I have a Facebook artist “page” (or fan page, or music page, or whatever one calls it). When I pull it up, it shows a header section which includes an up-to-date analytics graph.
As you can see, it depicts “total reach” along with activity by yourself and your “fans” on the page. “Reach” gives you an idea of how many people are actually seeing your activity in their news feed, shown as a 7-day total each day. I find myself going crazy looking at this graph. Some days the last seven days show over 600 people reached. (Woo hoo! “Break out the champagne!” Or “Hey friendly Starbucks barrista, make that latte a breve.”)
And then another day it drops down into the 200s or, perish the thought, below 100. Oh no! What happened? Did I do something to lose people? What do I need to do to get back on people’s news feed? Frantically, Googley-ga-ga-ing around on the Interweb educates me about something called “Edgerank” which is some highly classified set of calculations the gods of Facebook have concocted to determine who is “in” and who is “out”. I further learn that there are certain things that one can do to anger these gods and therefore bring lightening bolts, pestilence and famine upon the Edgerank score. Oh no! Have I become a stench in the nostrils of Facebook?
Of course, much of this is speculation about the nature of the Almighty Facebook, something akin to debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or the nature of free will. Perhaps Edgerank is determined by trained squirrels in a special top-secret room pulling random levers. I say “trained” because I am not sure if untrained squirrels can pull levers. Do you know? Perhaps someone should Bing-bang-a-lang “trained squirrels”. I only know of the ones who appeared in the remake of Willy Wonka. Weren’t they amazing?
All to say, I have realized, and now admit that I am an analytics-a-holic and it has made my Facebook life unmanageable. Fortunately, there is an option so that the cruel little graph doesn’t pop up every time I visit my page. Anybody want to start a support group?
And all professional squirrel trainers: Speak up. It’s time your voice is heard.