Are parrots, the god-feathers of social media?

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“HERE’S YOUR SIGN,” Bill Engvall

“My parrot is smarter than your Facebook developer,” mitchr

First of all I want to say that I’m proud that we went social media silent over the 2014 Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. It’s time to celebrate the holidays with family and friends not stare into electronic boxes with glass windows to the universe. We all put our devices down for the holidays, right?

Having the wonderful choice to believe anything you want on the Internet, or not, I’ve come to find that parrots may have existed as much is 54 million years ago. An ancient bird found on Denmark‘s Isle of Mors has already been nicknamed the “Danish blue” in honor of the fictional “Norwegian blue” breed of parrot featured in a 1970s British comedy show. You can read more about that here

For social media to happen all you need is a group of anythings who has a lot to say to a lot of other anythings. It could be fans of rock stars or groups of volunteer firemen. Anyone who knows about parrots knows they are flock animals, very vocal and highly communicative in a complex social setting. The only time birds are silent is when there is danger present.

So for 54 million years without the complex use of telephony and electronics, parrots of the world had their group discussions with many of the discussions being carried on with the same group for decades over vast distances. They even have the ability to communicate and travel great distances very fast, without wires or vehicles while never touching the ground.

All they really want to do in the wild is go somewhere for breakfast and talk about where the going to have lunch just like old people in Florida. The only thing that is different with the social media that we know like Twitter and Facebook is that social media is built by humankind which unfortunately brings out both the best and the worst of all of us. I’ve never met a bad parrot, only parrots that have been treated badly by humans.

At the face of it human social media is simple, communication via words, pictures and videos all linked on some common digital platform like Facebook or Pinterest. That’s the front side of social media, what the majority of you see. The backside of social media is where organizations such as ours “leverage our message” and “amplify our brand” There are many other things the snake oil elixir called Social Media claims to do.

The 900 pound gorilla of social media is Facebook. And forgive me for taking you around the block as I’ve been known do on occasion but I hope that the backdrop I’m going to paint is interesting.

Statistically Facebook needs to decide how many “stories” it’s going to serve your newsfeed on any given day. Between friends, groups and company pages that you like the average Facebooker has the potential of 1500 stories every day that Facebook needs to cull through using its artificial unintelligence. The kids running Facebook are proud to say they use more than 100,000 ranking factors to determine which post of the neighbor kids dance recital you get to see. How is that possible?

Out of the 1500 potential stories 7 days a week you get 20 – 30 – 40 maybe 100 stories that slip into your newsfeed and the rest of the information bounces around their 187,000 servers because it cant just sit there and get buried. Facebook has to be able to show the dinner you cooked for your fiance the day he asked you to marry him , a year ago to the college roommate you just reconnected with after 20 years – in 2 seconds -.it’s a muracle lord.

Factoid: Google has more than a million servers

Because Facebookers started getting so many stories in their newsfeed, Facebook shrewdly solved two problems facing them earlier this year, their sagging stock price and the need to reduce the quantity of potential stories flowing into your newsfeed daily.

In social media the fan or follower count is not as important as it’s the depth of engagement. Are people listening to what you’re saying and more importantly are they talking about it? In April and May of this year we were notified by the social media ranking site http://www.socialbakers.com/ we were the third most engaged fan page in the e-commerce category on Facebook (measured against hundreds of thousands of pages).

In June of this year we had 260,00 fans and a weekly “reach” of more than 3 million. But in September Facebook arbitrarily collapsed our organic reach to under 100,000 solving the second problem – reducing the number of potential stories into your newsfeed.

The word was out. As a commercial page owner we now had to “pay to play,” in other words buy Facebook ads which would “guarantee” our “reach” to all of the caged bird owners newsfeeds that we use to reach for free. Problem one was solved with the additional advertising revenue now flowing into Facebook after they shook down all the page owners for ad money. Facebook stock jumped from $50-$70 as page owners organic “reach” inversely proportionally plummeted. What digital marketer doesn’t love to pay tons of money for ads the size of postage stamps on 4 inch screens?

Full transparency: We are in fact an ecommerce retailer of pet supplies specializing in the exotic bird category. If you don’t buy our stuff we can’t stay in business. That said, as our customers have learned over more than two decades, the underlying engine that drives us is providing real world solutions to caged bird keepers. Birds are really complicated animals to maintain in captivity. Everything about bird and parrot companionship is counterintuitive.

So the insanity of paying to reach you on Facebook when I was doing it for free three months ago started to sink in. (HERE’S YOUR SIGN) It also begged the same question about all the other big social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google plus.

As a digital marketing organization (we do all marketing in-house) do we have a responsibility to drip feed every social media platform – seven days a week as recommended by every new social media expert that shows up every four minutes?

nope

We do not want to be the Facebook notification that gets someone hit by a car as they reflexively take a peek at their cell phone when crossing the street (we saw you do that once). So we will be posting mostly in the evenings when the majority of people in North America are safely at home. The Aussies will need to keep their phones in their pockets until they get home.

We plan to blog about caged bird keeping solutions and let you know about it every Sunday morning as we’ve done for seven years now. We’ll post throughout the week on the aforementioned social media platforms – when we have something exceptional to say.

When you come to someone’s home to socialize with them, you don’t expect to see posters of other places to socialize with other people – elsewhere. You came to socialize with the people you came to socialize with. This is why you’ll see absolutely not a trace of social media banners or sharing buttons on our site. We want your full attention.

Besides the more than 2500 products just for birds we have almost 2000 pages of care information covering 350 species of parrots & 372 (give or take) species of parakeets. Having your full attention helps us helps you solve your caged bird keeping problems and you can tell us how to make our website better.

Our goal is not to be popular which is what drives social media. Our goal is to be useful. If we’re useful, we will get popular.

Thank you for another great year – Have a safe and happy new year

 

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing