Friday, February 19, 2016

Facebook doesn't want you to see my videos...

Posted by Kirk
It has been a while since I have posted to the website. I've been focusing more on Social Media as of late. It seems easier to reach people where they already are and while there are lots of things I really dislike about Facebook there certainly are a lot of people that follow Twin Cities Naturalist there rather than coming here to the website. Of course, there are those who get these posts via email as well.

I've been experimenting with YouTube more lately as I think it is a fantastic platform. I have always loved video as a medium and I re-branded my channel as "Secret Nature" as I have a lot of videos sharing the secrets of nature coming up. The challenge there is that I tend to have big ideas and a simple seed of an idea for a video soon balloons and spirals out of control as I think up all of the amazing information I want to share and the creative ways I want to share it.

I have a dozen videos mostly scripted out but they keep growing and I keep wanting to refine them, find better locations, wait for the right weather or season, etc. I fear I am letting perfect be the enemy of good. For that reason, I have started to put out short Naturalist Vlogs. If you are not familiar with vlogs, the are video-logs or the video version of a blog (which is short for web-log.)

These are not polished. They are simply a glimpse into my current thinking and observations as a naturalist.

If you follow the Twin Cities Naturalist page on Facebook you MIGHT have seen one of these videos. I stress MIGHT because Facebook really hates YouTube. The two platforms have completely different ideas concerning video and content creators.

YouTube views me as a content creator, in other words, I produce their product. You can think of me as an employee in one sense. If I choose to put advertising alongside or before my videos they will even give me a cut of the profits. This is a great model that encourages content creators to create more content. The better the content, the more view and the more views the greater potential profit sharing. This encourages people to create high quality content.

If you have a google account then you also have a YouTube account. If you have not already logged into YouTube while visiting you are missing out on a great experience. YouTube learns what kinds of things you like to watch and serves up fantastic recommended videos. You can learn about creators doing work of interest to you. If you don't log in, it just suggests trending videos of celebrities or cats whatever other random topic. You can subscribe to a channel, like Secret Nature, and it then automatically alerts you when a new video comes out so you don't miss it.

This contrasts vastly with Facebook. If you manage a page on Facebook they don't consider you an asset, partner or creator, they consider you a customer. They routinely ask me to pay money so they will show my content to people that have already asked to see it. If I post a video they will show it to, say, 20% of the people that have subscribed to my page. If I want more people to see it I have to PAY Facebook to show it to you. I don't get any benefit for you seeing it. I am creating content for Facebook so they can get you to come to their site and make money off you and I have to pay for the priveledge of helping them make money. This might make sense if I was a corporation selling a product, for example a soft drink, and my video is essentially an ad for that product. It makes sense for a company to have to pay to have Facebook show their ads to people. It does not make sense for purely educational videos.

YouTube will pay ME for bringing you to YouTube. Facebook wants me to pay THEM to bring them revenue.

The solution would seem to be to post my videos on YouTube and then share them on Facebook but Facebook doesn't want that either. They want me to only upload videos directly to Facebook. I did an experiment last week. I posted one video directly to Facebook and another to YouTube and then shared on Facebook. For the video I posted directly to Facebook they amazingly put it into the feed of all but one of my followers. That's pretty good. 48% of those people actually watched the video. What happened to the YouTube video? Facebook put it into the feeds of just SEVEN people who had said they wanted to see my content by following my page. Of those seven it looks like ONE person might have watched it. Facebook severely punishes creators for sharing YouTube content on their platform. They want all the money for themselves and they want me to pay to essentially work for them.

I have no control over this. I refuse to create content for Facebook for free and then have them make me pay to show it to people who have already asked to see it. I'm not doing this because I am selling a product and I am not doing it for the vanity of having views. I make videos simply because it is yet another way to educate people and share my love and knowledge of the natural world.

If you would like to actually see the content I am creating on YouTube come on over and subscribe while you are there. There are lots of other amazing channels from science communicators there and you will enjoy them as well. Stop watching what Facebook tells you to watch and choose for yourself. You'll start enjoying your time online a whole lot more.