Fingers Up To Facebook's Filter

Facebook Fails: The Series Continues

Facebook is the best we’ve got, and still… It’s awful and getting worse. As Zuck and Co. continue to squeeze as much monetization as they can out of the 2 billion daily users, we’re left with not much more than a birthday calendar and a platform for advertising. And if that’s not enough, that same advertising we see on Facebook uses technology to track us around the web and show us the same ads, because somewhere a social signal gave them the idea we were interested in a specific purchase.

Facebook Fails is my collection of issues, one at a time, that I’ve had (am having) with Facebook over time. I started this a long time ago, but I thought the historical information would be interesting as well. So here they are in chronological order, FACEBOOK FAILS: The Series.

  1. Death of Organic Reach on Facebook 2016
  2. What Facebook Reach Looks Like with 2,000 Followers
  3. Why We Keep Using Facebook: The Good, The Bad, The Fail
  4. Facebook Reach is Pay-to-play
  5. Take Back Facebook: The LIKE Cycle vs. The Dead Pool
  6. Top 3 Facebook Fails that Make My Blood Boil Daily
  7. Facebook’s Community Value is 0.25
  8. I Might Have a Problem with Facebook: The Love Hate Relationship
  9. Nudging Facebook Back Towards Friends
  10. Facebook Philosophy: It’s How You Choose to Use It
  11. Facebook Angst: Are We Just Whining or is Facebook That Bad?
  12. Facebook Business Pages: Why I Killed My Page, and Have Now Rebooted It
  13. POV: Facebook’s Gonna Make You Pay, Because They Can
  14. Social Advertising Benchmarks: Facebook
  15. Tired of Facebook Even After a 99 Day Hiatus
  16. Top 10 Things I Miss About Facebook
  17. Facebook Is Down: *die* Facebook *die*
  18. If Not Google+ Where Will We Find a Facebook Alternative?
  19. Fixing Facebook: Facebook Pro vs Facebook Free
  20. What’s Your Facebook eCommerce IQ?
  21. How to Fix your Facebook News Feed
  22. Why Do You LIKE Brands on Facebook?
  23. Facebook Brand: Your Customer Service is on Facebook
  24. Resetting Facebook: Expectations & Priorities vs. Procrastination

Resurfaced Posts from the Facebook Fail Archives

  1. Hello Facebook, I’m Home
  2. Please Be Careful, Facebook wants Your Information to Remain Safe
  3. A Friend Request Works Just Like a Friending
  4. Only Friend People You Know Personally on Facebook
  5. Facebook’s Mostly Just Friends Filter
  6. How Facebook Filters Everything
  7. Keep Your Filter Off My Friends, Facebook
  8. False Security on Facebook
  9. My Snark-free Future on Facebook

Slideshare Presentations:

  1. Facebook Fail #47: Just Show Me
  2. Facebook’s 12 Deadly Sins
  3. Neo-Facebook, One Site Simplified
  4. Facebook’s UI Simplified

Join us as we explore how to improve Facebook or leave it behind for good.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

Google Thyself Again

It might be time to Google yourself again. Things change. You’ve done a lot on the web. It’s time to see what Google knows and what others are going to see (especially if you’re searching for a new job, as I am) when they punch up your name. Here’s my latest page 1 results. I’m using Google Chrome’s Incognito feature so no history or localization information was used in these results.

A few things to remember about your online reputation and Googling yourself.

  • You need to get a handle on your search results page long before there’s an issue, if there ever is an issue.
  • You want to make sure you’re showing up on Google in the appropriate places
  • You want to look for bad content, odd content, or pirated content (when they use your writing but don’t attribute it or pay you for its use)
  • If you control the pages that show up in the first few search engine results pages, you’re golden. If you don’t show up at all, it’s time to get started on your online portfolio.

Today the resume is important. LinkedIn is more important. And before hiring you for a top position, Google may be the most important at all. Are you posting political rants? Is your content relevant? Do you have any authority on the subject you are hoping to get a leadership position in?

But can a large social media footprint also work against you in the hiring game? Does my large Twitter following make me a threat? Or the fact that I keep my Facebook page private? What about the fact that I write, have written, for the Huffington Post? (I was fired on the second day from a job, when they Googled me and found my Huff Po author’s page.) What is your online search results page saying about you and your online reputation?

