Your Reach – How it matters?


One of the things you might notice with the internet and social media is that your reach keeps declining. If there is an algorithm involved it serves not to benefit you, but the collection of your data.

You may think this is harsh, but remember the power of Linkedin groups? 1 million people on the digital marketing group seems a lot of people power. 

There was also the ability to get someone's email in the early days of Facebook and up until recently with Linkedin. 

It wasn't such a big deal (these days they'll cite "security"reasons and waft "privacy" at you), but there are plenty of valid business reasons to keep your messaging, attention, time and engagement in their casino.

You'll be inundated with choices for inconsequentials and very few for consequential activities.

After all you spend significant time in the early days setting up your profile, adding images, learning the platform and adding your friends and contacts.  It took time you and effort to do that. 

What you might have noticed though is the tools themselves habituate you to defining your interactions. Think of it like a well worn groove. The more you use it, the more you use it in a patterned manner.  It's like a cardboard film set, only one layer deep at the interaction level. 

They're banking on your aversion to uprooting what you've built up over time.  You're habituated to your online habitat. Your mind is conditioned to the cues and signals.  So are your friends/colleagues. It's the fish version of net-work. You're the catch.

The specific question, although it seems a little obvious is why cut down your reach? Why not reward your loyalty? Why not give you more and better networking tools? If your content is good why not let it gain wider merit? After all it is "social media" designed to offer "social networking," no?

On the surface that's easy, more revenue means more profit. 

 If you use social media to advertise, you'll eventually pay for that reach. So less reach means more "paid" use.

There are other factors at play here, you (users) tend to remain within the "silo," meaning people tend not to jump the walls of the various social media channels, convenience breeds familiarity (which breeds contempt).

Often there are other factors; YouTube's monetization (a big draw), Linkedin's business elements (equally useful) and Facebook's social ties, your mother uses it, so does granny and your cousin (all to different degrees and purposes, but you'll find them there and not elsewhere).

There used to be a meme running on Linkedin about Facebook "not equal" Linkedin (getting people to take on gang colors is always profitable for someone). 

 More often people identify and build alliances based on the prevailing command and control structure of that channel. It means that people conform to the channel rather than the channel conforming to the people or modifying structures to their stated needs or wants. What you're buying into is a tightly constrained set of sequences and options. 

"Control of the menu."

The hook is the offer of "free," social media and networking tools for you to use, but you are the product, not the tools or their use by you. Your attention is important, your "work" (or content) seems to have little or no lasting value. 

Social networks rarely reward your creativity, with the exception of YouTube (but there is an element of censorship appearing on that channel too - demonetization, three strikes rule and deplatforming becoming more common practice). If you follow that platform, it might be late to the party, but it's catching up fast.

Facebook doesn't allow you to "really"personalize your page, neither do any of the other major players. You must fit your information within their matrix, like a very large excel sheet. I also have a conception that they (Facebook) manipulate your reach to suit various ends (can't prove that - although I do follow the advertising spend and results from a number of Facebook business pages).

So it's not a social network, it's really a battery farm. Each chicken in it's individual box laying eggs into a tray while a mobile conveyor belt sends those eggs to the sorting and packing shed. On the front end is another feed conveyor that delivers the informational reward. Asynchronous stimulus - reward, if you're interested in following the psych. The farmer gains little value in making the chickens bigger boxes. Conversely, he or she can fit more chickens by making the boxes smaller (think data warehouses, electricity and the storage costs of your verbal and imagistic detritus).

Back to reach. Command and control structures don't want you to use social media channels to actually converse and make connections. The objective is to provide you with messages for you to promote and to hide or obscure messages that might be problematic. One of the easiest ways of preventing the "spread" of information is by keeping individual reach low.  Call that the chicken box theory. 

There are prohibitions on Facebook and Linkedin against clicking people you don't know or searching "too many" profiles. Most of all they don't want you leaving the silo and branching out into your own content distribution with your newly found network (some will say that's common sense business).

Why is distribution important? 

Think media. These channels dangle the "media"element, but if they're stopping you from reaching anyone, where is the value to you?

 Answer: long term - none. They get bigger, you don't. You just cluck, nod and peck.

There is quite a lot of difference in your personal outreach and the platforms reach-in. Think of the commercial and political value in seeding a specific idea in the minds of 400 million people. Now that's reach.

The constant refrain is that content is king. If this is the case why does so much of what you produce have no value to the platform?

What is shoved out there is "fluff;"meaningless drivel like selfies, cat photos and pictures of your dinner (that is quite a banal list considering all that is going on in the world at any one moment). 

Again think command and control linkages, keep 'em dumb, feed em shit (mushroom theory) and cream off the benefits of massive amounts of data, influence, priming, shaping and influence tools. They get to distribute to you, not the converse. Re-think large scale farming. I call them plotfarms

You'll hear a lot of fluff about online communities and groups. It is a key element of the online experience, but more often what it offers is a targeted self selecting pool of advertising prospects. You're helping the system indentify your interests, it's a win. 

The moderation and group management tools on Linkedin were significant, yet Microsoft killed them and people flocked to Facebook groups. Seems like an odd call considering they're (Linkedin) so much like Facebook now? 

Consider not that they disregarded "groups,"but made efforts to remove the functionality to users and mods. They definitely didn't see groups or publishing as a "wanted" functionality, they were focused on the raw business data. For many people (users) it was wanted. Why the disconnect? Reach, access and distribution, what's not to like? Self directed, now that's different. 

Nobody ever says distribution is king - yet google is primarily a distribution company? Nobody says that LinkedIn is a highly targeted business database, but that's what they (LinkedIn) sell their buying customers (we'll sell you access, we'll sell you reach), so distribution = reach = access. And this is where the money is.

Now are you getting it?

Reach, access and distribution are king, content is window dressing. Extend your channels of distribution.

Nothing wrong with window dressing. Good packaging is important, but the biggest companies in the world don't bother too much with it. Amazon, Google (google play), Apple (app store), Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube - plenty better looking sites out there. No, what they sell is "reach, access and distribution." They're distributors.

Take a look at some sharing tools sometime. It's the free range option.