Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Your Government, Serving You

The good news is, your government is wasting just as much time on Facebook as you are.

Bad news is, you don’t have $630,000, like the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International information Programs, to drop buying Facebook likes from the likes of insignificant scum like yourself.

Read that in a little report at has longer excerpts of the report, including this gem:

Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as “buying fans” who may have once clicked on an ad or liked a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further. Defenders of advertising point to the difficulty of finding a page on Facebook with a general search and the need to use ads to increase visibility.

I guess I have to agree with the latter. I mean, when I want to interact with my government – or, hell, the government of any country – I’m going to turn to Facebook and do a quickie search to see if there are any representatives of that government there – aside from the NSA, to be sure – with whom I can exchange movie lines from The ‘Burbs or whom I can encourage to like posts featuring my nightly song (Last night: “If I Only Had A Brain” from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. And Facebook’s searches make it nigh on impossible. Of course, it’s also hard when governments make their “foreign-facing public diplomacy communications bureau” have names like the Bureau of International Information Programs.

So why was the IIP buying all these Facebook thingies? Back to the report:

In September 2012, Facebook changed the way it displays items in its users’ news feeds. If a user does not interact with a site’s postings, after a time these postings will no longer appear in the user’s news feed unless the site buys sponsored story ads to ensure their appearance. This change sharply reduced the value of having large numbers of marginally interested fans and means that IIP must continually spend money on sponsored story ads or else its reach statistics will plummet. For example, a posting on cyber censorship in March 2013 reached 234,000 Facebook users on its first day; only about 20,000 would have received the item on their news feed without advertising.

I’ve seen this. I have a few Facebook sites that’ve sent me this warning: Interact with us or you’ll no longer see our posts in your feed. And I have to think, well, a few things:

1) Meh.

2) Probably time to do some Facebook maintenance and get rid of a few of these likes.

204) Wow. I should interact with these guys more.

So yeah. This is money well-spent.

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