I like what I see when I Google myself. I found some sites that have syndicated my content from The Good Men Project. I find that I’m burying the more famous McElhenney, Rob. (He doesn’t show up until page 3. And if you want to know about me from Google, 99% of the content is stuff that I’ve written myself. I want you to find me, but I want you to find what I want you to find. No, I don’t have any lingering secrets on the dark internet, but I am controlling the conversation about me online.

What can your Google search tell you about your online content? Will you find some random stuff from a long time ago, stuff you might not be so proud of? It’s time to start Googling today, so you can be proactive in building your online reputation. LinkedIn and your resume only tell part of the story, Google tells the rest.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

The State of Mobile Marketing 2017 – Overview

Sometimes downloading a white paper or study is a waste of time. I have downloaded hundreds of lead-generating ebooks and have found very few of them to be worth the time. Occasionally, a big study or survey piece will reveal some salient points, and I’m glad to have read it, but really it’s about 10% of the overall content. Here in a severaly abbreviated form is The State of Mobile Marketing 2017 from Incite Group and OpenMobile Media.

Here are the most important mobile challenges as outlined by the study.

Content and Context and Relevance are the top two challenges. How do you build a mobile app or platform that is relevant and valuable to your customers? Tons of businesses are creating apps that do nothing well. They are simply entries into the crowded mobile space. If you don’t understand the content part of the equation, it does not matter if you have an app or not.

Creating a personalized customer experience. That’s the top potential. How do you go about doing that? What mobile feature has not been covered? How does your app or program provide something new, something useful, something unique?

Make note that brand awareness and increased engagement are the top two objectives of mobile marketing. Sales is not the primary goal. When building a mobile program are you concentrating too much on sales? Do you have the budget to build something for brand awareness that does not drive sales?

The mobile marketing space is hard and apps are expensive to produce. And if they don’t increase revenue, what is the point?

Maybe you should concentrate on how well you site performs in the mobile browsing experience. Well over half your audience is viewing your site on their phone. And that includes B2B sites as well.

Get your mobile act together before you consider a mobile app. And make sure you understand the content that your audience would find valuable. Sales messaging is not going to fly and will get your app dropped, ignored, and deleted.

Go mobile, but go about it smartly.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

PS: Yes, I know this post is not going to get me a lot of bonus points with future recruiters, but if I get a little bit more information, I’m up for it. Still looking for my next FT position.

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

HR Feeback: Do Recruiters Owe Sourced Candidates Feedback?

I’ve been hit up by a ton of recruiters lately. Seems like every time Dell opens up a new rec a handful of contract recruiters hit me up via email and telephone. I can see the calls coming in from all over the country and I skip them. “I’ll get the email,” I say to myself.

So there was an interesting one that came in last week. A local company sourced me for a “strategist” level position. I was interested in the company so I took the call. As we discussed the role the recruiter started talking about a different position that would probably be a better fit for my experience. She was excited about it as she laid out the role and promised to get my resume directly to the hiring manager. She thought I was a shoe in.

Then nothing happened. I took a short homework assignment and sent it in, confident that I had passed with flying colors and I waited. From the way the recruiter had been talking I was certain I was going to hear from the hiring manager in a matter of days. At the end of the next week, I pinged the recruiter, “Just checking in, I’m still very excited about the position.”

Here’s what she wrote back:

Hey John!

Thanks for the follow-up. I was waiting to hear back from the team. Although your background is certainly impressive, it doesn’t directly align to the experience they’re looking for. That being said though, I’d love to stay in touch in case there is another role that you might be a better fit for. Would you be open to that?

Well, that’s fine, but it doesn’t give me any indication of what the miss was, hers or mine. “It doesn’t directly align to the experience they’re looking for” means what exactly? It sure did align when we were talking about the project management aspect of the role. Or the writing aspect of the role. Or the leadership aspect of the role. So I didn’t align. Is that a way of saying I’m a bit older than they had imagined this “manager” to be?

It’s true, I’m an older worker. I’ve cut my resume in half just to get call backs. And if you go to my LinkedIn profile, there it is in flying colors. See, I’m not trying to be dishonest, just realistic. If people start out with knowing I graduated from college about the time they were entering elementary school, they’re not liable to give me a shot.

