The Vagaries of Facebook

Oh Facebook! You with your hidden algorithms, and arcane suggestions, how is anyone supposed to know how to get you to work properly?  I run two pages Hurley Books and I Love Mevagissey.  I mothballed the Mevagissey site last year as another similar site was doing the same thing and I decided to just focus on the business one.  I left a little holding message redirecting people to the other site and left it at that.  As you can see over the year it pretty much flat-lined.  Meanwhile Hurley Books continued to gradually grow.  I posted regularly; comments, links, shares and photos.  Some items proved popular and we would have lots of interaction.  Despite all the Facebook wizards suggesting that a particular type of post and a particular time of post was the way to get noticed nothing actually fitted that profile.  If I posted a photo on one night at 7 pm lots of people would be shown it by FB, try the exact same thing the following night and nothing.  Try it again a week later on the same day and still nothing.  Whatever the logarithms are are quite frankly anyone’s guess.  So I continued plodding on, posting whenever the mood grabbed me and building up a really nice relationship with my FB followers.

I Love Mevagissey

Then something funny happened.  Mevagissey hit the news over the Hitler’s Walk sign and suddenly my I Love Mevagissey page sprang to life, as you can see in the graph. The story first made the nationals on February the 4th  That made a bit of sense but then the story faded away but the likes didn’t, they continued to rocket.  To make things even more remarkable, during this time FB removed deadwood from its accounts.  You can see this occurring on the Hurley Books page as we lost 16 dead accounts.  Obviously not a real loss in any sense but look at I Love Mevagissey,  that page lost 7, but you can’t see it as it was still ratcheting up likes.

Hurley Books

Now the real head scratcher is that I was doing nothing on this page.  During the last month I posted just two posts.  Both asking people why they had liked the page.  The posts were hardly seen and only attracted a few comments.  Over on Hurley Books, lots of great conversations and shares were going on, that is a vibrant and busy page. I Love Mevagissey is a barren desert and yet.  Since Feb 1st Hurley Books has gone from 935 to 923, we lost 16 and gained 4. I Love Mevagissey went from 328 to 568 lost 7 and gained 240!  In two months of doing nothing.  The Hitler story can account for about the first 70 but what on earth caused the massive spike on March 5th – 11th or March 20th – 26th?

The page was receiving virtually no comments, likes and no shares, so something else was occurring. Maybe the word Mevagissey was a more popular draw than Books, certainly it’s more unique but it hasn’t suddenly become unique. Again the news story was a little fillip and to that extent I have added Mevagissey to the Hurley Books page to see if it has any bearings on the matter.  I did this three days ago and so far no meteoric explosion of likes.  🙂 The only other thing that springs to mind is that one new liker said he saw I Love Mevagissey in a suggested likes post issued to him by FB, for whatever reason I Love Mevagissey had been highlighted and promoted by FB.  As far as I know Hurley Books has never had the same exposure.  Is this because Hurley Books sits in the Retail category and I Love Mevagissey sits in the Companies & Organisations: Travel/Leisure category. Does FB think Leisure and Tourism needs more support and exposure? Did the page just get lucky?  Is there some arcane knowledge to which I am blind? Almost certainly the latter.

So I shall continue to watch the two pages and see if I can divine any received wisdom on the situation.

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