Meta’s Messy-Ass Week

Also: Why a million followers means nothing anymore

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Welcome back to The Slide Grease, a newsletter about online culture and entrepreneurship. (Sign up for free here.)

I’m back from a few weeks off — and a long break from Medium — and am feeling refreshed. Visited the UK and Portugal, and came back with the hottest souvenir of the summer: COVID!

I laid low this past week and am mostly listening to Beyoncé’s Renaissance on repeat. 🦄

Scroll down for internet news from the week you need to know. 👋🏼

Nick

Meta’s Messy, Messy Week

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It was a rough week at 1 Hacker Way — and this time things feel different.

First, you had Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri come out with a video acknowledging that IG’s interface would be moving even more in the direction of TikTok:

More video, more full-screen video, and more strangers in your feed.
Users are really unhappy, and the general sentiment is that Instagram is (understandably) prioritizing advertisers and creators over the general public.

(Update: The backlash was so strong that IG walked back its rollout strategy, according to reporting first published on Casey Newton’s Platformer.)

Most entrepreneurs aren’t acclimating well. And they’re being romanced too easily by the higher impressions and video views data that Reels reports (more on why those numbers are irrelevant later in this newsletter).

I see y’all being clearly uncomfortable in their Reels videos, and I guess what I’d like to whisper in their ear right now is: “You don’t have to do this, ya know.”

Food for thought



As a creator, service provider, or entrepreneur, you need to tap into why users hang out on a certain platform.

❓️Why might people prefer being on Clubhouse?

❓️Why might people prefer LinkedIn, or Facebook groups?

❓️Why might people prefer reading articles on Medium, or watching YouTube videos?

This information is important, because it tells you HOW you should create content for that platform.

The reason people are on Instagram — to see mostly images of friends and contacts they already follow — is what’s getting fucked with right now.

It’s an existential crisis



And for IG, it’s a clear crisis of confidence.

(PS — in an ironic twist –

ByteDance, the parent company that owns TikTok, has a new app called Kesong that lets you share photos related to your hobbies and lifestyle.

That’s right: TikTok is going to create the next Instagram. Lolz.)

More bad news for Meta the following day



On Meta’s Q2 earnings call this past Wednesday (which was bad — profit is down 36%), Zuck noted the following:

“Right now, about 15% of content in a person’s Facebook feed and a little more than that of their Instagram feed is recommended by our AI from people, groups, or accounts that you don’t follow.

We expect these numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”

Translation? Fewer posts from your actual connections, more random shit. Again… like TikTok.

I’ve watched platforms come and go for years as Facebook and Instagram remained the juggernauts in the room. I’ve never seen the company back on its heels like this before.

Facebook and Instagram are best known for copying every other app’s features to get ahead of the competition, then offering it in addition to their existing interface.

➡️ The most famous copycat success is Instagram Stories filters, which quickly pummeled SnapChat into submission.

➡️ Then Clubhouse had everyone pooping their pants, so Facebook quickly added live audio functionality.

➡️ Substack came hot out of the gate (and I confess I’m coming around to it), but Facebook was on top of things and quickly countered with Bulletin and a bench of celebrity and influencer newsletters.

It doesn’t seem to be working this time — and the company shows no signs of backing down from its position.

Go fishing, then leave 🐟



Y’all have heard me say this a thousand times, but it bears repeating: all this drama is why you shouldn’t build your audience solely on social media platforms.

You wouldn’t set up your house at the fishing pond.

You’d travel to the pond, catch a bunch of fish, and then take your spoils back with you to your actual house that has a kitchen and air conditioning and a deep freezer. And HBO Max.

Use social media like a fishing pond — not like a land investment.

*

Have you seen a shift in your Instagram or Facebook engagement?

Are you going to persevere? Or are you already looking elsewhere to find ‘your people’?

Drop me a line and let me know, would love to hear: nick@nickwolny.com.

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