Facebook Pages timeline changes suck

I’m not a change resistor. I don’t usually have issues when websites monkey around with their layouts or functionality. I may not like it right away, but normally I can just get used to it and move on with my life.

I’ve tried to do that with Facebook’s new look on their business pages. But it ain’t happening.

I HATE THEM. The timeline is now cluttered with things that *I* don’t need to see as the admin of the page. Things popup on a mouse hover that requires a click to make disappear but in the meantime it covers over the post area. I can’t just see comments under a post now, I have to click to open them up to see them… I just have had it with it today. I manage a LOT of Facebook pages for my paper and several local businesses. These changes aren’t helpful AT ALL.

Here is the first thing that bothers me:

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I don’t need to see this directly under the posting area. Put it in the sidebar. These numbers are nice, but not really vital info that needs to be in my face right away.

This next thing is my most hated issue. The ridiculous ‘Promote’ button that is right in the way of my mouse pointer as I scroll and makes this REALLY STUPID popup that I NEVER USE.  And it doesn’t go away if you move the mouse away. Nope. You have to click outside the popup to remove it. It’s such a distraction when all I need to do is make a post.

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Here’s a new thing I’ve noticed just in the pas few days (at least, on my pages. Might have just been rolled out to me or something) is this grouping of recent posts. No no no no no! And the first one is event the most recent post! In order for me to see all of my recent posts, I have to click that barely noticeable ‘See All’ text, wait for the page to reload, and then go on about my business. Who the eff designed this crap??? This is unhelpful to the admin, especially on pages where there are multiple admins trying to avoid duplicate postings.

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And finally, why the hell are photo and video boxes in the middle of the timeline? These need to go back on the sidebar. For Pete’s sake, this is utterly stupid. I have to scroll past this bollocks to look at and moderate older posts. Ridiculous!

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But tell us how you really feel, Steph! 🙂

Look, I have been trying to get used to these changes for days now and it’s just not working. I don’t want to be this ^^^ whiny person. But none of these changes make sense to me. They make my job a little more annoying.  If Facebook won’t improve these areas, at least give us the ability to layout the page template that admins see the way that works best for us. I know that’s asking for the moon from Facebook, but come on FB designers. Don’t just think about the end user. Think about us middlemen pushing out the content for them too.

Funny story about sportsball

Today I saw on twitter that Hillary Clinton will be making her VP announcement via a text alert to her supporters. Later in the day, I saw this:

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Excitedly, because I had been waiting all morning for this so I could post updates on all of our social, I told my audience guy that she’d done it. As I prepared to retweet and set up Facebook posts, my audience guy goes, “Stop! Stop! Don’t post anything. It’s a joke.” Apparently, Jim Harbaugh is a football coach of some kind and the tweet was Onion-like.

I had no idea. I do not pay attention to the sportball things. Thank goodness audience guy does or I’d be in a world of mocking from our readers right now.

Should we give up YouTube?

At my small-ish newspaper, my department is trying to decide whether to keep using YouTube as a host for our videos, or if we should fully switch to NDN, which gives us revshare when our videos are using by other media throughout the NDN network.

Personally, I hate to give up YouTube simply for ease of use. I don’t know that we can monetize our videos on YouTube (we don’t have a big enough traffic draw to make it worthwhile.) My job is to think about the social implications of giving up Youtube and so far, I can’t really think of any apart from ease of use (being able to post directly from phones during breaking news etc. Easily embeddable within stories)

Would love any kind of feedback on this topic…

Tweetdeck

First Twhirl, now Tweetdeck is kaput. I’d *just* gotten used to running multiple accounts in Tweetdeck, and now I’m reading that Twitter will no longer support it, all my reporters in the newsroom use it, and now none of them can get tweets to load, I can’t post tweets and it’s just useless to me now.

I don’t want a web-based Twitter client. It’s just another tab I’d have to keep open and flip over to to check. With a desktop client, I can glance on it on my second monitor and keep an eye on the three main accounts I run every day as well as my set searches. No extra clicking or tabbing.

Does ANYONE have suggestion of a desktop client for Windows XP (I know, I know. But my company is slow to migrate to newer versions of Windows) that works like Tweetdeck (or Twhirl for that matter)?

EDIT: HUGE thanks to Mark Luckie for helping me figure out I was using an old version of tweetdeck, and that it’s actually NOT going away, and he helped me make my reporters happy, so yay! If anyone else has this problem, This is the direct link to download the latest version as of 7/26/13.

RIP Twhirl

Let me tell you why I loved Twhirl: I could run multiple accounts in separate windows and monitor their feeds at a glance. No tedious signing in and out constantly on the web, no trying to figure out how to do that in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (if anyone knows if this is possible, please leave me a comment.)

As part of my job here at the newspaper, I need to monitor our Twitter accounts, some small business accounts, and then I usually have my own account open so I can watch for social media stories I might be interested in. Twhirl let me open each account in a little messenger-like window that I could run on my second desktop screen, and I could just glance over and skim them at will.

And now, because of Twitter’s API change, Twhirl is totally dead. And I am left to flounder a little bit as I change my ENTIRE social media routine at work to find something that works for me. Thanks Twitter.

Yes, I know I can tweet from multiple accounts in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. But I can’t monitor those accounts’ feeds in it as far as I can tell. So if ANYONE out there knows of a tool that works like Twhirl (and didn’t get buggered by the API change) I am begging you to pass the word around and let me know.

