the numbers and facebook (itty bitty thoughts)

the numbers and facebook (itty bitty thoughts)

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I’ve looked at the numbers, y’all, and I think it’s time to have a discussion about uncomfortable truths and the giant known as Facebook.

Note: This itty bitty thought was also touched on at the end of the yesterday’s Deep Thoughts from the Woods podcast episode, but didn’t make it into the show notes, so here goes.

Uncomfortable truth: what if, in growing your own thing (let’s say, a website), you were actually just growing something for someone else (let’s say, Facebook)?

Uncomfortable truth: what if when all of us (let’s say, bloggers/content creators) said, “let’s get on Facebook because then more people will find our stuff”, we didn’t realize we were spending more time growing the Facebook platform and giving content to Facebook to keep Facebook going than we were giving to our own stuff?

Uncomfortable truth: Facebook relies on people posting to keep people coming back to read stuff. If no one posts, there is nothing to read. If there is nothing to read, there is nothing to scroll through. If there is nothing to scroll through, there is nowhere for Facebook to put ads.

The Facebook numbers…are they even legit?

What if the almost 20k followers on my Farmish Facebook page…isn’t actually 20k followers?

What if having 500 followers on a different social media would actually mean the same thing as having “20k” on Facebook?

If everyone who has a Facebook page for their business had to start over from scratch today on Facebook (and didn’t take part in any of the asinine like-for-like things that go around), what numbers would we end up with? Would I somehow attain 20k followers again, or would I end up with more like 750? And would there be any difference in the level of interaction on my page with “only” 750 likes?

Obviously, not everyone who likes a page is going to interact with everything that’s posted. But here are some numbers for you to look at. The most interaction I’ve ever had on a post on my Farmish Kind of Life Facebook page was just over 1100 reactions and 102 comments. It was a picture of my favorite rooster that I’d found dead.

You can’t tell me that for the last couple years of being around 20k followers, that the most popular post—and we are talking most popular by far—was only interacted with by 5 percent of the people who said my page was interesting to them?

And that most of the time, a really powerful post on my page is interacted with by 1.5% of my followers?

And I know there is the, “well, that’s 1000 people who wouldn’t have seen your stuff  ‘any other way’” and that’s the argument for staying on Facebook.

Y’all, Facebook is not God. Facebook is just easy.

Two suggestions for you today:


If you have a business page on Facebook, dig into your stats and see how it’s actually working for you. I’ve had many people tell me they wouldn’t dream of leaving Facebook because what would I do without my (for instance) 20k followers?

Friends, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have if most of them aren’t seeing or interacting with what you’re tossin’ out there.

Just sayin’.


If you have Netflix**, check out the documentary The Social Dilemma. It’s 90 minutes of the people who helped create social media basically sounding the alarm on social media. It’s a deep dive into the psychology behind social media (namely Facebook), and you probably won’t like how you feel when you come back up for air.

I know I didn’t.

**Note: I know that some of y’all are anti-Netflix because of a certain show that’s on it right now, and that’s absolutely your choice to do. My thoughts on the whole Netflix debacle are a whole different itty bitty thought for another day. Carry on.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media in the comments. Also, are we ready to go back to old school blogging yet?

 — Amy Dingmann, 9-22-20

38 thoughts on “the numbers and facebook (itty bitty thoughts)”

  • Makes one wonder, right? I’m experiencing this with my farm’s Instagram page. That’s just as dubious since it’s owned by FB. There are a lot of uncomfortable truths, but I think the most uncomfortable truth is that most of the people who know this information simply continue to look the other way. Looking forward to being a frequent visitor of your website ☺️

    • I don’t run a business and I’m not a blogger. I get the frustration with Facebook and the changes that it’s gone through. For the record, my Facebook account is old enough to legally drive, and I have been on the fence about getting rid of my account for years. What’s kept me on it is the business trend of creating a Facebook page and not a website or only maintaining the Facebook page with current data while neglecting the website. I don’t know how many times I’ve logged out of my account (I refuse to use the app) only to have to log in a few days later because I can’t find a business’s hours or phone number or whatever. It’s gotten so bad with the Pandemic restrictions that our city council meeting minutes are months behind, but “go to Facebook to watch the recorded Zoom meetings.” Update websites and go back to print!

