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Will Facebook’s “see first” feature revive organic reach?

By   /  June 22, 2015  /  No Comments

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the things I love about Twitter is that I can just go to a list and read Tweets in chronological order.1 Facebook only allows you to do this on people’s profiles. If you’d just like to see what people or businesses posted without posts being filtered, much less reordered, you’re going to be sad. However, Facebook is now testing a “See First” option that will allow people to ensure that a particular person or page’s updates always show up at the top of their feed.

see-first

In addition to Facebooks’s News Feed algorithm creating an echo chamber for users, it’s also fairly annoying. Although the algorithms are supposed to determine what you see in your News Feed based on your interactions with posts and how long you look at them, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is filled with snails and dirt.

This is why Facebook is considering ceding a tiny amount of control back to users with the See First option. A spokesperson told TechCrunch:

“We are always exploring new ways to improve the Facebook experience, and are currently running a small test of a feature that lets you indicate that you’d like to see posts from a specific person or Page at the top of your News Feed.”

With See First (which they’re not testing on me, so I couldn’t see how well it worked), and in combination with another option that lets you set whether someone is a close friend, family member or acquaintance, you may be able to wrest back some control of what you see in your News Feed. However, as Wired points out, this comes at a price:

“It’s worth mentioning that there’s no granularity here: If you want to see updates and photos from a friend, but not necessarily every single article they share or the results of every Facebook quiz they take, you’re out of luck.”

Organic advertising still probably dead

If you were hoping that the ability to select whom you want to see updates from would mean that there’s a spark of life left in organic advertising with Facebook, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Assuming that Facebook hasn’t artificially nerfed business pages on the back end, making sure they still somehow don’t get the same priority with the See First option, it’s still not going to be very helpful at getting business posts shown.

The reason is that a huge number of people will need to select See First for a business’ page to make it worthwhile. In theory, a major company or news agency may be able to get large numbers of people selecting to have their posts show up at the top of someone’s feed, but what are the chances that thousands or even hundreds of people will do that for a small or niche business page?

It’s hard enough getting people to Follow and Like a business, so the idea that people will prioritize an organization’s posts en mass is unlikely at best.

[1] Technically it’s set up in reverse chronological order unless you page down to the last Tweet you saw, but you get the point.

About the author

I'm an avid reader of stuff and devour information of all kind. For the past four years, I've been pursuing my passion for writing. When I'm not reading or writing, you'll find me knitting. Follow me on twitter: @MarilynMaupinTS

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