The Facebook & Instagram Privacy Changes Mean Blogs Aren’t Dead #SaturdayShareLinkUp

The Facebook & Instagram Privacy Changes Mean Blogs Aren't Dead | Not Dressed As Lamb

Wow – so much has been going on this week with Facebook in the news and its privacy changes. It’s affected so many bloggers and influencers.

I knew that certain information-sharing apps would be affected (we’re talking Instagram here, and I’m assuming that most of you know that Facebook own Instagram) so that we’d no longer be able to see who’s unfollowed us. I also knew it would also affect rewardStyle’s simple LIKEtoKNOWit* “likes” system.

The latter means that influencers can no longer push sales of products as easily they could with the old LIKEtoKNOWit system, whereby people could sign up to the app, then receive an email every time they hit “Like” on a post with LIKEtoKNOWit details. It’s now done by screenshots only, and this is due to the changes in the Facebook privacy policies.

I’ve long since started becoming indifferent to social media. If you follow me on any of the three main platforms (Insta, Facebook, Twitter) you’ll see that I’ve gone very, very quiet there. I’ve somewhat lost enthusiasm for it and I know I need to do it for the blog and to keep in touch with people who only follow me there, but I was already feeling jaded about it… this latest twist in the Tale (Trial?!) of Social Media doesn’t exactly make me eager to return to any of it on a regular basis. But return I must, and like being away from regular exercise for a long time (I know about that one, too), I know I’ll get back into it eventually.

 

My prediction about social media

Anyway the point is this: I inadvertently predicted these problems when I wrote the other week that abandoning your blog for social media is a huge mistake. I had no idea at the time that any of this shizzle was going down (was it reported back then or is this the first of it?), and I warned people that to rely on social media is dangerous because you don’t own the platform. And that the platforms could do anything at any time to effectively put a halt to all your hard work of building up a following only to see it come crashing down.

I certainly didn’t think that this would happen so soon.

What I did find out this week was a lot more far-reaching than I initially realised. An article on Business of Fashion (BoF) this week explained that

 

“third-parties can no longer access follower lists, relationships information, see which posts users have “liked” or receive notifications when media is posted. Analytics companies that provide follower demographics will no longer have access to Instagram data and people can no longer use “bots” to follow accounts or “like” Instagram posts”.

 

Again, wow – my predictions were eerily accurate. I didn’t think that it would be something that would directly affect influencers’ ability to make money out of Instagram, I thought it would be some sort of changes to policy (like Facebook starting to charge us to use the platform) that would mean people would stop using it as much, and influencers would see massive drops in follower numbers, likes and comments.

But then there’s the bit about users no longer being able to use bots to follow or like accounts, and that is surely a GREAT thing. Although we can’t in theory use platforms like Social Blade to find out who’s buying fake followers anymore (you can still access stats at the moment, but who knows for how long), it’s good to know that these changes effectively support those of us who are working to increase their following organically.

So now more than ever before is the time to make sure you have some other sort of way of keeping in touch with your followers, especially if your business relies on it. Influencers have been left “scrambling” as BoF put it, such is their reliance on Instagram to generate sales. I know that some influencers with massive followings make an absolute mint through LIKEtoKNOWit, and I wouldn’t wish a loss of earnings on anyone (assuming they’ve built that following honestly).

 

What influencers need to do to counteract the changes

Even James Nord, owner of Fohr, agrees that Instagram is not a platform we own or have control over, and that every influencer needs at least a blog or a mailing list that they own as their main way of keeping in touch with their customers (my choice of word, not his). I say “customers” because if you’re making a ton of money through selling clothes, shoes or any other products to people either directly or through a third party then you are VERY much a business, and businesses that sell goods have customers.

(On a slightly separate point, he also makes a great case for the reason why influencers should stop moaning about the algorithm: to think that Instagram will do anything in OUR interests is delusional. If the algorithm works for them then of COURSE they won’t get rid of it. We can moan all we like, but they’re not ever, ever going to get rid of it just because we, the people that can use the platform for free, prefer chronological posts.)

