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Bye-Bye Facebook: Changes in the World of Social Media

Copyblogger is saying good-bye to its Facebook page and account. According to Erika Napoletano, brought in by Brian Clark to clean up and reengerize their Facebook page:

See, Copyblogger’s main focus is serving its audience. And if that audience wasn’t engaging on Facebook, then there was no real reason for us to pour energy into it. That’s energy we can put into other areas — ones you appreciate more.

When I’m teaching clients, students, and in workshops about social media, for years I’ve been saying that you need to play in the sandbox where your audience plays. If they aren’t playing on Facebook, don’t play in Facebook. If they aren’t on Twitter, why bother? If they are on Reddit, be brave and go forth because that is where you will meet future friends and business prospects.

As Liz Strauss has explained beautifully over and over again, it’s about the relationship not the selling that makes good business.

To quote Napoletano again:

It’s not our job to tell our audience where we live. It’s to grow communities where they live.

For the highly successful “Copyblogger, their community lives on their site and wants to stay on their site, or thrive on the social media channels that work for them like their Google+ Community and Twitter.

While this is true for many sites and online identities for a long time, maybe it is a sign that social media is changing again.

The Changing Tone of Social Media

When social media began to gain a foothold in our consciousness, it was about sharing and broadcasting. It was about communication, instant or slightly delayed interaction with people around the world, free of barriers such as time and borders.

We build communities around our sites, enhanced by the social media interactions, but the main action was still on our sites, our sandboxes, the place where we could take a thought and expand it through our community, our fans, and have intellectual intercourse. Social media was jewelry to sparkle and charm, decorations to our beautifully clothed content.

For those of us making the most of social media, the world changed when Oprah made her first tweet and called all of us “Twitters.” Within a few weeks, Larry King, Martha Stewart, Aston Kutcher, Shaquille O’Neal, and Britney Spears were all promoting the tweet as the next greatest thing in online communication. Before that famous tweet, Twitter had about 8 million visitors to their site, and afterward it shot up to 14 million. The word was heard and everyone wanted their chance to be Twitters.

The conversation went from intelligent interactions, sharing news and patting each other on the back for great works, to dribble, rambles, ranting, advertising, and spamming within the next year or two.

There was no holding anyone back. Social media was a wave that bowled us all over as conversations moved from the blog to the pretty walled garden of Facebook and the instant messaging buzz of Twitter.

You’d publish something intelligent and worthy of discussion on your site, but the conversation would happen off your site in the clouds of social media channels. It became a game to catch up.

By 2012, many businesses and even bloggers were giving up on their sites and moving their content and conversations to social media. Websites were quickly becoming static, featuring only useful information rather than interaction.

By the time companies woke up to blogs, social media ruled the roost. By the time they woke up to the impact of social media, it appears that blogs are once again ruling the roost.

The introduction by Google of Google+, seen dismissively as a direct competition to Facebook, it has become so much more. For many early adopters, it was like returning back to the early days of blogging, where we could have our say, share our pictures and graphics, and have a sensible discussion, and a few giggles, with each other.

With the development of Google+ Communities, the forum was revitalized. People with like interests could gather together to share their thoughts and connect, build relationships.

While many dismissed Google+ as irrelevant and late to the party, I have to say it’s my favorite social media choice. Why? Mostly because Oprah and the masses aren’t there yet, but they are coming. I can spot the signs. I fear they might have already invaded our utopia.

Luckily, I don’t have to circle them nor permit them in my communities. I can be picky about who plays in my sandbox. So can you.

What Does This Mean for the Future of the Blog?

Despite many years of proclamations that the blog will be/is/was dead, it is still as valuable as ever. Copyblogger’s team is right. People want the familiar and they want to choose where they play, and they want you to play in their neighborhood.

Your site (or blog – same thing) is your sandbox. It’s time to take another look at it and find what made it special. What made it the prime place to play when you started? What started to gather people around it and make it a fun place to play? It’s time to get back to your roots and understand what it is that makes your site special, and ask your readers where they want to play.

It might be Facebook. It could be Twitter. It could be Reddit. It could be Google+, Instagram, or one of the hundreds and hundreds of other social media channels. Or it could be none of them. It could just be your site.

It’s your place, your home on the web. It’s time to clean it up and get back to making it a welcome place for your next guests.


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15 Comments

  1. Posted October 17, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    You know I’ve been on FB For about 4 yrs. it’s def separate than my blog yet I post my blogposts in there and and my FB PAGE. It
    F you are looking to branch as a blogger if say all those social media outlets won’t help. But if you’ve been a FBer and tweeter for years and just getting into blogging it can help

    • Posted October 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I do hope you aren’t republishing your posts on Facebook but using the Jetpack WordPress Plugin Share/Publicize feature to allow your WordPress/WordPress.com posts to “publish” an excerpt automatically and save you time and effort, as well as maintain copyright control over the content on your site as Facebook owns your content when you publish there.

      If you are publishing frequently to Facebook, you are a blogger. Blogging is the art and craft of self-publishing, and it doesn’t matter where you publish. Love how people play with semantics, but Facebooker or Blogger, it’s the same thing.

      Social media outlets help, if your community and demographics are there, as stated in the article and in the commentary on Copyblogger. If they aren’t there, you are expending energy in the wrong place, like selling corn in the middle of a corn field. It might help if you left the corn field to find people willing to buy your corn so they don’t have to travel to the corn field.