Social Media “Guru”

I came across a post on Tumblr from Wil Wheaton that talked about how social media “gurus” are pretty much just money-grubbing gits who fill your head with terms like ‘Klout score’ and ‘brand’ etc when in fact, social media isn’t that hard and you don’t have to pay these doofuses money to be involved in it.

I mostly concur.

Here’s the full quote:

“Social media ain’t that goddamn hard, people. You know how, like, you’re a person who walks around and talks to people at the mall, or at work, or at the dinner table? And how it doesn’t behoove you to be a total fucking asshole there? Do the same thing online. There! Ta-da! I just saved you from hiring a social media guru who will take your money in order to infuse your social media presence with the rank snot-curdling odor of sour douchebaggery (“brand!” “platform!” “Klout score!”). Also: piss on anybody who wants to take your money to give you 10,000 new “followers” in the blink of an eye. Five hundred awesome followers are better than 10,000 non-followers carved out of the quivering meat-gelatin that is digital spam. Now, if they’re offering you 10,000 artificially-intelligent hunter-killer robots, hey, hook me up.”

This is “Bullshit Social Media Services” from 25 Things Writers Should Beware by Chuck Wendig. It is applicable to more than writers. (via wilwheaton)

and here’s my take on it:

An excellent comment that I, as a social media editor, mostly concur with. However, while I don’t deal with celebrities in social media, I do deal with local small businesses, as well as readers (I work for a newspaper) who constantly tell me they just “don’t get it” and would rather pay someone to worry about it for them. OR they simply don’t have time to manage their social media presence. In that case, I’ll happily be paid to manage your presence for you.

What I won’t do is give a toss about raising your Klout score (I despise Klout and its ilk), or treat your account like a brand, or behave like a douche. If you like, I’m happy to just train you on how it all works (it really isn’t rocket science. I don’t know why people make it harder than it is.) and let you run wild on your own if you prefer.

What I will do is infuse your account with a personality. I run multiple Twitter/Facebook accounts for my newspaper and I do it all manually. I crack jokes with our readers. I used to do Haiku Tuesdays and tweet the headlines as haikus. I handle incoming news tips. I help people who didn’t get their paper that day and want to bitch about it. I’ve been doing this for years and I’m pretty damn good at it.

If I’m tweeting for your small business, I won’t automate your tweets. I won’t ignore customer queries or complaints. I will pimp your latest project/special but I won’t be spammy or douchey about it. I will be a real person managing a new avenue for customer or fans or whatever to access you.

I’m not an expensive ‘consultant.” I’m not a “guru.” But I do know what the hell I’m doing and I can explain it to you so that you understand it, or if you don’t want to bother, I can manage it for you. That’s what I do. I do enjoy helping people understand how powerful social media can be, especially for small businesses. I dig seeing that moment when they realize it’s more than just telling people what you had for lunch. It’s like seeing that click when you finally grasp a difficult math or science problem.

If that makes me a pretentious douchenozzle in the social media world, well ok. I’ll live with that.

Twitter has a long way to go

Working with journalists on social media initiatives and devouring tech blogs that post a lot of social media analysis caused me to lose touch with reality a little. It’s easy to be in my bubble surrounded by people who easily switch between Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus while happily trying out whatever new social media wagon comes along next.

This morning on Facebook, my favorite chef, Michael Symon posted the following:

Chef Symon sends his tweets to his Facebook fanpage automatically, but still monitors comments and wall posts when he has time. Recently, he had shut down fans’ ability to post on his wall because of the ever-present troll factor that got to be too much to manage. I can see why he would prefer Twitter over Facebook for communication.

But the comments on his post above are interesting and eye-opening because his fans are not journalists, or tech mavens. They are teachers or stay-at-home parents, or students, or clerks – in other words they are a cross-section of the majority of everyday people. And boy, quite a few of them hate Twitter. Or they refuse to learn it.

Check out some of the comments:

All of these popped my little bubble, so to speak, and made me realize that as much as I love and adore Twitter, I really am not sure it will ever be what Facebook is (or what Google Plus hopes to be.) While frustrating, these people make good points about communication and ease of use. To me, Twitter is easier to understand than Facebook, but then I’ve been on it for years so of course I “get it.” Coming into it cold, however, I can now see why it seems overwhelming. There’s no immediacy of feedback like there is on Facebook. If I join Facebook it’s because I already know friends and family using it. If I join Twitter, I can pretty much follow celebrities I like but finding my friends and family there is not easy and if I tweet anything it feels like I’m tweeting in a void.

Now, I have always said that Twitter is what you put into it. That is the mantra for any social network. If you barely use it, of course it will be useless to you. You have to expend some effort – especially on Twitter and I think that’s where Twitter degrades for new users.

Twitter needs to educate “newbies” when they sign up – not inundate them with famous people they can follow. It feels like Twitter expects people to “get it” from the outset when it should be investing time and screen space in ensuring that they get it once they are fully signed up. It needs to find a way to hang onto new users and find a better way to connect them to people they already know and who will @reply back to them. Perhaps a dedicated group of Twitter employees to engage with new users or I don’t know, someone code a ‘bot or something that tweets back and forth with newbies and walks them through the language of ‘tweets’ and ‘mentions’ and ‘@replies’ and ‘retweets.’

I just don’t think Twitter is helping itself very much by just signing people up and expecting them to get it.