Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The frustrations of Facebook …

For Facebook users like authors and artists trying to market your books and artwork, you need to know about EdgeRank.

EdgeRank rules the Facebook universe. It’s the Facebook god.

When I log into Facebook, I see my newsfeed. Nothing mysterious here … just a summary of what’s been happening among “friends” on Facebook.

Every action my friends take is a potential newsfeed story. In Facebook tech-talk, they're called “edges.”

Whenever a friend posts a status update, comments on someone’s status update, tags a photo, joins a fan page or RSVPs to an event, it generates an “edge,” and a story about that edge might show up in my newsfeed.

If the newsfeed showed all of the possible stories in my newsfeed, I’d go mad slogging through all the postings – at least that’s Facebook’s explanation for the EdgeRank algorithm.

The algorithm predicts how interesting each story will be to me. It’s called EdgeRank because it ranks the edges. Any action that happens within Facebook is an edge – status updates, comments, likes and shares.

Then the algorithm filters my newsfeed and everyone else’s newsfeeds to show only the top-ranked stories.

Some of you reading this may be thinking: So what?

Because most of your Facebook fans never see your status updates.

If you have an author’s page, they never see your posts.

Facebook ranks stories based on the EdgeRank score. If EdgeRank predicts a friend will find your status update boring, then it will never be shown to your friend. It will be cast down into Facebook hell.

Basically, the more my friends click, like, comment, tag and share on my Facebook profile and author pages, the more I will appear on their newsfeeds.

Commenting on something is worth more than merely liking it, which is worth more than clicking on it. Passively viewing a status update in your newsfeed does not count. You have to interact.

Not all edges are treated equal in the Facebook universe. If I comment on an author page, it’s worth more than if my friend comments, which is worth more than if a friend of a friend comments. The death knell for a fan page is to be ignored.

When it comes to my author’s page, EdgeRank is causing me some stomach-churning moments. Like other authors, I’ve been striving to build a fan base via my author’s page. The ultimate aim is to get the folks viewing the page to take a look at my novels. It’s marketing, but hopefully done in a subtle way. I don’t want to blare out: “Buy my novels!” Instead, I want them to enjoy their visits to my author’s page and see some interesting – even fascinating – posts.

But there’s a problem. My penetration numbers are horrible thanks to EdgeRank.

I’m seeing that my posts are getting to only 15 to 30 percent of folks who have “liked” my page.

Those numbers will only improve if Facebook friends play the Facebook game of liking, commenting and sharing. The same holds true for your fan pages.

Some bloggers are contending that Facebook wants me and others with author or fan pages to pay for ads to make posts condemned to hell visible.

Facebook’s “Marketing Solutions” page recently posted a note explaining that in order to make sure fans see my posts on my author’s page I need to purchase ads to “sponsor” my stories. It’s Facebook’s new world where profit is the driving force behind all its decisions.

To mangle an old hymn: “Praise EdgeRank in whom all blessings flow.”


  1. Eeek I didn't know that! I did wonder why I sometimes never see some of my FB friends ever, in my feed. Now I know : (
    Thanks for the explanation, may your edges be many..

  2. Frustrating isright! Aaarrrrggghhhh!!!! I just want to write my books.

  3. Interesting. Thank's Mike. Mind you, I think Facebook wants you to think it a better marketing tool than it really is.

  4. Very interesting post, Mike. I guess I'll have to do more with my fan page. Like you, I have those "stomach-churning moments", too.