The reality is more complex than that. But regardless, this will impact small businesses and individual artists, like myself, who are trying to promote their work and build audience using social media. I am not going to get into the Machiavellian Politics of this as there are plenty of people out there saying plenty about it. There are many people, like myself, that simply do not have the budget to pay for Facebooks promotions and sponsored posts. Regardless of what FB says, They have not proven to be worth it and THOSE are the posts that I find most annoying, personally - the paid ads.
Here's the announcement by Facebook for you to assess yourself: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/update-to-facebook-news-feed
There are also a goodly group of folks organizing a black-out of Facebook for the beginning of January in protest. Been lots of blog posts about this, and here's a fairly informational one: http://www.twinklens.com/blog/facebook-changes-the-rules-for-the-new-year
In the mean time, there are some things you can do to make sure you stay in touch with the groups you are truly interested in:
- Make it a point to visit them on a regular basis and "like" their posts. You extend the life of a post by clicking on it. A post with no activity on it goes nowhere.
- Share posts from groups and pages that you care about. It doesn't matter that everyone on your friends list might not be interested. Your personal stream is a reflection of what interests you, and the more a post is shared outside of a Fan/Professional/Whatever Page, the more impact it has - ten times the impact (based on my unscientific observations).
- If the Group/Page you follow has their own website or blog, see if you can subscribe to it through an RSS feed or some tool independent of Facebook.
As a point of information, these were principles that were true even before these new changes.
You can also adjust the notification settings on the groups you have liked or followed. Click on the images to enlarge them, and follow the fuzzy yellow arrows and dots:
Step #1 - Open the Settings on your Account - It is the little padlock icon to the right of your notifications - the fuzzy yellow arrow is pointing right to it
Step #2 - Open Privacy Settings and Tools - follow the fuzzy yellow dot again.
Step #3: Click "Edit" on "Group Activity" to open the list of Groups you have liked. You may be given the option at the bottom to click to expand so you can see the entire list if you have liked a whole lot of them.
Step #4: Use the Drop Down menu next to each group on your list, and adjust the notification settings to fit your level of interest. Yes, it is true that sometimes you like things just to help someone out, or because it seems peripherally interesting. You can adjust how much of that you see here - there are a bunch of options.
How these changes are really going to play out, it is hard to say. But making some adjustments to your settings now should help you keep track of those things you really want to stay current on.
As for me, I don't have the luxury of abandoning FB in protest - too many January irons in the fire. So I will be testing how to adjust my posts so they won't get filtered as sales pitches, and hoping that I can create intriguing enough content to get people to click through to blogs and other websites where I can better say whatever needs to be said.
DISCLAIMER: There are plenty of way-cool-in-the-know folks out there who are better informed than I am and may be in a position to refute what I have said. My experience has been that no one truly knows what such changes mean until they happen, as change inevitably does. Your choices are to stay in there and adjust based on your observations of the new norm, or to take your stuff elsewhere. Those are always your options 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days every year.
Happy New Year! Many Blessings to you and yours, and thanks for your continued support.