Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this month the first significant changes to the Facebook timeline in a long while, changes that will have a hard hitting impact on content creators, brands, media companies and marketeers. Terrible news for us, no? We delve deep and see what this will really mean for us content creators.
What are these Facebook changes?
The proposed changes will significantly alter the way we see posts on the Facebook timeline. Out with brands, videos, gifs, memes and a ton of other junk – content that Facebook now deems “passive”. I for one find my timeline annoying as hell and use Facebook a lot less because of that. Facebook wants to reinvigorate the timeline and promote meaningful content from friends and family, content that will provoke discussion. Content that will make people think.
Take a look at your Facebook timeline. I know that I haven’t been sharing content half as much as I used to five years ago. This is because I am seeing less relevant stuff, my feed is full of advertisements and videos and, well, just junk. People and advertisers sharing ‘stuff’, stuff that doesn’t matter, stuff that consumes your time but isn’t relevant, stuff that is just….. stuff. 89 posts! 89 posts on my Facebook feed before I got to see something I cared about from someone I cared about. I realise that this is partly my own fault due to liking things that don’t matter; music, places and ‘things’ that I had a fleeting relationship with and it’s got to the point where my feed is full of it. Yay, I say, give me back the pictures of kids, pets, my mates drunk at a party and left leaning news reports about the state of the oceans! Give me stuff I care enough about to discuss with my mates (in public). BUT as a content creator it surely means that demand from clients will drop – ouch!
Why does this matter to us as content creators? Zuckerberg has said that “There will be fewer posts from brands, pages and media companies and more from people. There will also be fewer videos, which Facebook considers “passive.” He wants us to: “…feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos – even if they’re entertaining or informative – may not be as good.” As a content creator it could mean there will be less demand for content from clients. Our clients love creating video for consumers to watch and share, however it’s going to make us have to think more. The content will need to work harder, videos will have to engage and provoke a discussion to get a look in. Either that or brands will have to pay a premium to get the content viewed as ads.
There is an upside to these changes. By thinking more about the video content we are creating and creating content that people engage with, video that really drives discussion, there is more opportunity for brands to really gain trust and leverage that with an online community. Precisely because that community is more centred around personal trusted networks than in recent years. There will be a bigger drive to get content shared organically through discussion and engagement and therefore a greater potential for the brand behind the content to become trusted by an online audience. Overall I believe that this can only be a good thing. The more we are made to think about the content we are creating the more relevant it will be to viewers and the more satisfaction all parties will get from creating the content. Bring it on, oh, and welcome back pictures of drunk mates and other peoples kids and pets!