Why I'm Shutting Down My Facebook Page

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I've shot tens of thousands of photos in recent years, and I sell or license a few each year. But it's also always been a labor of love, and I post everything online somewhere; here on this blog, on Twitter, or on Google's Picasaweb/Google +, or on www.johnhuntington.photography where I post my favorites. I limit my Facebook friends to people I actually know, but since so many people are there, last November I set up a public Facebook photography page (I wrote about it here), and started posting at least one photo there every day. It was really fun and gratifying, seeing the likes build up to almost 350, and watching the "reach" (how many people see the posts) increase along with the likes. 

But right around the time I set up that page, Facebook started throttling back the "organic" (unpaid) reach of posts on business pages. So now, unless I promote a post (pay), share it via my personal page, tag people (many of my photos don't have people), etc, then Facebook typically shows the photo to only about 10% of my likers (and Ad Week says the reach will eventually be forced down to 1-2%). 

Of course Facebook needs to make money, and even though my Facebook photography business page didn't lead to a single sale, I would gladly pay them $50 or $100 a year or something (as I do for my Smugmug photo portfolio page). But Facebook doesn't give me that option--they just ask me to pay $5 or $10 or $20/photo (post) to increase the reach, but that would be thousands of dollars a year just to deliver a free photo to people who already "like" my page. What's the point?

I'm not alone in this situation; Valleywag reports that Facebook is treating not for profits the same way as massive for-profit companies, and their reach has been similarly destroyed. And this policy can have serious consequences--I'm a weather geek, and Facebook is applying this same stupid policy to National Weather Service and similar Facebook pages, and the NWS issues serious weather information that can be life saving.  If you're a Facebook user, you may not even be aware of the changes--unless you go click the "Pages Feed" tab on the left of your personal feed you're likely missing all kinds of content from organizations that you liked.

So I have now started posting my daily photos publicly on my personal Facebook profile, and will be shutting down my business page soon. As I said, I only "friend" people I actually know, but you can "follow" my personal page to see my public postings--at least until Facebook decides you shouldn't. 

Update: When I first posted that I was shutting down my photo page, Facebook wouldn't let me sponsor that post because I made "improper" references to Facebook. But I posted the link to this blog entry on my page, and Facebook did let me sponsor that, and the results are kind of hilarious:

Update: This "I'm Shutting Down my Facebook Page" post is now the most popular ever--for $5 I got over a paid reach of over 1000, with more than 800 of those resulting from the payment.

Update May 12:  Here's what $5 buys you on Facebook.  Normally the reach would be about 20-30: