Most of my friends on Facebook probably think I just write a lot of Facebook notes. This isn’t actually the case. As many know, I have a personal blog, “the long way home“, that I write everything on. Facebook has a great little feature where it will import the RSS feed from this blog into Facebook as a note. So, long story short, I write a post on the blog, it shows up in Facebook as a note. I never actually touch the Notes feature. But there’s a problem with this.
When the feature first came out, there was a prominent “View Original Post” button attached to the facebook note. Clicking this would take you to the blog itself. Alas, as time has gone by, this button has grown smaller and more obscure (you can find it now on the very bottom of this Note next to the “Like” and “Comment” links. This has caused fewer and fewer people to go to the actual site, because they can just stay on Facebook and read. This causes many problems on my end. So, after today, I will no longer be importing my blog posts to Facebook. Read on if you care to know why.
First, formatting. I format all my posts based on how they look on the blog, not on Facebook. This means that embedded images, videos, and audio either get all jacked up, appear merely as links, or don’t show up at all.
Second, there are many resources and links that I provide on the blog in the sidebar and in the various pages. Of course, these do not import to Facebook, meaning that there’s a whole dimension of engaging with the content that’s lost to the casual Facebook reader.
Third, it’s tough maintaining two separate audiences. I get far more people leaving comments on the Facebook version of posts, and these comments only stay within our little particular corner of the Facebook community. Having these same discussions on the blog let the rest of the world engage and broaden the conversation. Also, there have been several occasions where blog visitors have left similar comments as people did on Facebook, so I’ve had practically the same conversation running in two separate places at once.
Lastly, and most importantly, tracking who reads what on the site. This is not about needing the praise that comes with knowing people have read something of yours. Anyone that has a site knows that knowing where the traffic comes from and what it’s reading is so important to knowing in what direction you should take the site. I really have no idea how many people actually read what I write and this is frustrating. I may go for weeks or years putting a lot of thought and energy into a particular series of writings, not knowing that nobody is actually reading them. That’s a lot of wasted time that could be spent writing about things that will actually help people. Also, I have a couple of sites I write for, and it would be great to know how much traffic each one gets so I can post appropriate writings in the appropriate places. With more people visiting and linking to my actual site instead of just Facebook notes, this will also increase my exposure on search engines thereby driving more people to the site and to possible helpful resources.
Those are all the reasons I have decided to stop importing my posts to Facebook (after this post). I will still put up a note each time I write, but it will only have a brief summary of the content and a link to the blog.
We’ll see how this goes. If the number of people actually reading things on the site doesn’t jump up significantly, or if people make a big stink over it on Facebook, I may put it back, but in the meantime, I just want to see how this goes. Links to the posts will still appear via the Facebook App “Networked Blogs” as well.
Sorry, if this isn’t as convenient. Feel free to leave me your input.