Facebook: Good News Distributer, Dangerous News Producer

As someone who has written for a couple of different online platforms, I am aware of how important it is to use social media to publicize your work and engage potential readers.

When I was writing for the Odyssey Online, the person who got the most weekly shares on Facebook for the QU community won $20.  (The same was true for each school or community that was involved in the Odyssey.)

I never won the $20.

When I started writing for Society19, shares were important, but there was no incentive to get them.  Now, as far as I know, you win money if you reach a certain amount of shares on individual articles.  (I’ve taken a break for writing for them because I’ve been swamped with school stuff!)

I’m sure I’d never win any money from Society19 either.

At least not with the mindset I have now.

I obviously want people to read what I write and interact with me, but I’ve always found it exhausting to try to come up with something catchy when I share my articles on Facebook.  I really don’t like telling people to read my work because I feel bossy and also because I’m terrified it’s not actually good.  The point is I’m just not good at marketing myself or my work, and I’m hoping this class helps that.

I already know a lot about AEIOU, and I think it makes sense for Facebook because on this particular site, you have more room to say things to your readers and they have more room to engage with you (whereas on Twitter, you have much  less space to interact.)

social_bustle

A lot of people interacted with the post on the right, which is from Bustle. The post got 2,000 reactions, 149 shares, and 26 comments.  I think people engaged with it because of its headline, not because of its caption or anything like that.  In fact, its headline sort of has a call to action; it reads “Scientists Are Planning Their Own March On Washington, And You Can Be Part Of It Too.”  The picture that goes along with the headline is pretty powerful, too, if you are someone who is concerned with environmental issues.  The headline and the picture can outrage and inspire people, so the actual text on the post doesn’t need to do much, though it is inspiring if you stand with the environment.

social_my-post

My most successful post, on the other hand, did not garner near as much attention. I got 11 reactions and one comment.  However, I wasn’t trying to engage with anyone. Rather, I was just honoring one of my all-time favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe, because it was his birthday.

Another thing I don’t really get about Facebook is the need for live video.  Again, I’m hoping this class will change my mentality in regard to video. I suppose it is another way for people to engage even more with each other, especially when they want to do Q and A sessions. Still, though, I’d rather go get on Youtube and find  a video or read and/or participate in a Q and A session on Twitter.

As much as I like using Facebook at times, I think it’s scary to think of it as a news producer.  First, if it were to become a news producer, how would journalists and their organizations make money?  Second, I just don’t like the idea of answering to Facebook and Facebook officials as a writer.  How would a writer be able to do an in-depth look at Facebook should the need arise?

This leads me to an even bigger issue. Yes, I can agree that fake news is a bad and potentially dangerous thing.  Yes, it is good that Facebook is cracking down on fake news.

However, Facebook already gives users the ability to report news as fake news.  What if those stories that people report as fake aren’t actually fake but, rather, just something they don’t agree with?

What if Facebook became a real news producer and had the ability to not publish stories that the entity or its workers didn’t like?

I don’t know about you, but I think it would be a very scary thing for Facebook– or any other social media– to control in any serious way the distribution or consumption of news.  Of course, it’s possible for journalists and their organizations to be unethical, but I feel much more comfortable getting my news from trusted journalists and news organizations than the enormous beast that is Facebook.

Image Credit: http://www.pixelstalk.net/free-download-facebook-backgrounds/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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