CommsCamp15 – is Facebook dead?

Facebook thumbs-up icon with meh written next to itThis session was led by David Worsell who you can find on Twitter @dworsell with some input from me asking how can we reach younger people as their social media use diversifies?

  • Is Facebook dead? No, but it’s no longer all-pervasive and, like all channels, its effectiveness depends on the type of audience you are trying to reach
  • Facebook’s advertising capabilities had been used by a range of people in the room who found it useful for targeting demographically and geographically – much more targetable than the classic ‘ad on the side of a bus’
  • according to one delegate, one in seven people use adblockers online, but adblocks don’t apply to Facebook
  • interesting facts and figures about media usage in the Ofcoms’s Adults’ media use and attitudes Report 2015 (as linked to by Neil Spencer include that across all age groups 66% of internet users use social media weekly, rising to 90% in the 16 to 24 years old age group
  • many felt that they originally signed up for a community network and that more was being pushed into their feed from corporate pages and through advertising, the community feel has gone although groups – geographical or interest-based – have increased in popularity
  • social media channels give different experiences and the diversification amongst them is fragmenting audiences
  • the profile of Facebook users seems to have shifted from early adopters to older people, as covered in this blog from the Government Digital Service (GDS) about social media trends in 2015
  • what you post on Facebook of course has an effect on who sees, likes, comments and shares on it – one council’s most popular post was a lost dog photo
  • Streetlife was cited as a local postcode-based social network which one delegate in healthcare had dipped their toe into, it may be that councils and other governmental organisations may be able to access wider areas: find out how Suffolk County Council have trialled using it

Where are all the young people?

  • the GDS social media trends blog post cited earlier, states: “Most importantly for Facebook it is the teen market who appear to be leaving the platform completely, or accessing it less. This could potentially have a snowball effect; if one teen stops using Facebook, soon their friends could follow to new platforms to maintain their communication.”
  • the feeling was that teenagers want to go where adults aren’t, and it doesn’t necessarily follow that organisations trying to reach young people will be welcome in these new spaces
  • Ofcom’s Children’s media lives report following eighteen 8 to 15 year olds was published in June 2015
    • it states: “Most of the children with Facebook accounts claimed not to be using them, and younger children showed minimal interest in joining the network.”
    • one 14 year old explains: “I don’t actually use Facebook any more because, I don’t know, no one’s really on it. I have Facebook Messenger because you can have a massive group all talking to each other but without actually going on Facebook.”
    • Facebook and Twitter were seen as “part of the adult world”, “slightly outdated” and “not targeted at younger people”
    • the report goes on to say that Instagram and Snapchat are popular with young people, the latter partly because of its perceived privacy
    • YouTube is the site most go to for both videos and searching, and vloggers are popular across the age range
  • James Cattell pointed people to a teenager’s view on social media, one view, but food for thought

Photo: Facebook Meh Button by Sam Michel via Flickr


Connecting with councils

Statue of a girl holding her hands to her earsThis was the first of three topics at #Brewcamp on 6 October, led by Nicky Getgood – @getgood plus Getgood Guide and Digbeth is Good

Nicky told us about her work with the Digbeth Residents’ Association and the frustrations involved in trying to engage with her local council. Lessons were:

  • local groups want a relationship with their council
  • groups should be included in big consultation projects, not left to find out about events and information by accident
  • Plain English information is vital if you want good feedback
  • if you advertise an event, make sure it goes ahead or the cancellation is well publicised – one roadshow event didn’t go ahead due to a photoshoot being scheduled instead. Local people didn’t know, went along and felt stood-up
  • press offices can’t afford to ignore bloggers and local interest groups – after being fobbed off a number of times, Nicky resorted to an FOI request. Bloggers have niche and often important audiences, engage with them
  • Councillors should reply to emails – in one case, of three councillors being contacted only one replied and that was to forward the email to a council officer. Who didn’t reply
  • Councils should develop ways for local groups to access funding, signposting and support for grassroots ideas and projects – frustrating for people to be constantly knocked-back
  • when community posts are deleted or left unfilled, groups who have worked with the officers in those posts need to be informed and given new contacts where possible.

In contrast, the Association’s relationship with the Police is good. Representatives tend to go to meetings and lines of communication are open. Shows it can be done.

Chat after Nicky’s talk centred on positive ways that local groups can try to engage with their Council. Requesting a meeting with the Mayor/Chairman, approaching officers and Councillors through different channels and doing everything with a positive attitude were all cited.

Creative commons: What’s on your mind? by Carol VanHook on Flickr