Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Facebook Page News Feed Fiasco - and what to do about it

Facebook has been messing around with the news feeds of Facebook Pages and totally disrupting workflow for those managing several Pages.

I can only assume that they don't realise that people actually "like" the Facebook Pages of others so they can read them.

What used to happen

  • I used to log in to my Page from my account - and the profile pic would change from my account profile pic to the one for my Facebook Page. That way I'd know which bit of Facebook I was in!
  • All notifications relevant to that page were in the Notifications feed - nothing related to the personal account or any other Facebook Pages
  • I'd hit the "F" logo top left of my Facebook Page and it would take me to the news feed posts for Pages I liked using that Page (bearing in mind Facebook Pages cannot like Facebook Accounts). In other words they were all relevant. From there I could share them easily on my Page.
  • Facebook Page News Feeds were highly differentiated - which made them a lot easier to read and act on.
  • when in Making A Mark I'd see all the art galleries and museums and other compendium art news pages

Making A Mark on Facebook
  • when in Botanical art and Artists I'd see all the botanical artists and art societies and botanical gardens I'd liked
Botanical Art and Artists on Facebook
  • when in Katherine Tyrrell: 365 Tips for Drawing and Sketching I'd see all the drawing and sketching sites I'd liked
Katherine Tyrrell: 365 Tips for Drawing and Sketching
  • when in Urban Sketchers UK I'd see all the urban sketching pages I'd liked (much less effective as most of the activity is now in groups which can't be accessed!)
Urban Sketchers UK - Events

How Facebook Pages changed #1

First it started pointing to an item in the side column - "View Pages Feed" - see news items from other Pages.

So I'd click it and I'd see a very filtered view of news items from other Pages I liked.

Not very happy with this I continued to hit the F logo at the top and look for a wider range in the normal way.

How Facebook Pages changed #2

Then the news feed I saw on every one of my Pages became swamped by whatever activity I'd been doing most recently. 

So if I'd been working on my Botanical Art page all I'd see in the news feed for Making A Mark was botanical artists. The whole purpose of creating a separate Page was so I could make the needs feeds much more distinctive and differentiated i.e. niche sites!

I must have sent about three or four feedback notes to Facebook saying that I want a highly differentiated feed - one which was particular to each page.

No response other than the usual "we are reading this and thank you for sending in your feedback"

How Facebook Pages changed #3

  • You cannot log into and out of individual Facebook Pages
  • You cannot access your feed by clicking the "F" logo - and what was always a very trimmed feed edited by Facebook now appears to me to be even more "edited"
  • Separate and filtered news feeds have been moved to the button to press in the lefthand column 
There's no way that items from niche interest Pages are going to be able to compete with more popular news feed items - so we're going to be fed downsized pap!

I can only surmise that this is a cunning move on Facebook's part to get you to start using advertising so that your Facebook Page posts will be seen.
  • Plus management of workflow has been decimated. The notifications feed for your Facebook Page has been TOTALLY ELIMINATED making the workflow for dealing with updates to one specific page at one specific time all but impossible
  • Instead you get to see a total mishmash of items in one feed which is identical irrespective of whether you in your account or one or other of your Facebook Pages.
  • It's a monumental mess for those of us with more than one Page.
The net overall result is a LOT of people are going to see traffic to their Pages taking a major dive - as illustrated by my latest stats.

For me this starts to make Facebook a lot less effective as a tool for communicating with people.

How to beat Facebook Page Changes

Below you can find my instructions for how to beat the Facebook changes to the Pages newsfeed. It's a bit more complicated to access the news feed but at least you get to read what you want to see.

What you have to do is create a List of your interests. I already had some of these set up so for the most part I've just updated them.

I'd set them up so I could read all the news on one topic as this related to Making A Mark.
Lists are a way to organize things on Facebook, like your friends or the things you're interested in. You can use lists to filter the stories you see in your News Feed or post an update for specific people, like your coworkers or friends who live near you.
This is how to create a list.

To create your own interest list:
  1. Scroll down to Interests on the left side of your News Feed. Hover over Interests and clickMore.
  2. Click Add Interests.
  3. Click Create List.
  4. Search for the people or Pages you want to add to your list using the search box at the top of the page, or use the categories on the left to browse.
  5. After you've selected the things you want to include on your list, click Next.
  6. Pick a name for your list.
  7. Select a privacy setting. Choose Public if you want others to be able to follow the list you've created.
  8. Click Done.

Lists are created in the Interests Section of the left hand column of your Personal Account Page (under the news feeds and groups).

Move your cursor to the right of where it says Interests and you will see the word "More" pop up. Click that and you'll see the list of Lists you have created.

You can have lots of different lists.

Actually adding new Pages to the list is quite difficult as you have to know that they exist and what their name is

Unless you identify a generic term likely to highlight the sort of pages you are interested in eg "art gallery".

More about Facebook Lists

These are previous Making A Mark posts on the topic of Facebook Lists

The net result

Facebook has been really, really stupid. 

What was a simple system has now become messed up for those with diverse interests and/or multiple Pages. 

They've created a new system which makes it more difficult to read and treated people as if they were two dimensional with an interest in just one thing.

