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Facebook is not media’s friend

Facebook unfriend adFrom John Herrman’s “Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic” in the New York Times:

But now, there is a realization that something more profound has happened: The transition from an Internet of websites to an Internet of mobile apps and social platforms, and Facebook in particular, is no longer coming — it is here.

It is a systemic change that is leaving many publishers unsure of how they will make money.

Also, this:

Facebook’s users seem to be following Mr. [Mark] Zuckerberg’s lead. NewsWhip, which tracks how publishers are performing across major Internet platforms, says the rate at which links to outside websites are shared on Facebook, compared with videos and Instant Articles, has declined.

Facebook’s algorithm determines what posts users see. And you can’t share a post if you can’t see it. It’s quite likely that, by design, Facebook’s algorithm serves up more videos and Instant Articles than links to external websites. So of course those forms of content get shared more often.

Facebook needs media outlets though, both for their advertising dollars and the content they pump into its ecosystem. Publishers should refuse to advertise or post until Facebook agrees to tweak its algorithm to put their content in front of more users. (Of course this approach requires media companies to work together.)

Photo: Giphy

Derby Home Rental adds Flipboard magazine, About.me profile

Derby Home Rental LLCDerby Home Rental, my business that advertises Louisville, Kentucky-area homes to rent on Derby weekend, just added a Flipboard magazine and About.me profile. Will they make a huge difference in helping renters find my site in 2016? Not sure, but they can’t hurt.

They join social media accounts Derby Home Rental already has on

Derby 2015 was another record year for Derby Home Rental LLC with 58 homes advertising and 38 of them renting—both all-time highs. And 2016 looks like it’s off to an even better start.

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 kcadp.org—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.

Facebook gives peer pressure to page admins

When a Facebook page’s post attracts a lot of attention, Facebook issues a nice little alert. Like a drug dealer, it encourages the page’s admin to, you know, just give the post a bit of a bump, via a paid ad. Today, for the first time, I noticed Facebook’s message included a little peer pressure:

Facebook peer pressure





Screenshot: Courtesy Facebook

Married and childless? Facebook suspects infertility—as opposed to, say, choice.

Facebook Parenting and Family Tips infertilityThe fertility-treatment ad from Parenting and Family Tips4You at right (select it to see a larger version) has been popping up in the Facebook news feed of a female friend of mine, Rebecca [name changed].

Facebook knows Rebecca’s age and that she’s been married for several years. And it also knows she’s never posted about being a parent. So Facebook and its advertisers apparently think Rebecca being childless is likely due to a fertility issue—as opposed to, say, choice. Because ladies be wanting babies.

Rebecca owns and operates a successful and growing business. Many of her Facebook posts pertain to her company. Yet she estimates about 5 percent of the ads Facebook shows her are business oriented.

Because ladies be wanting babies.

Photo: Courtesy Facebook/Parenting and Family Tips4You

Facebook thinks I have a type

I recently read that Facebook was trying to encourage users to friend more people. I can’t remember what evidence that author’s article cited though… Related: I don’t know any of these people.

Facebook People You May Know

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