The publishing world has been crying foul over Facebook's EdgeRank changes for too long. There is something fundamental that Nick Bilton and all the rest seem to misunderstand time and again.... Facebook is not a one-to-many platform. Facebook is rarely even a one-to-one platform. Facebook is an "us to us" platform.
Facebook was built for human connections. Most human connections are few-to-few in a defined and limited social circle. Whereas print was built for broadcasting, Facebook was not and I believe that we are seeing EdgeRank go so far as to optimize against broadcasting overall. Facebook tried out the model, but like so many others (ex. Answers) made the decision that the short or long term value of the generated media was not strong enough, and downgraded the media type's prominence in EdgeRank.
With this in mind, building successfull reach on Facebook is not just about accumulating fans or followers, but building armies of loyal fans who share your content with their friends by tagging them in their posts or posting it to their walls. In a different context, this was true in our analog past. And this is the future of social distribution.
When I share a post on Facebook, EdgeRank will only show the post to a dozen of my hundreds of friends. And if my friends happen to go a couple of days without logging in, fewer still will notice y post as EdgeRank will show them more timely content.
However, when I tag two or three friends in a Facebook post they will be notified that they have been tagged. You can be sure that they will click through to the content at a higher rate than a generic, non-friend-specific share. And based on my own Facebook usage, I am generally more likely to share content that I have seen others sharing - further increasing the traffic to a the content in question.
I'm not the only crazy one...
Nick Oneill nailed this point in his latest response to this ongoing discussion. Email is designed as a one to many platform, but in reality few of the many actually receive the broadcast message. In this context, EdgeRank is far less evil.
And when one factors in the number of bots, fakes and other unquantifiables in their follower counts, the value of many of the measurable metrics many pundits are using to cry foul is further called into question.
Facebook built an evolving platform that adapts to user behavior. If you're not seeing the performance results you were looking for, it may be time to stop blaming the equipment and start rethinking the way you play the game.