T he twentieth century gave us airplanes, motion pictures, radio, air conditioning, penicillin, television, computers, organ transplants, and men on the moon. Almost two decades in, the Twenty-First Century has given us Facebook.
And already, millions of the kids responsible for defining this glorified bulletin board as a cultural phenomenon have moved on, ascending to other platforms more suited to their rapid-fire changes in moods and tastes.
In this social media Rapture, many souls have been left behind… parents and (yikes!) grandparents whose crowding into the Facebook space was itself a factor in the exodus of the young. So, Facebook is still a primary means of interaction for members of these older generations, and since this large group includes many of our readers, we still take it seriously.
As of this writing, the Texas Fish & Game Facebook page has more than 51,000 followers. Not bad. Not William Shatner numbers, but not bad at all for a one-state regional magazine.
In theory, Facebook is a great way to reach out to our audience with instant updates and messages. And when we began attracting followers, it worked.
Our posts of news, blogs, articles, and photos would go out, get shared, and, for a while, would routinely achieve nearly a million shared views.
Then two things happened. First, and not surprisingly, when Facebook’s financial wizards realized that popular businesses were using the platform for quick and easy (and Free!) access to their followers, they decided to shut off the FREE-flow of information through their pipes. You could still reach more than a trickle of your fans, but you had to pay.
That’s fine. No free lunch, and all that.
But then something else, more disturbing and political, began to happen.
Texas Fish & Game’s posts with guns or hunting were not allowed to be “boosted” (the term for paying to expand reach to more fans). Any Photo of the Day submission that had a gun or dead animal in it couldn’t be boosted. A lot of proud parents, and excited kids, were deprived of having their accomplishments shared throughout the digital community.
Then, at one point, ALL Texas Fish & Game posts were blocked from boosting, because the content was deemed “offensive” by Facebook censors. Meanwhile, Facebook was infamously being used by ISIS and other terrorists to promote their vile insanity and even to share information within their ranks.
We were finally able to restore our ability to boost non-hunting, non-gun content, but we are not sure how long that “privilege” will be tolerated. It is a shame how Facebook’s political views have alienated so many of their users.
We’re not going to abandon Facebook. We’ve worked too hard to earn the interest and following of so many Facebook friends.
But… if you use Twitter, we’re building our presence over there, where they still appear to have respect for the Freedom of Speech.
Check us out at twitter.com/FishandGame.