Nowadays web content is all about sharing. I share this with you, you share that with me, we all share together! Happy, friendly people across the world altruistically exchanging links in a blissful coming together of minds…
…to drive traffic to sites that desperately need great numbers to scrape together enough ad revenue to survive. Welcome to modern publishing, where everyone in the industry is trying to woo sharers while crapping themselves about Facebook’s dominance.
Facebook differs from the forums/blogs/IMs/emails that used to drive sharing as all of your social connections are in one place, creating a subtle conformist pressure. It’s as if everyone you know is coming over for ice cream, so you go for vanilla (a good quality vanilla, but not so expensive that it might taste unusual or make you seem posh). Or you’re painting some rental flats and buy a massive tin of magnolia eggshell. You’d personally prefer tutti frutti and a deep red, and some would like or respect your choices, but many others would hate them or think you’re weird so you play safe, right? Likes and comments even make it quantifiable.
Commercial publishers need to obsess over their stats, but you don’t have to — one person enjoying something can easily outweigh thousands hating it, if it’s the right person. Keep sharing your quirky passions, interesting oddities, crap photos, and unpopular opinions, even if the numbers are poor and it seems socially scary. The internet has changed, and that’s fine — anyone who mourns “the good old days” needs to lift their head from their Gopher manual — but we don’t have to let it turn us into analytics-driven bores (and in turn do the same to publishers).
So to revel in publishing non-vanilla content, I’ve also faced up to my dislike of Facebook and created a community page for Tongue-Eating Parasites. Yes, finally there’s a one-stop page for all your parasitic fish-tongue-eating louse needs. Please Like it and post to it, even if it is somewhat… well, unshareable.
Unsurprisingly, the page only got one extra Like, so I thought I’d take up Facebook’s suggestion of paying to promote it and created an ad:
That was approved, but less than a day later this happened:
Yes, they suspended my advert account, probably due to too many people clicking the OH MY GOD JUST MAKE IT GO AWAY button. Ah well, at least it meant I didn’t spend any money, and it’s good to know Facebook is clamping down hard on the menace of fish parasite propaganda.