Digital marketers, social media managers and the like have been acutely aware of the announcement made by Facebook on Thursday. Prior to the announcement, we knew, that Facebook knew, it had a problem. With growing conversations about the role Facebook played in the election and continues to play in the dissemination of fake news, Facebook has been under siege. And while publishers waited in the wings, keeping a hopeful eye on The Facebook Journalism project, Facebook has finally drawn their line in the sand. They are not a media company, nor do they want the responsibility as such. They are not publishers nor do they want the responsibility as such. And their algorithm will now mirror this newly found sense of self (essentially favoring your friends and family content over news outlets). So now we know. Fortunately for us, we are publishers, we are media companies, and we’ll take it from here, Mark.
Publishers are equipped to provide meaningful content and engagement with their readers over a quick click. It’s how the legacy publishers initially built a foundation and a relationship with readers, long before Facebook was conceived.
Sure, Facebook distracted us all at times. They created a new game and we all eagerly played by their ever-changing rules. But the smart publishers never lost sight of their true identify—journalists starting and facilitating meaningful dialogue in their markets, not creators of click bait forever chasing Facebook’s tail. For those who did, the time of reckoning has arrived. As one Twitter user pointed out this week, “So many publishers think they have audiences, when what they really have is traffic. I think we’re about to find out who has an audience.”
While it may sting a bit as our referral traffic ebbs and flows and we settle into the new norm, most publishers, after the initial panic, realize this is a good thing for all of us.
Yet there are still moves to take to prepare. Stay with us as we share those moves. But take heart, dear media professionals. This new algorithm aligns with who you are.
And for those who may have lost themselves a bit, stay tuned. We’re here to help.