      It’s the change in the perception of what we “must” do as opposed to what needs to be done in the world of social media that fascinates. We used to have to cover every social media channel because they were new and our audience could be anywhere. Today, we know who hangs out where and when, so we can be picker, and for those like me and Copyblogger, we will put our energies in the places where our readers are, saving everyone time and energy, and making us all happier.

      Thanks.

    • Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi, no I republished these posts myself.. an idea I got from Opinioned Man.. I hope I’m doing it right.. I still have to finish reading your comment but wanted to reply right away to that one.

    • Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Trying to trace this through the comments.

      You should not copy and paste your blog posts to Facebook for many reasons, because you give up copyright of your original content, and it’s redundant. It appears you are on WordPress.com. Use the Sharing > Publicize feature to connect your site to Facebook. When you hit publish, it puts an excerpt and image (if one exists) out to Facebook automatically, and people can click through and read on your site. You control the content, drive traffic to your site, build a community, and everyone is happy.

      Links are different from content. Links are fine. Content not so much. Keep Facebook content for Facebook fans, and your site’s content on your site.

      I don’t know who Opinionated Man is. Never heard of him or her. Glad you found someone you trust to help you out, though I’m not sure about this advice.

      I rarely do business on Facebook as there is no income in it for me. It’s really a personal social network service for most professionals, not a professional social network. It could be for some, and some are trying, but others, as the article indicates, are starting to see the light and moving away to where their content will better serve their audience.

      If you wish to learn more about how all this works, consider starting with the first in the Blog Exercises posts I offered last year, a year in flexing your blogging muscles. I’m sure those will be useful.

      Thanks for your patience for the delay in responding. I work very long hours blogging, teaching, training, and consulting, and sometimes it takes a bit to get back here lately.

    • Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      I do copy my articles to Facebook, but I’m also on Facebook, feel free to “friend me.” I’d happily friend you just let me know who you are.. (I’m still reading, also cooking at 10 PM tonight lol)

    • Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      I appreciate your advice… I was thinking tonight that I didn’t copy the links to these reposted articles on my Beginning Life at 43 page.. well again per advice from Opinionated Man whos advice I value, my audience is other bloggers. I have been extrememly busy and overwhelmed but figured I had enough articles by now and some I very much treasure that I’d reblogg them over this weekend to keep my followers up and for those that might have missed some of my better ones. I really really appreciate your invaluable feedback and hope you will continue to give it to me.

    • Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      I hope I’m not confused and that I read your comments correctly.

  2. Posted October 19, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Eye Opening! Thank you!

  3. keririceseomi
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I just think having social media e.g. FB has more of an advantage that having just a blog. Theres a huge outlet! Why no utilize it?

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Actually, Facebook is a closed environment. A blog or website (same thing) is open to anyone on the web. Facebook is accessible to those on Facebook. It could be a hindrance, especially if you are putting all your energy into Facebook, but your clients and audience isn’t there.

  4. Mihai Pintilie
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    This is just the beginning. Facebook managed to build its own social empire. And more and more companies will decide it’s not healthy for their businesses to move the money from their pocket to FB’s without great results. Many will leave FB in the near future.

    • Posted December 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Maybe, but that’s not what is being discussed here. This is about going where your audience is, where your customers and readers are. If they aren’t on facebook, you are wasting your time. If they are and you aren’t, you are wasting your time. It’s about the business decisions we all have to make when it comes to meeting the people we need to do business with. We go where they are.

  5. roynsoumya
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It’s a good point to debate but I think you missed the promotion and marketing part. Suppose someone built a really good product and he is not marketing it to their audiences then how the crowd will know about the product and it’s usefulness.
    I am not a big fan of social sites but yes being a professional marketer and entrepreneur, I always use them strategically. We have to identify the channels where our target audiences gather and mingle. You can not ignore the huge reach of social media sites and moreover how can you deny that, when your competitors are utilizing it?
    Will be great to listen back from you.

    • Posted December 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not missing any part of this. The point of the post is that if your audience is not on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or wherever you are putting a ton of work into your promotion, that’s a waste of your time. You can’t build it and hope they come if you build it then do all your promotion where your audience isn’t listening.

      As a professional marketer, this is something you should know well. You don’t choose an intersection in the middle of North Dakota to stand on your soap box and hope that the world will hear your message. You park your buns on the streets of Wall Street or the middle of Chicago or on a courthouse or city hall steps to talk to those you wish to reach.

      I worked with a business that thought its customers were on Facebook. They assumed they were. Their competitors did the same thing. All of the major players in their small industry were on Facebook because they were told they had to be on Facebook. “Everyone is on Facebook. Don’t be left behind.” Research for this client proved that none of their clients were on Facebook. If they were on Facebook, they were there for personal reasons like monitoring their children or grandchildren with no interest in business prospects on Facebook. We stopped supporting their Facebook page and put all their energy into their site, LinkedIn, and on a couple of forums that supported their business, increasing their visibility among people who cared about what they did, had to say, and wanted their input and discussion. The staff were thrilled to actually connect with potential clients instead of a blank wall of silence, and their business soared.

      It depends upon the business and its needs. You serve them. The scatter gun approach to marketing doesn’t work anymore. Put your energy where there is a chance of ROI, and for some, that isn’t on Facebook or other social network channels.


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