So what is the responsibility of the recruiter and HR team? Do candidates that spend hours crafting their responses, and doing “homework” deserve at least a hint at what the miss was? I think the answer is yes. I know we’re all busy, but if they’ve contacted me and I’m giving them enough time to put me in their system, in their format, in their words, don’t they owe me a little time on the backend to tell me what went wrong?

I know this is not how the world works. And I know in today’s market, a hiring market they call it, recruiters and HR people hold all the cards. Getting mad about one experience is not a good strategy in the long-run. But, people, let’s remember that we’re all doing the best we can. If I give you an hour of my time, at least give me ten minutes to tell me the truth.

Respect goes both ways.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

PS: Yes, I know this post is not going to get me a lot of bonus points with future recruiters, but if I get a little bit more information, I’m up for it. Still looking for my next FT position.

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

image: feedback, creative commons usage

How The Huffington Post Silences Writers Without Giving Any Reason (A Summary)

I’ve been a Huffington Post blogger since 11-11-2013.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-40-27-amclick to read

And I’ve still got an author’s page on The Huffington Post site.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-39-09-am

View my archive now: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post

But somehow, The Huffington Post blog team has cut off my posts and blocked me from being able to login to the new publishing platform. Here’s the top of my archive today.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-39-36-am

And you will notice a long gap between my last two published posts in NOV. 2014 and my most recent publications on the new Contributor Platform in OCT. 2106. I had been allowed to publish posts since NOV. 2014 but not 1 of the 70+ posts I submitted got released to the blog.

I struggled with this loss in my publishing platform. I wrote letters to Arianna, the woman who invited me into the publishing platform in the first place. I wrote letters to Brittany Wong the woman who wrote a profile about me and my journey as a positive divorced dad. I wrote letters to the email address for corrections and issues from the blog team. (blogteam@huffingtonpost.com) And for two years I got nothing.

Then The Huffington Post finally made the transition to the new platform. And in that process I was given a credential to login and create my NEW account. Which I did on October 6, 2016. I updated my profile for the new platform. I got a new author’s page http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/jm32austin-893, and was set up to finally rejoin the ranks of Huffington Post blogger.

And so I started out with a few posts in my sweet spot topics. Divorce and Health and Fitness. And to my surprise, the new Contributor Platform allows writers to push the post live without “editor” intervention. So all four of my posts went LIVE.

And once of them, the “Dear Ex-wife” post began to trend. Within an hour I had over 3,000 views directly from The Huffington Post. And they hadn’t even added me or promoted me in a section yet. The post was taking off in the generic posting on The Blog.

Of course, I was thrilled. I looked for another post, the last Brad and Angelina post, that I could throw into the stream to up my traffic. And BOOM. It was all taken down.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-4-37-31-pm

And now none of my 2016 posts are live.

What could have happened? I speculate all the time.

  1. Someone on the blog team has suppressed my publishing back in 2014. (Without telling me why or giving me recourse to remedy my transgression.)
  2. My viral post was threatening to some editor so they took it down. And then proceeded to take all of my recent posts down, to complete the suppression.
  3. Someone on the blog team saw my posts, connected the dots with 2014’s suppression and re-killed my publishing platform.

In all of these cases there is a problem if The Huffington Post is attempting to foster a community spirit with their new Contributor Platform.

The kumbaya statement of community with the Contributor Platform looks like this,

“The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.”

And then comes the hard part,

“We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.”

And yet there is no mention of the community of editors, the conversation that should be had around any removal or suppression. So far, even on the new Contributor Platform I have been suppressed, on all of my posts, and not given any explanation or justification for what went wrong. And I don’t expect my record is going to be any better than it was since 2014. Maybe they’ll open a new platform and give me a credential to login there, who knows.

Three Rules of an Open Community

  1. The community rules.
  2. The community can discuss the rules.
  3. Questions about the rules should be allowed and discussed in the community.

When you take out the third rule, you’ve created the same problem you had with the old platform. When editors can suppress writers and not give any explanation then there is no community.

I realise there are thousands of writers who are willing to write for The Huffington Post for free. I am one of those writers. And there a thousands more asking to be let into the community every day. But if you really want to create a community you need to have a feedback mechanism. We are people. We are part of the community. And we deserve an explanation when our post or our entire publishing rights have been rescinded.

I have never gotten any explanation or response in two years of requesting feedback. I lucked into a loophole when the new system was brought online. And then I am merely suppressed again, without explanation or response to my repeated requests for information. I’m guessing, from the comments on my previous posts about this issue, that I am not alone in this.

