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How Facebook is Going From Content Sharing to Content Creation

During Social Media Week New York 2016, College Humor co-founder Ricky Van Veen said something so jarring that it disrupted the panel he was speaking on. During the course of the conversation on stage, Van Veen offhandedly remarked that “Facebook is the internet.” He’s not wrong–the platform is where people get their news, find their content, and share their opinions, all in one place. Essentially, it’s the homepage of the internet. It has everything you can share, but now Facebook wants you to use their platform to create.

Blogging on Facebook with Notes

The foremost way to create content on the internet has always been blogging, and these days the practice is taking over. Facebook has revitalized their old Notes feature as a platform to create beautiful articles on. If you’re wondering why they would be interested in something like this, it’s simple: people are spending more time blogging.

Tumblr has 275 million users as of January 2016 and WordPress has announced that 409 million people view over 20 billion pages each month. Orbit Media Studios studied blogger activity in 2015, and they discovered that time spent writing a typical blog post increased by 8% from the previous year, to more than 2.5 hours per post. People are also taking more care of their blogs, as word count jumps and those who spent less than two hours on an article dropped 6%. If Facebook’s goal is to keep people on their platform for longer, capturing this audience is a priority. As bloggers spend more time on their writing, Facebook now has the ability to catch those users.  

Facebook is now in the business of keeping their users in-platform. For years, companies have relied on Facebook’s referral traffic to drive users to their websites, however, the social media giant has shut the door. In 2015, the top 30 Facebook publishers saw a 32% drop in their referral traffic, but the blogging community has also been hit because 93% of bloggers relied on social media referrals to their site. Facebook’s algorithm ranks native videos, images, and links higher than third party sources, so if bloggers write their posts directly on the platform, their work will have a better chance of being seen by their followers.

Blogging on Facebook has the obvious advantage of writing to the built-in audience of your Facebook following. Writers can also use hashtags to place their content in the middle of relevant topics to find new readers. However, Notes does not include analytics or monetization opportunities for professional bloggers, making it more of a platform for first-timers and brands who wish to leverage their social media presence to promote their content.

Broadcasting Live Video with Facebook Live

Facebook is taking advantage of their strength as a video-sharing platform to offer Facebook Live, a way for users to record live video directly from their timeline. The new feature will help them them corral the younger social media population who have fled Facebook and frequent video-sharing apps like Periscope and Snapchat.

Since 2011, Facebook has lost more than 25% of their users age 13-17, meanwhile, Snapchat came to prominence in 2015 when 71% of their users were under the age of 25, and 32% of Periscope users are between the ages of 16-24. Younger audiences are looking for more authenticity in their social media experience, and there’s nothing more authentic than live video. Instead of simply sharing what they like, they want to feel empowered by creating their own content and telling their own story. Providing live video capabilities is a great way for Facebook to tap into that audience.

Facebook Live is also a great feature for brands to connect with their audience. Live video is raw and authentic, which can scare away companies who like to plan and manufacture content. However, live video can offer users the exclusive access they crave and offers a transparent relationship with the brands they follow. By binding the strengths of live video with brand pages, Facebook has introduced the perfect creation tool to enhance interactions across their platform.

If Facebook is the internet, creating your own content is part of that experience. Instant Articles is about to be released to the general population, allowing users and brands to create ad content all by themselves. Social media has always been characterized as a network for sharing, but but now it’s time we acknowledge it as a tool to create.