Hence, for now, I’m still concentrating on the blog. It’s all I’ve really had time for since we put our house on the market (and had an offer and made an offer on another house all in an extremely short space of time) – this post is very late going out because half my time is spent on the phone or filling in forms these days… oh, the paperwork!!

So I urge you to do the same. Don’t abandon your blog or mailing list, make sure you’re using social media as a way to support your main platforms – the ones that you own outright, in other words. Think just how different social media (and blogging in general) is today compared to 8-10 years ago… it’s unrecognisable. Now, in the space of one week it’s totally changed.

Blogs AREN’T dead, I say… long live blogs!

*LIKEtoKNOWit is the Instagram shopping service from rewardStyle, one of the biggest affiliate platforms used by influencers. It enables Instagram users to earn an affiliate income through their Instagram account.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PRIVACY CHANGES? DO YOU THINK IT’S A GOOD THING THAT BOTS WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO ACCESS OUR INFORMATION AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO BUY FAKE FOLLOWERS? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!

Catherine

LIKE THIS POST? YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO READ…

Why Abandoning Your Blog for Social Media is a Huge Mistake
11 Fantastic Ways to Support Bloggers You Love

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36 Comments

  1. April 29, 2018 / 1:16 pm

    Amazing share. Thanks to keep me updated. There are lots of rumors that affected users usability on the social media. But privacy changes are gave some relaxation.

  2. April 28, 2018 / 6:06 am

    I had not thought about the changes this way. Love this perspective.

  3. April 24, 2018 / 7:35 am

    Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.

  4. April 18, 2018 / 6:28 am

    Dear Catherine. Great content. I love posting on IG, since I always post a photo and a quote that matches the photo and/or content on my blog. That way, IG is another creative process for me, like writing my blog is. Blogging is my baby though and I love how you point out again and again that it is exactly that: mine and that it is up to me to nourish it according to my own standards and values. Thanks for this interesting blogpost and good luck with all the house changes! Love, Lieske

  5. miri
    April 18, 2018 / 1:35 am

    I totally agree with you Catherine and I am happy about the changes. Instagram has been such a chore lately and I totally agree that people should invest time in their blogs as that is a platform that they own.
    Wonderful article, thank you for sharing.
    XO
    Miri
    https://currentlywearing.com

  6. April 17, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    I view Instagram—and Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook—solely as a way to drive people to my blog, where I can control the content 100%. I do enjoy Instagram as a user, and I agree that moaning about it is completely useless. Hello, it’s a totally free service! I view any traffic I get from it as icing on the cake.
    Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net

  7. April 17, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    First of all gotta tell ya how much I love those details in your pic Catherine. And second of all, I feel the same about social media being someone who has always enjoyed blogging more than anything else.

    The downside of all the privacy changes is, however, that they will hurt us small entrepreneur blogger much more than the companies that caused the trouble in the first place. Meaning the work and energy we need to put in it to adjust. Not really fair but I am sure lawmakers are not really aware of that 😉

    xo Sabina

  8. April 16, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Thanks for such an interesting post. I don’t rely on social media at all. Facebook is my own private walled of space for friends (I have actually met) only. And as for IG I have just made it private for a variety of reasons but mainly because of the slightly creepy followers who post nothing but follow thousands.

    Writing is absolutely my thing consequently, long may blogs continue! And thanks again for your knowledgeable and interesting post and being such a great host.

  9. April 16, 2018 / 11:25 am

    I am new to blogging and utilising social platforms as a ‘mini-micro-site- to plug my blog… I welcome any changes that result in a more organic, honest and real landscape online. After all, that is what blogging is all about for me. Thank you for sharing. Fatima x

  10. April 16, 2018 / 12:11 am

    A blog is much more interesting than facebook, pinterest, twitter, or instagram. A blog has more content and is much more personal. It was great advice, Catherine.

  11. April 15, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    I think that big changes are coming. I think that it comes down to money, since most of these social media platforms are public and private. Just my view.

  12. April 15, 2018 / 11:40 am

    you’re absolutely true. We shouldn’t rely on something we don’t own. Who knows what will happen to Instagram tomorrow. Someone might buy it from Facebook and choose to close it down. I’ve always preferred blogs to all other social media.

