settings, it's not a great idea to give over information you wouldn't have public there to begin with. Even Mark Zuckerberg's sister, Randi, had a photo she thought was private escape into the public eye because of the slippery nature of relationships and privacy settings within the platform.

A Facebook page might seem to offer the prestige of appearing bigger and more important, but as much as it offers a socially elevating facade, the trade-off for lesser reach and engagement is likely no longer worth it. It isn't for me.

I want to be able to see you, talk to you, and know you beyond age range and location statistics, and the best way for me to do that with Facebook pages' new throttling and push for paid traffic is by going back to my roots as a non-corporate individual bent on meaningful creation and opening up my little, old, personal profile to those who will have me.

Hello!
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Elan Morgan is a blogger, designer, and speaker who can be found at Schmutzie.com and the Canadian Weblog Awards. You can talk to her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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