The net result is that Facebook has become a lot more difficult to read and use although it is still possible moving forward to read a differentiated feed - if YOU put the effort in!

The only advantage is that the feed you get via a List does not seem to be filtered by Facebook as the previous news feed was. So if you don't click a like for a Facebook Page item for ages it won't make any difference to whether or not you see it.

However I predict a lot of people moving to Twitter for more of their announcements!

How to tell Facebook what you think about the new news feed

You THINK that maybe Facebook has realised it has messed up when you seen a notice like this
Over one million people have told us their opinionWe'd like to hear your feedback! Please answer a few questions about your News Feed.
and think that maybe Facebook want to hear what you think when you see can always tell that.

They don't

They only want to know which advert you want to see!

Instead to report problems - what you do is go to the upside down triangle on the top right and then click to see the menu and scroll down until you can see "Report a Problem"!


Sarah Wimperis said...

you are worth your weight in gold Katherine, thanks for all the info!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

If that were true I'd be very rich and retire! ;)

Deborah Chapin said...

I set up lists for various groupings of friends / artists I wanted notifications on when FB started this news need fiasco. I really find FB annoying and not very good for promotion. I have almost 2700 followers and hardly anyone sees things. I just started Instagram and I receive more likes and comments from new people with only a 10th of that number. So when they muck that up it will be on to another. I just keep putting more effort into my blog and website than any of the social media sites because they are under someone elses control. Like they say "the government giveth and the government can take it away ". Just substitute Facebook for government and then you'll have a clear idea of the quick sand that Facebook is.

TishTashTosh said...

Thanks for this... very useful! Can you confirm if this is a permanent change? I have been searching for more information and this is the only article I can find.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I've not got a clue whether or not it is a permanent change. However in my view it will see a marked decline in activity on Pages a sa result and on the basis I think we might well see a reversal at some point.

I suspect this in part might well be linked to the need to find a better way to handle Pages on mobile devices. Just a hunch. But this very definitely is not the way.

They've gone from something that was very easy to operate to something that is very clumsy and confusing. BIG MISTAKE on the part of Facebook.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Deborah - I'm with you. Those without time to spare are going to start looking for alternatives to Facebook.

I totally agree that people need to make sure that they have stable sites in terms of ones they own - on their own websites and blogs.

The social media is peripheral and will inevitably change over time - your website and domain name need to go on forever!

Leslie Brasher said...

Thank you!!!!! Thank you so much!

theartistsday said...

Thank you Katherine. I was beginning to think fb had it in for me and I was doing something wrong. You're right in saying it takes more and more time. When you were able to access your page exclusively it was so much more effective.

Lisa Call said...


I have to admit - I love the way the pages are now handled. It makes much more sense to me and works better for my workflow. The idea that we were behaving like our page was always a bit of a weird idea to me and there were enough bugs in it that it annoyed me. And it didn't play nice with tabbed browsing if you switched between pages.

I found it to be double the work to like a page with my profile and my page and remembering what I liked from - while I might have different interests - I am still a whole human being. Now I can just like all pages from my profile and comment on them as needed/desired from any of my pages.

The interface feels much more intuitive to me. And less work!

Maybe the difference between your view of things and mine is that I've always used interest lists.

The one thing I was bummed they recently took away (okay maybe 6 months ago or maybe longer - hm) was the ability to put a page into an interest list from that page. I now have to edit my interest lists to get a page onto the list. So agreed on that point - it isn't nearly as easy as it used to be to put pages into interest lists.

I'm also not sure what you mean by this "The notifications feed for your Facebook Page has been TOTALLY ELIMINATED making the workflow for dealing with updates to one specific page at one specific time all but impossible"

If I go to my page and then click on the notifications tab (on the left in the white area) - I have a notifications feed for just that page. And if you click on the dropdown that lists all the pages the little number next to the page name is the count for new notifications.

Doing it this way mirrors the behavior of the mobile app much more closely. Which is what I suspect much of this was about. Pages on mobile worked differently than pages on a big computer, which was confusing.

It is always amazing to me how differently we all use social media!


Katherine Tyrrell said...

But the whole point is that Pages are public by default and accounts need not be. That some of like to have very clear distinctions between our public life and our private life. That we also liked to have highlighy differentiated news feed streams for quite different interests

If it's all mixed up because you like all pages from your account then it's REALLY HARD WORK

That's before we take into account how much is now going to be buried which wasn't before because of course they never show everything.

I guess what I'm going to be doing unless this change works for me is going through the Pages I have liked and prune them down to the ones which actually generate interesting content on a regular basis.

Like I said - I think this is going to be very disruptive for traffic to Pages...........

Katherine Tyrrell said...

PS - Of course if it's NOT your practice to like many Pages it's a lot less complex!

Cayo Scoop said...

Thanks for all the great info. I'm bummed that the community service project we've spent a decade on - which relied on the page's newsfeed since most businesses in the community incorrectly put all their eggs in the fb basket - is pretty much going to go dark. I guess it's time to find another hobby, haha! I've always disliked fb, being in the educational field, one usually does, but this really a blow to a small community.

Keep up this great blog!


Springfarmalmanac said...

Dear Katherine, thank you for this post; like many readers, I hugely appreciate it.

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