Facebook is not the place for serious news

At the recent BIMS conference in Ft. Lauderdale I got a chance to catch up briefly with Lev Kaye, the Founder and CEO of Credspark. We expressed our mutual disdain for the latest silly craze that publishers are falling for — viz., putting their content on Facebook.

Lev sent me this very interesting video on the subject.

The Death of the Advertising Industrial Complex.

If you can’t watch the whole thing, watch the section from 19:50 to 21:55. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

If I were to summarize …

The problem with the ad model, simply stated.

We spend lots of time and money creating an audience that we then rent to other people rather than using it to promote our own business.

The problem with Facebook, simply stated.

We spend lots of time and money creating great content so Facebook can use it to expand its platform.

Pardon my French, but publishers need to learn to be their own bitch.

Create an audience for your own benefit. Create content to build your own platform and your own customer base. Don’t give stuff away. The great material you pay your professional staff to write has value. Act like it.

Publishers have to quit getting suckered by these big platforms. It started with Apple and the tablet craze.

Remember how everything was going to be on the iPad? Remember the derision that was heaped on those backwards, curmudgeonly Luddites who didn’t immediately forsake print and pour everything into an iPad strategy?

Are you buying an iPad for anybody this Christmas?

And in case you didn’t notice, the Apple newsstand doesn’t even exist any more. The revolution sputtered. I think it took a ride on a Segway.

But don’t just take my word for it.

7 Ways Facebook’s Big Algorithm Change Will Affect Marketers and Publishers makes the case decently well.

Publishers keep falling into the same ditch over and over again. It would be amusing if my career wasn’t at stake.

I would love to see a debate on this topic: Facebook, friend or foe?

Please note, I’m not talking about your personal use of Facebook. Go ahead and catch up with your nieces and nephews. I do. Share pictures of your latest catch and watch Mary’s cat jump into the Christmas tree. That’s all great fun — so long as you can stomach the hashtag activism and collective freak outs over faux news stories.

Just don’t put your serious journalism in that environment. Why in the heck would you? It’s like submitting your review of the latest DOJ ruling to the Weekly World News, right next to bat boy and revelations from Area 51.

Facebook was created as a way to find dates in college. It’s marginally more serious now, but still not the place for your paid, professional content.

And speaking of paid content, your kids would love a copy of this for Christmas: Escape to Mars.

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