About a week ago (or at least that was when I first noticed the little 'promote' button on the bottom of my Facebook posts… which I was reminded of when I saw the above picture on my timeline), Facebook made a really stupid and greedy change to how a page's wall posts work. In the past, when you posted on your page, that post would show up on the timeline of anybody who 'liked' your page. Which made sense. People 'liked' a page because they were a fan of what you did, and them liking your page meant they wanted to keep up with what you were doing (although, I don't think a post ever showed up on all your fans timelines, I've definitely noticed the amount of people seeing posts dropping for awhile now... which was probably a build up to introducing promoted posts).
For some reason (the reason must be 'more money') Facebook has changed that. Now, when you post on your page, the post is only shown to a portion of your fans. If you want the post to be shown to more people who already 'like' your page, you have to pay for that. It is the equivalent of Twitter making you pay in order to have your tweets shown to people who have chosen to follow your Twitter account. You would think, after pissing off so many people with their forcing of the Timeline look on all pages, they would have been a bit more careful with their next move (personally, the Timeline thing didn't piss me off at all… but this new one definitely does).
I really don't get the logic behind this. Facebook was already a place where almost no band actually liked having to be. They have never been a great place for sharing your music, although in the past year or so, they have become tolerable (with third party apps like Bandcamp and BandPage, you could have your music on the site, albeit slightly hidden in another tab). And Facebook has always been really limited in how you could communictate with your fans (i.e. if you ever wanted to talk to someone as your band, you had to wait for them to come and talk to you). But this latest change really makes one question the point of having a Facebook page for your band. I mean, the main point used to be that you could share things with everyone who 'liked' your page, so it made sense to have a page and to hopefully get as many people as you could to 'like' it (the other point being that almost everyone who is on the internet has a Facebook account).
This new change is also annoying to the individual. When I 'like' a page, it is because I want their updates to show up on my timeline. I would much rather have the new album from a band I like show up on my timeline instead of a status update from somebody I went to highschool with (I don't care that you are going to the gym… and yes, you are still chubby). So now, I am only going to see posts from bands I 'like' if I'm included in the unknown algorithm that decides which fans see the post (not totally unknown, it's called EdgeRank), or if the band spends some of their limited album sales in order to make sure their post goes out to everyone who 'likes' them. Which is pretty bullshit.
I guess we'll see if they keep this change, which really seems like it should have been (at the very least) only implemented on pages with 1000's of 'likes'. I don't think any small band (or small business) is going to be paying $5 to communicate with people they have already created a relationship with (it's hard enough getting people to 'like' your page, and now Facebook wants us to pay in order to share things with the people we got to 'like' us?). Sure, it might be a good way to get some money out of the Coca Cola's of the world, but I really don't see myself ever paying $5 to get a few more people to see a link to this blog post.
It would be nice if this was the straw that finally broke the dam, and we would see a flood of bands heading somewhere else (kind of like the Myspace exodus of 2007-2008), but I just don't know if there really is somewhere else worhtwhile to go (at the moment). People just don't use the internet the same way we did back in the Myspace days, so I don't know if 'the next Myspace' is something that would even work, or something that will ever exist again… the internet is just a lot more spread out now and we all use it differently today then we did back then. Facebook had every chance to be the closest thing to 'the next Myspace', but they just seem to becoming less and less relevant (i.e. useful) for bands. Which is sad, because it would be sooo easy for them to be totally relevant for bands (it's not like they don't have the money and technical skills to do it).
If any bands ever needed another reason as to why they should have their own website, perhaps the constant let down of depending on sites like Facebook or Myspace to not shit the bed would be that reason. And who knows, maybe Google+ will stop being such a ghost town… I know I just visited it for the first time in months, and it's looking to be a pretty alright place for sharing Facebook-esque posts.