  • I found you on Facebook. I think through the hmmmmschooling page and then the farmish kind of life and then faith and then the gun… It was such a good find for me as we do ALL those things! Facebook is a source of frustration for me. I prefer blogs (I’m the person that gets frustrated at the news when they have videos and not articles 😉 ) and I’m so excited that you’re moving more towards that! Always looking forward to your posts, podcasts, and YouTube content! Keep it up!

    • I thought I was the only person that rolled my eyes when there was a video I had to watch. Especially on a cooking blog. I just want to scan the recipe so I can figure out if I have the ingredients. I don’t want to watch a video of how to make it. (Ha!!) I’m really glad that so many people are liking the thought of going back to actual blogging! 🙂

  • I’ve been on the fence about having a page on FB for my blog – I don’t get interactions on it, and I only have 50 or so likes/followers. Whereas on MeWe, I have about the same number of followers on the page I pay $2/month for, and I actually get interactions – people liking posts, commenting on, them, etc. I’m actually making a post on my FB page today that if anyone wants to keep following my blog, they can either subscribe on the page, or they can come to MeWe – where I spend most of my social media time anyway.
    I say – keep your social media where you have the most and best interactions – if it’s not FaceBook, then adios FB!

  • With all the filtering, editing, censoring and prioritizing going on with FB, I really wonder who is seeing what on any given day. It has gone from a casual group conversation to a very complex and scary machine of Twilight Zone proportions. I’m all for going back to a simpler approach to posting and conversing without all the unknown manipulation and monetizing.

  • This is reassuring to see. Lately I’ve been pressured to really dig into promoting my art on the big 3 social media platforms by a number of “advisors.” It’s pretty much the only art business advice anyone gets/gives anymore and I’m thinking it’s a huge cop-out as well as a big lie. I keep going back to the scene in Logan’s Run where everyone has to go to the Carousel. No one ever makes it but no one seems to realize it. Some recent research I did says over half of YT videos get less than 500 views, less than 1 percent get a million or more. The Social Dilemma does a good job describing what it takes to get the big numbers and it’s not anything I want to erase my ethics in order to do. The conversion rate from social media interaction to real world business benefits is around 7 percent at best. Until I read your post here, I just assumed the disparity in numbers was due to people buying followers/likes/views/comments/etc. Now I see it might be due to the platforms gerrymandering too.

    • I tended to be careful about what the “advisors” said everyone was doing. Because if everyone does what everyone else does, no one notices what anyone else does. I agree with your YT stats. And I thought the Social Dilemma was brilliant. 🙂

  • My husband and I have had this conversation a lot lately. We miss the old fb where it was used to connect with family and friends and new friends and reconnect with friends from the past. Now I rarely see a post from friends and family. I prefer blogs but find that there are way too many advertisements and affiliated links. Blogs became just as bad as Facebook in that respect…I have a farm page in Facebook and have found that no matter how much or how little I posted the 150-160 people never interacted. So my page sits quiet. Meh…there millions of other pages out there exactly like mine with regurgitated posts.I am not interested in being like everyone else.
    I can’t weigh in on the Netflix or whatever as I don’t have any verison of TV and haven’t for the past 10+yrs.

    • The old FB was lovely, way back in the day. Some blogs can be obnoxious with their ads and affiliate links. I hope mine is not that way. But then I’m not trying to pay my mortgage with mine, just run a website and a podcast and everything that comes with it. 😉

  • I am just starting my business and my demographic is really the above 45 age group. I just hired an awesome guy to run my social media for like 200/month. My website is not up and running yet. I hope I made the right decision.

    • I suppose you will just have to see what happens and if his $200 work on social media brings you more than $200 income on your business directly from the platforms he’s running for you. 🙂

  • Thank you for this. Ive given up on facebook and instagram for my business. No one was seeing my posts and when they did it wasnt the people who I wanted to see them. I also didnt really enjoy it- it felt fake.
    I love your idea of just doing what suits you….., not what everyone says you must do but what works for you.

