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Oh look! A shiny thing: Opening the Facebook and why we bother

The Globe uses Facebook to distribute its stories, get feedback and meet readers.

Magic Book
Stock image of a magic book.
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

A good magician never reveals her secrets, but as I’m a journalist and not a sorcerer, I’m going to pull back the curtain once again to share with our readers the inner workings of the mysterious Globe.

Like most Americans and many businesses, we have a Facebook page, and as a news organization, we use it most often as a distribution method for getting our stories to people who choose to follow our page.

It’s also a good way to get reader feedback, both positive and negative, and a great way to share posts that might be of interest to our readers, whether they come from local schools or the Nobles County Historical Society.

We post other things, too. Sometimes there are pictures or short announcements that don’t warrant a whole article but make a nice Facebook post.

Sometimes we put features on Facebook, like the series of posts highlighting the cast and crew of the Worthington High School production of Newsies. And every week, we post a feature video called “The Drill” that focuses on an area athlete, filmed and edited by our photographer and videographer Tim Middagh.

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While it might sound a little obvious, The Globe runs The Globe’s Facebook page. If you ask The Globe a question and The Globe replies, you’re speaking (virtually) to a real live human being who lives in Worthington.

Sometimes it’s me; sometimes it’s one of my coworkers, but it’s always someone local.

It’s important to note that Facebook would like to be the “Hotel California” of the social media world: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

While the inner workings of Facebook’s algorithm aren’t public, it’s widely known that the goal is to keep you actively engaged on the platform as long as possible, as you see more ads that way and that’s how Facebook makes its money.

Simply put, if you comment or react to something, Facebook will show you more of that type of thing in the future — whether it’s a positive reaction or not. If you’re seeing a lot of something you don’t like, you’ll probably see a lot less of it if you stop feeding the algorithm.

Our machine overlords

We do have a couple of really cool tools that help us with our Facebook page.

One of them is SocialFlow, which essentially grabs our stories and tosses links to them onto Facebook. The neat thing about SocialFlow is that the system also sorts the links, “deciding” what stories people would be most interested in and posting them at the times they’re most likely to be seen, spacing them out a bit so everything doesn’t show up at the same time.

Before you start worrying about whether it’s time to start welcoming our machine overlords, relax: all the local stories do get posted, and if there’s some sort of bug or the system breaks, we just go back to posting stories on Facebook ourselves.

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We do that when a big story breaks, too, so that we can get the news out as quickly as possible.

SocialFlow also posts stories to our Twitter account in much the same way. It’s pretty handy, and allows us to spend more time writing stories and less time manually linking to them.

Another tool I like to use to help with Facebook is Google Analytics, which allows me to see what social media network is bringing the most traffic to The Globe’s site.

About 21% of all sessions on our website in the past week came from social media, and about 97% of those came from Facebook, with Twitter in second place at around 2%.

And that’s why we like to spend a bit of time on Facebook. Feel free to follow us there, and say hello! Tell us what you think!

READ MORE FROM KARI LUCIN

Opinion by Kari Lucin
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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