As a writer, I’m faced with Social Media decisions every day. Every so often, I encounter posts in my feed about how “Facebook is dead,” or “No one reads your tweets.” While this may be true that the reach of these platforms has been reduced dramatically, they will never truly disappear.
Facebook and Twitter among other Social Media networks were created as a promise. They connected people in a way that was impossible before their time. Before Social Media, the Internet was divided by countries. You were limited to meeting strangers on the internet from your own country, on small, low-budget social networks. Most if not all of those networks are dust by now. Today, you can look up anyone from almost any country on Facebook and Twitter.
One side-effect of Social Media that the networks themselves did not initially acknowledge was making people famous. As a writer, there are plenty of people in my social circles whose crowds are counted in the thousands. They may have published a book or two and crowdfunded them using their Social presence. Social Media has become an instrument for making dreams come true.
While social networks have enacted the age of ‘We,’ they are still businesses. To support Facebook’s large amount of servers and up-time they need to rely on their Ad service to make money out of you — the user. The way to pressure a user into paying for ads is limiting the reach of their posts. Facebook had done this several times in the past. That way, when you pay for ads, you get more reach and more engagement. In essence, people who got famous by publishing on Social Media, now have to ‘promote’ their posts to keep them in your feed.
Twitter’s algorithm is different but still benefits from the ad service. As opposed to Facebook, Twitter’s feed is never limited. You can follow thousands of people and get their tweets in your feed. It’s your limited human ability to process information that makes Twitter’s Ad service so desirable. You want followers to get your information? Great, Twitter will put it somewhere prominent when they scroll their feed or at its top.
The catch is — Twitter, Facebook, and their counterparts can never reduce Reach to 0%. If you can’t reach people and they can’t reach you then what role this social network plays in your life? This fact doesn’t mean that reach can’t be reduced dramatically, either.
The good news is — if you are not a brand or a business on Facebook and Twitter or other Social Media networks, you probably don’t even deal with all of this. Facebook users can’t promote posts on their private profile only on their Facebook Page. Same goes for Instagram. Twitter doesn’t differentiate between business and personal profiles. But as a user of these networks, you are open to the world. You can look up anyone from any country who is on the platform.
This behavior is why Social Networks will never die: They brought a lot of value into our lives. The ability to connect with so many people is more valuable than a person’s aspiration of becoming famous and accrue many followers or likes. They will continue to challenge businesses for Reach because they will continue to operate as businesses. They will need to make their money from something if they don’t charge membership fees.
Here’s a bit of advice for the businesses out there: Social Networks may have caused the creation of many blogs, pages, and groups on the internet. But the companies that have many likes and followers will always continue to be those that are grounded outside of the platform. If you can drive traffic to your facebook page from outside Facebook, then you are in a better position to create an engaging community on the platform. Start with a website or a blog or a physical business in the real world. Promote your facebook page through that first. Include a widget on your blog, include a QR code to your Facebook page on your business card. Small steps lead to significant results.
While Social Networks will never die and have complete control of their platforms, it shouldn’t deter you from creating wholesome content. If you’re consistent, your crowd will inevitably find you.
Oren Cohen is a Software Development Engineer, Gamer, Geek, and Writer. He is writing in all sorts of topics on Medium, though his passion lies with Fantasy and Video Games.