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Why Facebook stinks at covering developing news

Facebook logoFacebook destroys Twitter in most metrics. But when it comes to breaking news, Twitter is the go-to social media outlet (demonstrated last week during the Paris attacks). Here’s a look why. Executive summary; it’s largely Facebook’s fault.

I help manage the social media sites for the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Yesterday around 5:30 p.m. (all times EST), a Texas trial court withdrew the execution order for Raphael Holiday, scheduled to die that evening for killing three children. Shortly thereafter I shared that good news with our Facebook followers (for a look at why KCADP opposes the death penalty, visit its website):


I wrote the post to attract maximum engagement on Facebook:

  • I started off with “BREAKING” in all caps, which has proven to be an attention getter (we use it sparingly though).
  • I linked to the story from another source (that is, not—Facebook seems to give posts a bigger reach when you’re not linking to your own website).
  • I framed the story in a positive manner to garner more likes and, hence, more views.

That post did really well by KCADP’s standards, reaching 867 people and picking up 17 likes, one comment, and one share as of 10:30 a.m. today.

But around 8:15 p.m., less than three hours later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overruled the lower court and Holiday’s execution was back on. KCADP needed to share this development with its followers as well: both to inform them that the earlier post was dated, as well as ask them to contact Texas governor Greg Abbott seeking clemency for Holiday.

Our options for sharing this new development though were limited. And crappy.

  1. We could update the first post to change what had been a positive story (execution on hold) into a negative one (execution going forward). But by that time about 15 of our followers had already liked that post. It wouldn’t look right to have so many likes for what was now a negative story.
  2. We could publish a new post. But between coming so quickly after our earlier post and being a negative development and unlikely to garner likes, there was no way Facebook’s algorithm was going to give this negative update the same reach as the earlier, positive, but now dated post.
  3. Option 2, but also delete the original post. That first update, however, was getting so much engagement—and Facebook rewards engagement by giving you more reach on subsequent posts—that deleting it could hurt our ability to share our message with as many people as possible.
  4. We could pay to boost the second post’s reach. KCADP has a budget for social media promotion, but spending it to push a negative story that wasn’t going to get us much engagement isn’t a good use of our limited resources.

So I went with number two and posted again:


I also added a comment under the original post, directing people to the update. But it’s doubtful many Facebook users saw it.

As of 10:30 a.m. today, that second update has reached just 284 people—compared to 867 for the earlier post—and picked up one like and three shares. Texas killed Holiday at 9:30 p.m. last night, but as I drafted this blog post the following morning, KCADP’s original Facebook update about him being spared is still garnering likes and views.

Sure on Twitter, retweets may cause a dated tweet to pick up engagement after it’s no longer accurate. But because Twitter doesn’t rely on a proprietary algorithm to determine what a user sees, it’s much more likely that new developments will work their way into a user’s feed.

Until Facebook figures out a way to improve how outlets can share developing stories, Twitter’s going to trump it for news.

Another record year for Derby Home Rental, LLC

Derby Home RentalDerby 2015 was another record year for Derby Home Rental LLC, my business that helps Louisville, Kentucky-area homeowners rent out their homes for Derby weekend. This year 58 homes advertised and 38 of them rented—both all-time highs.

Over the past year, I redesigned the website with a responsive theme that looks better on mobile browsers and devices, installed a SSL certificate to improve the site’s security, took several measures to speed up the site’s load time, commissioned a new logo, and added a Tiny Letter newsletter that informs subscribers when a new home advertises on the site.

In addition, I created or overhauled our social media profiles. You can now keep up with the latests ads via

Derby Home Rentals also was mentioned in an Aol Travel article on the Kentucky Derby.

Thanks to everyone who advertised and rented a home this year. And, remember—the earlier you advertise your home for Derby weekend 2016, the better your chances of finding a renter.

SportsGrid liked my #FreeSimmons tweet

SportsGrid rounded up what it deemed the top #FreeSimmons tweets and included one of mine (yes, I was so outraged about ESPN suspending Bill Simmons for his remarks on the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case that I fired off a few tweets):

“The Best Tweets From The #FreeSimmons Hashtag”

Too lazy to click through? It was this one (which takes a shot at ESPN for being much more lenient on Stephen A Smith who criticized Rice’s victim):

Get #OscarSnarky on Twitter

Lambert and Lindsey #Oscarsnarky102.3 The Max’s Lambert & Lindsey will be getting #OscarSnarky on Twitter during tonight’s broadcast of the Academy Awards (“What time do the Oscars start?” 8:30 p.m. EST. “What channel are the Oscars on?” ABC. And the Academy Award for Worst Attempt at SEO goes to me.). And, as I mentioned when I joined them in the studio Friday morning, I’ll be Tweeting along with them. They got a similar hashtag trending in Louisville during the Grammys, which attracted some hilarious Tweets.

Just follow the Twitter hashtag #OscarSnarky. The Lambert & Lindsey Morning Show hosts also retweet the funnier Tweets, so you might want to follow them as well:

And I’m at @Z_Everson.

Photo: Courtesy Facebook/Lambert & Lindsey picks up 6,000th Twitter follower, 5,000th Facebook fan

Louisville.comLike Lance Armstrong speeding through the Tour de France finish line, in the last two weeks shattered the 6,000 Twitter followers and 5,000 Facebook fans milestones (wait, is that Armstrong metaphor no longer a good one to use?). When I began my gig as part-time editor-in-chief of the site in January 2010, those numbers were 1,800 and 100 respectively.

Unlike a lot of outlets,’s social media presence isn’t just about branding or vanity (as in, “Hey potential advertisers, look at how many people like us!”). All of’s articles automatically post to both of those social networks within 15 minutes of appearing on the mother site. In the last 30 days, Facebook was the site’s fifth highest source of traffic (it was third before Facebook cut back on the reach of fan pages that don’t advertise with it) and Twitter is eighth.

Congrats to our writers for putting out content that so many Louisvillians find valuable. And thanks to our readers for being followers and fans!

Shalom from Israel

Good morning Tel Aviv.

Good morning Tel Aviv.

Shalom! (Yes, I’ve used that word twice because it’s the only Hebrew I know.) I’m in Israel this week, specifically Tel Aviv, Galilee, and Jerusalem. I’m a bit tired, but my fatigue probably owes more to a nightcap than jetlag (a 5 p.m. arrival time is actually quite agreeable: land, eat, drink, sleep).

Assuming I don’t go up in smoke during my visit to the Holy Land, there will be articles about my trip shortly. In the meantime, follow along in real time on

Thanks to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, El Al, the Dan Hotels, the Scots Hotel, and Weill for hosting me.

My good fortune: I’m on my way to China

Hello from Louisville International Airport! I’m en route to China with the Ritz-Carlton (again) and American Airlines. This time the destination is Beijing—a city I’ve always wanted to experience during Hanukkah.

I’ll have articles and such about the trip published while traveling and afterward, but if you’re the type who demands regular updates (hi Sweetheart) feel free to follow along on

Using a blog and social media to help a non-profit, in this case the Kentucky Coaltion to Abolish the Death Penalty

Recently I overhauled the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s (KCADP) online presence. This describes our approach and how I can help you or your organization make better use of the Internet.

Early on, KCADP’s staff and I determined that there were three objectives for its online presence (all of which should apply to similar non-profits):

  • increase its membership
  • keep its existing supporters engaged
  • convert its opponents or disinterested people into supporters

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