Dear Arianna Huffington Post and The Blog Team, your Statement of Community is just pretty words. Until you provide a mechanism for feedback and give all of your writers an opportunity to communicate with you, there is no community. You have created the idea of community while behaving like the same all-ruling dictator that we have come to know. Tolerance is our only recourse.

The message of your community becomes more transparently BS when you realise there are many writers that have been cut off without explanation, like myself.

I’d love to hear what happened. I’d love to know how to get my publishing turned back on. I’d love to know if you still value the 70+ posts that are still live and still generating traffic on your blog. I know you no longer value me or my voice. But I’d at least like you to tell me why.

Sincerely,

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

PS: I’d love to hear your HuffPo shutdown story in the comments.

Marketing on Facebook vs. Advertising on Facebook

LET’S CLARIFY A FEW IDEAS: A shared Facebook post about the value of a brand or a brand story is marketing. A Facebook ad trying to get you to buy something is advertising. They are similar but not the same. Let’s explore.

When McDonald’s advertises the Big Mac on Facebook they are doing something in between. They are not actually trying to get you to stop at McD’s for a Big Mac at that moment, that would be advertising. They are really trying to build the idea of the Big Mac in your mind. Make your mouth water, so the NEXT TIME you see the golden arches you turn in for a Big Mac and some fries.

Marketing – telling a story, sharing a brand experience, with the intention of influencing future purchases.

Advertising – buy now, click here to register, special offer now.

On Facebook you can do both. But of course Facebook is not intending you to be surfing Facebook while driving, so their intention is mainly focused on future events. However, with mobile advertising and mobile Facebook the lines are getting a bit blurred. I’d still offer that marketing on Facebook is what McDonald’s is doing. They don’t have to give coupons for discount fries. The fries sell themselves, so McDonald’s usually advertises or markets things in addition to the fries. Like “all-day breakfast.”

In my experience, there is one type of advertising that works really well on Facebook and everything else is really branding. Typical results from a boosted Facebook post.

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-9-25-31-am

And because I know my audience, that 4.36% engagement rate is pretty high. Typical engagements range from 1 – 3%. In my demographic, women for this ad, here is my demographic breakdown.

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-9-25-52-am

From this information I can see that no one over 54 or under 35 clicked on my ad. So I can tighten up the target a bit more. But this is branding and marketing. I am trying to build a readership and audience for my blog.

When we talk advertising the one WINNER on Facebook is the Mobile Downloads Ads. But of course these require two things.

  1. That you have a downloadable app.
  2. That your required WIN is downloading your app.

In this channel, Mobile Downloads,  I have seen engagement rates as high as 35%. That means that over 1/3 of the people who see the ad then click on it. The actual download rate then goes down, because not everyone directed to the download store on their various phones is actually going to then click the download button, even when the app is free. That rate usually dropped by 20%. So we’d get a solid engagement and download rate of 23%.

The last mile, for this company, was getting the user to actually launch the app and register with the company for the application to work correctly. This is where the drop off is more of a problem. At this point our WIN rate was about 7%.

So of an ad that produced a 35% engagement rate and a 23% download rate, we would end up with a 7% registration rate. Now if we dropped these numbers to the typical Facebook engagement rate of 2%, you can see where we’d run into serious problems convincing anyone to allocate dollars to a Facebook advertising campaign. Branding yes, advertising, not so much.

Know what you want to accomplish on Facebook. Pick marketing over advertising and see if you can come up with a mobile app version of your website (These can be created for free these days with 3rd party apps.) and you may have some real potential on Facebook. Otherwise, you’re building brand and goodwill, also valuable, but harder to justify in this competitive business environment.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Broadcast Yourself on YouTube - Logo

YouTube/Google AdSense Still Blocking Me

A month ago I started talking to the YouTube specialists about monetizing my YouTube videos. I thought I had made some progress even though I was being shuffled between different customer service managers for several weeks. Today I got my revised and same answer.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-1-30-28-pm

So I hipped Adam to my previous history of “violations.”

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-25-14-pm

AND that did it.

He viewed three of the posts about my past problems with AdSense.

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And then sent this response. Um, thanks Adam.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-25-59-pm

And while I asked Adam, “Why?” I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the last from the YouTube Team.

Thanks Adam.

Read the entire Google AdSense and YouTube saga.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)