Why I won’t sign an EdgeRank petition…yet

by Cinda Baxter on November 2, 2012

in Facebook, internet, Marketing

This morning, a respected friend forwarded a link, pointing to an online petition to abolish EdgeRank on Facebook. You know—the evil monster that’s devastated the visibility of most Pages in their fans’ news feeds.

I “get” why people are upset and want change—admittedly, I’m one of them. The 3/50 Project’s FB page has been hit as hard as anyone else’s. We have more than 92,000 fans, yet far fewer than that ever see us in their news feed. Faaaaaaar fewer.

More typical Pages (audiences under the 92,000 count) average between 8%-12& on most posts. Seriously. One-tenth of their hard-earned audience.

Paid posts might hit slightly higher numbers, but upon closer inspection, frequently include a disproportionate percentage of viewers from South America, India, and Eastern Bloc countries. Not exactly the target audience they were investing in.

So yes, I abhor the impact of EdgeRank, but…I also understand why it’s necessary. 

Before jumping into this, we need to get a couple of definitions on the table:

Edges (links) define the relationships between nodes (people, groups, stories…or in FB terms, Friends, Pages, and Posts).

EdgeRank is an algorithm system that assigns values to those links, based on specific criteria programmed into it by human beings (Facebook employees).

Okay. Now that we understand the lingo….

In my opinion, getting rid of EdgeRank isn’t the answer. It does serve a purpose, fine tuning what appears on your screen, based on specific interactions, patterns, and demographics, etc. Otherwise, we’d be inundated with ads from Singapore. And Brazil. And India.

EdgeRank only became a problem when it was “dialed up” to a degree that eliminated posts from Pages—and now, friends—from user news feeds. Posts they’d opted into. Sadly, FB has now jiggered the algorithm so much that only a sliver gets through, limited to what FB deems worthy.

And THAT is the problem.

Facebook employees decided they know more about users than the users themselves. They adjusted EdgeRank based on those mistaken beliefs, complicated by profit-driven motives that come from being a public company.

If there was a petition focused on adjusting EdgeRank—not eliminating it—the odds of it catching FB’s attention would be far greater than one asking them to dump it entirely. That’s not to say they’d change things…just that it might not be as laughable as the “baby and the bathwater” approach, to the fine folks in Palo Alto.

Think of this like a car:

Sure, you can drive it with monster wheels, but that’s overkill (EdgeRank in it’s current, aggressive form).

You could drive it without wheels, on the rims, but that doesn’t do the car any good (operating FB without EdgeRank).

The solution is in the middle. Put on normal tires, then only add air if a hole appears (EdgeRank in moderation).

Just my two cents.

Heather Somers November 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

In an effort to “work around” EdgeRank I paid to promote some posts. I too had the horrible experience of getting “likes” from the far flung corners of the globe…some of which frankly freaked me out given their content. In my most recent promoted post, however, I adjusted the settings so my posts can only be seen by people in the US and, even more specifically, Minnesota. When I did that and then promoted my post, I got WAY better, less freaky results. I also went in and adjusted my daily ad budget so that now I’m spending some of my budget on promoted posts and some on daily ads. The net effect to Facebook’s revenue is the same, but I get better results. I’m with you that I’d ultimately prefer that all my fans get all my posts but until Facebook sees the light in that discussion, this was the best I could come up with. I’d love to hear what others are doing to increase their post’s visability (without asking users/fans to do anything).

Kim November 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I think that’s a great idea. How do we get Facebook to pay attention?

Editor’s note: I truly believe the only way page posts will begin showing up in news feed again is if fans push the issue. They’re the ones being denied what was requested; from FB’s perspective, we page admins have a slanted perspective, not wanting to pay for things. Never mind those “things” were offered as free, and were opted into by our fans….

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