David Trinko: Stats say you probably won’t see this on Facebook

”I thought you would’ve seen that on Facebook.”

People shouldn’t ever assume you saw anything in particular on Facebook.

Before we get too far into this, I know many people will say, “Of course the editor of a newspaper is going to bash Facebook.” Sure, my kids eat because we have subscribers. I’m also a communications professional who wants messages to be delivered the best way possible.

I hope you’ll follow me along a little bit of a math problem to see that people who rely completely and totally on Facebook for their information needs will be sadly disappointed to learn they’re not seeing everything they should be seeing.

People think they’re seeing everything posted, but they just aren’t.

Let’s take The Lima News’ Facebook page as an example. We have an audience of nearly 32,000 followers on the social media site. So does that mean everything we post to the site gets seen by 32,000 people?

Not hardly.

The most-read story of the past month reached 22,119 people as of Thursday night. That means 31% of our followers — the people who opted in to see as much as they could see on Facebook — never saw the most-read story we posted in the past month pop through on their feeds.

That’s nearly a third of the followers never seeing it, on the most-read story of the month.

What’s that mean for an average post on our Facebook page? Those average 3,009 views apiece in the last month, or about 9% of the supposed audience on there.

I don’t share any of this to throw shade at Facebook or any other social media site. I share it as information to remind you that no matter how much you scroll through your feed, there’s plenty of information you’re never going to see there.

I hope both organizations posting important details on social media look at this and immediately go check their own Facebook stats to remind themselves they have the same issue. I’ve found numbers online saying this “organic” reach is somewhere between 1.1% and 2.2% for most posts, and I should be delighted with our higher rates.

That’s not great for an informed society, though.

Think about what a small percentage of people who’ve said they want to see your message will ever actually see it. And that’s just among the people who followed you in the first place.

It’s a reminder as we go into the month before the primary election that social media can and will only show you so much. You should still check your favorite sources, hopefully including your local newspaper on that list, so you’re up to date on everything you need to know.

We’ve become such passive recipients of information in recent years. We all have to remember that it’s our individual responsibility as voters and citizens to seek out the information we need to make informed decisions. We shouldn’t sit back and wait for it to pop up on a social media feed, especially when the numbers tell us we’re never going to see everything.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.