It’s been a long time coming, and we’re still not quite there yet, but the Sciencebase Facebook page should reach 10000 fans in the next few days at the current rate of growth. I say “reach”, but as anyone with a Facebook page knows “reach” is an ephemeral thing. You can post a fascinating science news item with a wonderful photo and facebook sends it to just 1 or 2% of your fans, the people who like, the page, engagement is then essentially zero, with maybe one or two people “liking” the item, one or two comments and a handful of clickthroughs to the original piece (thank you if you’re among that number). By contrast, post something about bacon or cats with an awful, blurred photo and it will get to almost everyone and attract endless comments, although still a small proportion of total fans.
Now, your Facebook page gives you, as admin, some so-called insights. I can tell you that the total number of Sciencebase fans online on any given day of the week, including weekends, amounts to about 80% of the total fanbase. At any given time of the day, it’s between 21 and 32% and the numbers vary throughout the day with an almost identical pattern, the lower percentage being between midnight (Pacific Time) and 7am, with a minor spike from them until 8am and then a steady increase until 4pm and then a steady fall to midnight levels. I suppose this reflects daily lifestyle patterns averaged over all Sciencebase fans across the globe (23% USA, 21% India 10% UK, 5% Egypt, 3% Pakistan, 3% Mexico, 2% Brazil, 2% Philippines 2% Iran 2% Canada…) I see pretty much exactly the same daily proportions and global distribution on an unrelated page for which I am also an admin that has a similar number of fans. It’s almost as if all the activity is programmed and not real people…or simply reflecting when Facebook’s apps connect on a schedule.
The engagement, the number of likes and shares, the comments and such are usually very low…with an occasional spike. Maybe I’m simply not posting sufficiently interesting stuff that anyone cares about – recently infrared fibre-optic lasers, revealing ancient Romano-Egyptian mummy art, revolutionary pyramidal chemistry, news about fixing Parkinson’s disease and understanding stroke treatment…all sounds a bit tame compared to bacon and cats, wouldn’t you agree?