  • I got on WordPress a few years ago because when I post a photo to Facebook it becomes their property. I thought that if I wrote a nice article it would give people a reason to come back and get my name out locally as a photographer and possibly puck up a few contracts. But then shadow bans happened. I’ve watched my circulation plummet for months. But at the same time, that’s where the public attention is. And if someone likes your content their going to give it to Facebook anyway. It’s a catch 22 .

    • It’s almost like people need to be retrained to visit blogs. People started going to Facebook because it was easier, a one-stop shop. While you can’t control what people do with your stuff once they see it (for instance, sharing it on Facebook), you can control where you are and where you have conversations. For some people, Facebook is useful. For me, after digging into the numbers, I’m not sure the hateful messages and the ridiculous conversations and the “oh wait, you can’t say ‘this'” is worth the rest. It’s definitely a personal decision for everyone. 🙂

  • I used to be an avid blog reader until Facebook took over the majority of social media time… someone else mentioned I find the pop up ads on blogs really irritating now, advertising has infiltrated everything. Good luck in your new endeavour, cutting loose from Facebook is difficult – I used to have a page for sharing my art but found that hardly anyone interacted despite having a large number of “likes” and I became disenchanted with the whole thing too. Social media is a double edged sword – nice if you keep in contact with friends and family far away but is it worth all the rest of the baggage?

  • Hello Amy
    I use fb for family and friends. I did try to use it for my handmade items from people who said I should sell but as soon as I did that not one person reached out to me and not anyone who said I should sell. I deleted the page. I loved blogs back in the day before they were bombarded with all kinds of pop ups and videos and it’s so difficult to navigate. I did not have that problem with yours! I have a wordpress for my writing but I haven’t had much time to devote to it in a while. Good luck with everything.

  • Love your thoughts on this. FB is easy but it doesn’t come for free does it? Ugh.
    The Social Dilemma is on my list. I just don’t know if I want to see the ugly truth yet🙈.

  • Good for you!
    I’ve all for the world giving up facebook, and its nice to see someone else think the same way.
    And for the record, I wouldn’t have known you were on FB in the first place, but your website and emails, now those I read 🙂

    Have a great day!

  • I enjoy getting your newsletter to my email inbox . I’m not big on blogs but when your newsletter comes if something in it intrigues me I’ll click and go read it. God bless you for stepping out in faith, he’ll hold you up.

  • Hello Amy,

    What a great subject and blogpost again! You really hit the spot. Happened to see the docu a few days ago and I am trying to get my two teenage sons to see it. I hate FB and hardly ever post. I just have it to be in some FB groups that are interesting for me. I must say with the new FB layout I hardly ever go there anymore and only yesterday I was almost deleting it. Almost there, but afraid to, is not THAT scary. I read mostly blogs through a feeder. I love blogs, I hate blogs that have popups or the once that have a receipe but I have to scroll like a mile down to get to the actual recipe. Much more into blogs like yours with a story. Love it.
    Now I am going to be one of your (blog) followers, an actual one 🙂

    • Hey Wendy! So glad to have you as a reader. That new layout on Facebook is pretty crazy – I got it awhile ago to test it and I never did understand the way it worked. Made it easier to decide to leave. 😉 Note: blogs that have a recipe that you have to scroll 30 years to find the recipe is by design. Big food bloggers have to hit a certain word count in their posts to get optimum ad placement. (Well, any blogger gets better ad placement with a longer blog post.) That’s why they pump up the story and put so many details in before they actually get to the recipe. Just posting the recipe wouldn’t make them any dough. 😉

  • I was searching for “old fashioned blogging”, and came across your blog, and I’m so glad I did! I am just now taking the plunge and trying to get away from social media, and my biggest worry was how it would affect my blog – this post heartens me. You have good points, and when I look at the stats, you’re right, I get only a tiny fraction of traffic from FB.. I’ve been trying to keep old fashioned blogging alive on my page for a while, so glad to read others who feel the same way about bringing it back!

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