  13. April 15, 2018 / 3:57 am

    I’ve always, ALWAYS focused on my blog above social media, dearest Catherine!! In fact, I’d love to do without social media altogether…for me, it’s never been more than a “necessary evil” in my blogging journey!! It’s certainly good news that “bots” can’t be used to like and follow accounts anymore; and as far as no longer being able to see who unfollows me?? I couldn’t care less, because those followers were probably only fishing for an automatic follow back!! P.S. I know full well the ton of work that moving house involves – since Robin and I did just that 2 1/2 years ago – so I wish you well as you make your way through the mountains of paperwork…and what will surely be endless bank appointments, too!! It will ALL be worth it in the end!! XOXO

  14. April 15, 2018 / 12:14 am

    Great post! I don’t like IG. I feel like it sucks the life out of you and some of the people you follow unfollow you and that becomes very annoying. I don’t really post much on their either unless I have something new on the blog. Otherwise, I dread IG , I feel like it’s such a big waste of time and I definitely would rather read blogs and leave comments that way.

  15. April 14, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    Yay!!!!!
    I knew the tide would turn.
    I’m doing a little running man dance at the fact your predictions have come true (clever cookie).
    Social is a chore… (IG is fun but I detest “stories” or “live”, groan)
    Facebook is the pits.
    Long live Blogs!!!!!
    XXX
    Samantha

  16. April 14, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    There have been quite a few people who have been writing about the blog or instagram question lately. I was surprised that some really popular bloggers were like, meh it is just easier to post on instagram. I wonder if they will be diving headfirst back into their blogs now with this change. I never really saw much traction with Liketoknow.it as I don’t have a huge following via instagram. I find my commissions come from my blog and so I keep on keeping on with that. However I have seen an uptick in followers via the liketoknow.it app lately since that is now the easiest way to get the details from insta posts. Anyways I have always been on team blog. Social media is more about promotion not a end all be all. Algorithims change, as do what people are searching for etc. Just have to be able to roll with it and not have all eggs in one basket!

  17. April 14, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    Excellent and succinct post Catherine!!! Social media platforms are all about making money at this point, I agree that no matter how we/I feel about the algorithm, it is never going away… I worked hard to gain my social media following organically, long before FB purchased IG. Now, I struggle to grow, as I am severely restricted in how many of my followers actually get to see what I post…I am going to continue to work on my blog, and hope to build my audience there.
    Joi

  18. April 14, 2018 / 1:43 pm

    I so agree, and as someone with a small number of followers on IG and FB, I actually feel vindicated about investing all my energy in my blog. People (myself included) love blogs because of the energy and effort that their creators (and you are one of my favourites) put into writing them, so we should hopefully still be attracting people like that if we continue to write well and publish quality content.

    I would recommend reading this long post by Annabel on A Life Loved https://alifeloved.com/blogging-is-not-dying/, if you haven’t already.

  19. April 14, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    I follow a Social Media/algorithm guru on Facebook by the name of John-Erik Moseler and he comes at it from the idea that you treat people as people; you are on social media to connect so have meaningful conversations, aka, comments. He shares a lot more but my brain doesn’t seem to be fully operational at the moment, thereby disabling my ability to fully explain. lol. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve stressed the importance of maintaining our blogs. I’ve heard a lot that says otherwise, as people have less time to read posts and want quick and easy access (IG stories with a swipe up to purchase, etc). Ok, I better run and go get some more coffee. Hope you get through all the paperwork quickly!

  20. April 14, 2018 / 1:13 pm

    I think all these changes on social media sound wonderful to me. I’m so tired of the follow/unfollow on Instagram. I never liked that other people could see what posts I liked. And I’m happy people can’t buy followers anymore and everyone has to grow their social media naturally.

  21. April 14, 2018 / 11:19 am

    I thought it was just me who found social media a chore and only engaged with it when I had to. In some ways, I find it a relief that I don’t have to concern myself with it as much as I thought I should and can continue concentrating on my blog which I enjoy so much more. I too discovered Polyvore had gone this week and will now have to spend time leaqrnung a new format for my collages.

