I used to consider a facebook account to be a necessary evil. I never felt good about the time I lit on fire by participation in the platform but it seemed a net positive for promoting whatever side-hustle I was currently toying around with. I can’t shake this feeling that facebook has crossed into negative expected value (EV) for online publishers and content creators. I think the fate of fb oriented media company LittleThings illustrates this shift nicely.
Back in 2016, CEO Joe Speiser explained his bullish attitude in spite of growing concern throughout the online publishing world:
Media companies are increasingly nervous about Facebook . While many now rely heavily on the social network to drive traffic to their content and to help generate revenue from their audiences, some media executives still question Facebook’s long-term commitment to helping their businesses.
But according to Joe Speiser, chief executive of “feel-good” content publisher LittleThings, those concerns are unfounded. Facebook wants to control the experience users have on its platform, he said, but Facebook needs publishers just as much as publishers need Facebook.
“I think we need each other. We need them for the traffic; they need us for the content,” Mr. Speiser said on this week’s WSJ Media Mix podcast. “I think [Facebook] cares very much. I think without the content all these media companies are providing there’d be that much less reason to go on to the news feed.”
Just eighteen months later Mike Shields, reporting for Business Insider:
The media industry’s worst fears about Facebook’s huge algorithm tweak are coming true. The women-focused publisher LittleThings is shutting its doors, in large part because of Facebook’s recent move, the company’s CEO, Joe Speiser, told Business Insider. […]
Since launching in 2014, LittleThings had amassed over 12 million Facebook followers, and its videos regularly generated thousands, if not millions, of views.
But Speiser said the recent algorithm shift, which Facebook has said was designed to tamp down content that is consumed passively — and would instead emphasize posts from people’s friends and family — took out roughly 75% of LittleThings’ organic traffic while hammering its profit margins.
For years now, I’ve let most of my own web properties wither and sometimes die on the vine while I half-heartedly posted now and then on someone else’s platform (fb, insta, grid, etc). As we begin a lifestyle of full-time family travel and growth of our online income-streams, it feels like high time I stopped relying on platforms I don’t own to tell our story.
And so, welcome to the 3rd, or perhaps 4th iteration of andydragt.com
I am a huge fan of my physical field notes journals and I use them for everything in my analog world. Consider this my digital version.