Facebook just unveiled “promoted posts” for users. The feature allows users to promote a post to more of their friends. This sounds weird initially – won’t my friends see my posts anyway? the answers is… probably not.
Unlike Twitter, Facebook’s feed is not a running list of all posts by your friends or pages you liked in the past. Facebook’s algorithm filters a lot of the posts you can potentially see, and thus we only get to see some of the posts that users share on their timeline. For better or worse this is Facebook.
Now with Promoted Posts, users can promote a specific post to get more of their friends (and their friends’ friends) to see it. For example:
To me, this feels wrong. Paying to get your friends to see a personal post goes against the nature of a social network. I use Facebook with my friends so we can keep in touch, so we can communicate. Paying to get my friends to see my post beats that purpose.
But… Facebook needs to make money, I get that. Is there a different way – I think so:
Borrowing from gamification concepts, I suggest Facebook give every user the ability to designate X posts per month as “important”. Important posts then get promoted in friend’s feeds (much like the “pay to promote”). Facebook can build a mechanism to allow you to get more “important” posts per month based on things like your level of engagement, the level of engagement that your “important” posts get, etc.
Facebook should make a clear distinction between brands (who can and should pay to
promote advertise their posts) and users who are the foundation of the service and should not be treated as customers.