  22. April 14, 2018 / 10:15 am

    I agree with all of the privacy updates. This is a brand new world even to the platforms. It’s all a learning curve to everyone.
    I shared your previous post on Twitter in agreeance {you probably didn’t notice being AWOL}

    Working in digital for soooo long now I’ve gone on and on to clients and employers to focus on what they own. In lots of cases it’s their websites and/or blogs. It’s the real estate we have control over because we pay for it to be visible.

    I applaud the business model social media platforms use …’lets give everyone as much as we can for free and hook them in’.

    Once the likes of Insta, Facebook et al don’t play ball anymore people start going crazy … errmmm hello youve had all of this for free … we need to make some money now.

    I’m sounding a bit ranty aren’t? I but I’ve said forever … a blog is the one bit of the internet that is ours to control. They’ll always be around in some format just evolving like everything else.

    I love my blog even though my work means I spend way less time there than I would like to.

    I love reading other blogs, too, like yours C { learned so much from you} … let’s champion the blogs. I went on a massive reading and commenting spree last weekend to show some blog solidarity.

    The beaut thing about social media is it really is meant to be a sociable place isn’t it? After all, I met you there!! Lots of lovely people … some I’ve already met IRL and others I hope to.

    xoxo

  23. April 14, 2018 / 9:36 am

    As I’ve never really got my head around social media and have to remind myself to put the odd post on FB and IG, then it won’t affect me fortunately. My website is my baby and I’m a great believer in being in control of your own!

    I love this Saturday Linkup Catherine, so refreshing to have such a great mix of posts – thank you x

  24. April 14, 2018 / 9:13 am

    I prefer to blog, it’s more about me than making money – sort of a diary. I find it very therapeutic too! Great information Catherine, thanks for sharing with us. x Jacqui Mummabstylish

  25. Linda
    April 14, 2018 / 9:01 am

    I read blogs because I enjoy the written word. The thoughts and ideas that go behind any blog, including pictures is what I find interesting. Like this article it makes you think.
    Blogs about fashion, beauty and interior design are also great with some written content.
    However I do love Pintrest!

    • Karen
      April 14, 2018 / 10:40 am

      With you there Linda me too !

  26. April 14, 2018 / 8:28 am

    …and another thing that happened this week is that Polyvore, a much loved platform for design aficionados of fashion and interiors, was sold to SSense (for our data) and then promptly closed down. I lost 99950 followers, many who had become my friends, just like that! I was not using the platform in a commercial sense but many where therefor what you say is incontrovertibly true Catherine. Thanks for another interesting insight, Sarah aka badassbabyboomer

  27. April 14, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Thank you. I’d love to hear your take on the data regs and how they will affect bloggers in Europe from May.

  28. April 14, 2018 / 6:23 am

    Blogging is a true writer’s format—-won’t give it up 🙂

  29. April 14, 2018 / 2:21 am

    I agree the writing is definitely on the wall now especially with all the frightening implications of Cambridge Analytica.
    Diabolical! Add to that the growing disdain for fake followers, fake likes & fake comments on Instagram that seems to be gaining traction. I’m only posting a couple of times a week because I just don’t feel like it. However I am rather enjoying the stories. It feels like an entirely different platform in so many ways. More real, forgiving & yet quite edited too.
    Perhaps it’s time for a new kid on the block Instagram?

  30. jodie filogomo
    April 14, 2018 / 12:08 am

    I think it’s like life in general…it always changes, and moaning about it is silly. Just do what you have to do and find fun and creative ways to get better!!
    Good luck with the move, I don’t envy you one bit…
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  31. April 14, 2018 / 12:03 am

    I’ve been a slow grower on all the social media accounts. I hate Instagram! Love stories though! Interesting changes are happening!
    Laurie xx

  32. April 13, 2018 / 11:54 pm

    Excellent points you are making!
    My blog is the centre of everything, I can barely bring myself to use FB but I do enjoy IG especially my tiny account as its my new baby! Otherwise I find social media a bit of a chore these days. Brands still seem to love it at the moment. Cant wait for them to move back towards our blogs though!
    Have a super weekend
    Ashley xx

    • April 14, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      I can’t stand FB either Daisy!
      Social IS a chore.
      XXX

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