“…to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.”
That’s great after all many of us use Facebook exactly for that reason – to be able to stay connected with friends and family. However, what this means, practically-speaking, is that items that generate conversation will be preferentially boosted in your Facebook feed, while items that were merely “liked” or “shared” become less important.
I personally have already noticed a decrease in the number of funny jokes or memes showing up in my feed – which is (was) my favourite part of Facebook. So those items that may not be generating conversation per se don’t show up. I cannot speak for you, but I “like” a lot of posts when I don’t necessarily have anything to say – or if it’s a topic that I need to think about before I can put my thoughts down into words. Just because I don’t comment on them right away doesn’t mean that I’m not weighing the information and starting a conversation later.
By slowly removing those kinds of posts from my Facebook feed, I fear that I’m going to lose the serendipitous exposure to jokes or world events that aren’t already being talked about by my circle of friends. I think this extra-tailored feed will result in even more echo-chambering and insularity of perspective.
Have you heard that videos are the wave of the future? According to the New York Times, we are now in a post-text world, meaning as Internet users we’re transitioning to visual multi-media. This doesn’t really mean that it’s the end of text per se, but that visual content needs to be more engaging, and be produced as stand-alone products.
We all have the ability to produce our own movies now thanks to that supercomputer in your pocket. And many social media platforms allow for live broadcasts (like Facebook Live, Instagram, Periscope), and archive your broadcasts for viewing later (like a built-in YouTube within each platform). It’s all pretty amazing when you think back to where we were just 50 years ago…
Those fifty years ago saw a huge change in our media usage. It inspired communications scholars like Marshall McLuhan who researched the effects of the media on culture. When he famously pondered “the medium is the message” he had only seen the rise of television culture. Had he been around to see the rise of the Internet, and all the forms of social media that have since arisen, I think even Marshall may have been speechless.
Thankfully, The Vestibules have written The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan for you and produced this video so you don’t have to read this blog any further.
Though social media is used for news acquisition, another piece of good news is that trust in journalism is increasing. Social media has a lot of potential for getting immediate and breaking news, but misinformation is also rampant. Just take for example misinformation that spread across social media during the Boston marathon bombing. Frankly, it begs the question who would actually want to misinform people during a crisis or emergency, but it happens frequently enough that people are starting to value journalistic habits of fact checking again.
When you post something, you’re not done. Remember, it’s called social media for a reason. Did you get a comment or response to your posts? Act accordingly and enter into a discussion when appropriate. No, you don’t have to answer every single question, and you should most definitely not poke the Internet trolls, but you need to acknowledge the message was received and read. This can be as simple as clicking ‘Like’ for the comment. If you need to info check before you respond, you can go ahead and say just that – responding once you have an appropriate answer.
Monitoring the response to your social media activities is important, not only so you can see the kind of content that your audience really responds to, but also so your audience feels like they’re part of a community – your community. This kind of feedback is truly a gift because it lets you tailor your content to appeal to more people, and it creates brand power through community-building.
Leveraging the social part of social media can be an effective way of communicating with those you want to reach.
We’ve all heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s one of those English language idioms that’s hard to attribute to a specific person, but seems to be mostly attributed to Fred Barnard in the 1920s. But so what if you’ve heard that phrase? Why should you care?
Associating information with an emotional trigger helps to increase shares on social media. For example, tweets with photos have been shown to be retweeted 35% more than those without photos. Why does this matter? It matters because social media posts that get more likes, shares, and retweets get out to a wider audience than those that already follow you. In fact, any interaction with your posts will increase your reach – comments by friends show up in Facebook feeds for example – bringing your message to the friends of your friends. In a Six Degrees of Separation world, this is the best way to leverage the social part of social media.
Six Degrees of Separation, or perhaps our favourite game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
So, the next time you share an update on your platforms, be sure to include an image to inspire greater engagement and brand recall with your network.
But remember, choose photos that have a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose. Otherwise, be sure to follow the guidelines of each license and credit the creator of the work you’re borrowing.
Here are the best 7 sites for free images in 2018: