Facebook Really Favors Videos Posted on Facebook Over Links to Other Sites

It isn’t news, or surprising, that Facebook would rather show a link to a video that was uploaded to Facebook. What is surprising is just how much more they favor videos uploaded on Facebook over links posted from other sources.

Recently Mobberly Baptist produced a video of kids talking about the Christmas story. It was very well received in our Christmas presentations, so we posted it online. It was posted on Vimeo, Youtube and uploaded to Facebook the same morning. The Facebook video was posted to the church’s page. And several people posted the Youtube link to Facebook.

The content has been fairly popular on Facebook. As I write this, the view count is over 26,000 for the Facebook uploaded video. On Youtube, however, the view count is about 200. That is a huge disparity. it’s the exact same content, both shared through Facebook. The Youtube video was probably shared a few other places, but not many. yet the FB video upload has been see many more times over than the link to the YT clip.

Now, this isn’t scientific. But generally, it’s safe to say that if you want a video to be seen as much as possible on Facebook then upload it there.

By the way, the video is really entertaining. Give it a view down below, at FB or Youtube:

Facebook Link




The State of News in America

newsboy paperIt’s to the point where I just don’t believe any headline, and question every article.

Growing up, people used to trust the news to bring you facts; important stuff you needed to know. Generation X got older and we kept on not trusting authority. At some point 24 hour new TV stations were born, and talk radio got popular. And the country got polarized.

I stopped watching national TV news. When I listen to the radio I run everything through my own filter because I know whatever show I’m listening to has to get ratings first. Most of those are opinion shows anyway, but the TV news channels are in the same boat. How to make important stuff entertaining is the biggest concern. Even local news outlets fall into this.

There’s a big national story? Local news had better find a local link to that issue. So they ride the coattails of what national news tells America is important. Even if on a different day, in a different news cycle, the same story wouldn’t be important at all.

In college I took a couple journalism classes. One of the big things I look away was that every story has an angle. Every story has some approach to help make it interesting. Journalistic integrity was making sure that angle didn’t become too slanted. I’m not sure that’s a concern anymore. Do they still teach journalistic integrity and objectivity? If so, who do they use as examples?

Click bait on social media is a huge problem. I have been systematically deleting clickbait links from my Facebook feed. It’s pretty liberating. These posts are designed to make you click through, and then the site shows you advertising, a lot of advertising, while you read the story which is generally more hype than substance. “You won’t believe what…” Nope, I won’t. And I won’t click it. If you want to tell me something, get my attention, write a real headline! But even the real news stores from some of these news sites are suspect. You just can’t take them at face value.

Did that bakery get a gag order or not? That’s the latest one in my Facebook feed. One article says the 1st amendment rights of this couple has been violated. Another says it hasn’t. Solution? Go read the source material for yourself and figure it out. But who takes the time to do this? Most people, I suspect, simply latch onto whatever slant they already like and use that to bolster their current opinion of the politics, issues, etc… You know things are out of hand when joke posts from satirical sites are passed on like they are true. Because we can’t tell the difference anymore! Social media is littered with junk news posts. There might be some fact in them, but you have to dig for it. They’re almost all more slant than angle.

That’s not to say that there aren’t news stories that are well written, balanced pieces. There are. But they are not sensational and they don’t get the views/ratings.

The only solution I’ve found is to keep your filter on. Approach every story knowing that it will probably be full of someone else’s opinion and agenda. But you can probably sort through and find the facts. Then make your own judgement on what the news in that story really is.

Did Your Pastor Advertise for a Movie on Facebook?

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of these ads on my news feed.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.45.27 AM

Pretty inventive. Using Facebook’s targeting for advertising, the sponsor set the ad to show to people who like First Baptist Orlando, the pastor there is Dr. David Uth. Then they used the actual name of the pastor in the ad. It did get my attention, if for no other reason than to see if he was actually involved some how. He is not.

Another ad claims that many from First Orlando are going to the film. That one isn’t as cool as the one that uses the name. They did just a bit of research, personalized the ad, and made me look twice. In that regard it worked.

When I watched the trailer, I decided against going to the film itself. But I did watch the trailer. Could a similar ad work for you?


New Facebook Page Post Reach is Horrible- How Bad is It?

Recently an Ad Age article said Facebook has now admitted that the organic views of fan pages are dropping. Significantly. In fact, Facebook suggests that the best way to “maximize” delivery of your content is to pay them. Fan pages, to them, are not communities of people who like and want content from a brand. They are ways for businesses to advertise more cheaply and effectively through Facebook in a “social context” format.

For small businesses, non profits, and generally anyone who has a fan page that isn’t specifically about selling something, this is bad news. Previously you could assume that people who became a fan of your page had a decent shot at seeing the content they signed up for. Now, only a small percentage of people see the content.

The only way to bypass the Facebook imposed limitations is to post something that your fans engage with so much that their behavior through likes and shares and comments causes the post to propagate beyond the limitations. Of course, it will be seen through those networks, not by the people who have already signed up. So, while it’s great if you have a post that generates huge engagement, the people who do the engaging and see the post through those social feeds may not be your current fans.

I wanted to see just how bad it was. My largest fans page is for my show Peculiar. I currently have 697 fans. (Crossed 700 during this experiment) Before these changes, I would normally see 60-75% of fans through organic views. That is, I’d post something and 65% or so of my fans would see it in their timeline. How bad are the new algorithms?

My page is a fan page for a TV show, with 700 fans. Many of the posts are video links to the show’s Youtube page.

For the experiment I used an event I ran during the holidays. We had the #10daysofPeculiar event on Peculiar’s FB fan page, where we brought back episodes of the show, posting one per day. With other extras posted in the afternoons. Half the videos we posted are not normally available online. I was aware of the new post reach issues, and wanted to help make sure fans didn’t miss the chance to see the episodes. So I boosted a few posts. I only spent $5 per boost, but with under 700 fans, that more than covered them. I selected showing the post to people who like the show and are friends of people who like the show. Here are the results. Number of views per day across all posts:

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 11.08.36 AM

Guess which days got “boosted posts” and which days didn’t. You can see more detailed list of each post at the bottom of the post. I spent a total of $25 during the multi day event. Total organic views hit 956 over 12 days while views I paid for hit 7040, (over only 5 days of “boosted posts).

OK, I know, I did this over the holidays. I tried not to be too concerned with the views on Christmas Eve and Christmas. But the huge disparity between “boosted” posts and organic post is revealing. Even so, post engagement via likes and shares wasn’t that different. (That says more about my content than Facebook’s policies.)

The frustrating thing for many fan pages is that their fans have NO IDEA this is happening. Normally, once someone clicks like on your page, they don’t come back. They expect your content to show up in their new feed. If they see less, they just assume that your are posting less.

Then there is the issue of balance, where your are not supposed to post just ads. You need to engage your audience. Ask questions, give them value and content for free. So that when you do advertise or make an “ask” they will be engaged enough to respond. I am not the best at this. But these new algorithms mess that up badly. If you only “boost” posts that have advertisements in them, then the only posts that most fans see are the ones asking for money. Less than 25% see the other engagement posts. So you won’t see the same number of fans response when you sell something, or ask them to do something.

That stinks.

Facebook users probably don’t know, and if they did know… on the surface at least, they would likely think this was a great idea. Less ads, more content I want. They may not realize that this new system is set up to either pepper their feeds with sponsored posts, or reduce the content they want drastically. And Facebook? They are just trying to stay profitable. They have shareholders to think about now. Larger brands with big budgets won’t notice much.

In the mean time, people like me are looking for other ways to reach our fans on a consistent basis.

I am launching an email newsletter for Pup Tent Media, my production company. I will have the content for my various FB pages there (Peculiar, Flawed, and any new ventures…), send it out once a month. At least then, I know people who signed up for the content will see the email, even if they don’t open it. They at least have the chance.

To make sure you never miss the information about Pup Tent Media’s projects, sign up now!

Details of the #10DaysofPeculiar Posts:

Dec 20: Text post received 158 organic views, 6 page likes.

Dec 20: New Event, 19 organic views, 1 like, 11 people from those invited “attending”

Dec 21: New Cover Photo, 3 likes, 6 people saw it.

Dec 21: Video link, boosted post, $5 budget. 26 organic views, 760 paid. 6 likes

Dec 22: Video link, boosted post. $5 budget. 33 organic views, 1110 paid views. 3 likes

Dec 22: Video link, 37 organic views, 3 likes

Dec 23: Video link, boosted post, $5 budget, 34 organic views, 1391 paid views, 7 likes

Dec 23: Video link, 37 organic views, 3 likes.

Dec 24; Video link, 46 organic views, 3 likes

Dec 24, Text post, 95 organic videos, 4 likes

Dec 24, Video link, 53 organic views, 3 likes

Dec 25, Text post, 83 organic views, 4 likes

Dec 25, Video link, 31 organic views, 2 likes

Dec 26, Video link, 61 organic views, 4 likes

Dec 27, Video link, 41 organic views, 2 likes

Dec 27, Text post, 50 organic views

dec 28, Video Link, 81 organic views, 5 likes

Dec 28, Video link, 114 organic views, 7 likes, 1 comment

Dec 29, Video link, boosted post, $5 budget, 26 organic, 1935 paid views, 6 likes, 1 comment

Dec 29, Text post, 121 organic views, 4 likes

Dec 30, Video link, 54 organic views, 4 likes

Dec 30, Video link, 42 organic views, 4 likes

Dec 31, Video link, boosted post, $5 budget, 20 organic views, 1844 paid views, 6 likes


Peculiar Preview Project

I’ve been so busy the last few days I have not been able to post about this, but the Peculiar Preview Project released the other day:

Read more about it at the Peculiar Show Blog.
Become a fan at the Facebook page.


Barna Research and Why I’m Creating a TV Show

I saw this article in my twitter stream, and wanted to share some of it with you. It’s “Five Myths about Young Adult Church Dropouts” and references a new book by David Kinnaman called “You Lost Me.” The article reviews some Barna research that shows how some of our common conceptions about why younger people are leaving the church are wrong. I was particularly interested in part of Myth #4, which talks about biblical illiteracy.

Myth 4: This generation of young Christians is increasingly “biblically illiterate.”
Reality: The study examined beliefs across the firm’s 28-year history, looking for generational gaps in spiritual beliefs and knowledge. When comparing the faith of young practicing faith Christians (ages 18 to 29) to those of older practicing Christians (ages 30-plus), surprisingly few differences emerged between what the two groups believe. This means that within the Christian community, the theological differences between generations are not as pronounced as might be expected. Young Christians lack biblical knowledge on some matters, but not significantly more so than older Christians.

Instead, the research showed substantial differences among those outside of Christianity. That is, older non-Christians were more familiar than younger non-Christians with Bible stories and Christian theology, even if they did not personally embrace those beliefs.

The Barna president described this as “unexpected, because one often hears how theologically illiterate young Christians are these days. Instead, when it comes to questions of biblical literacy, the broader culture seems to be losing its collective understanding of Christian teachings. In other words, Christianity is no longer ‘autopilot’ for the nation’s youngest citizens.

Did you catch that? He is saying what we have seen for some years now. Christianity is not the default religion of America anymore.

I had a conversation with a new believer today. She has not been to church since she was a small child. Her daughter and grand children have never been to church, their whole lives, until they came to our Christmas presentation last week. They did not grow up knowing much of anything about the Bible, other than what media has taught them. And people this age consume a huge amount of media.

If we have any hope of reaching these generations, we must engage the culture. I do not mean engage, as in “attack.” I mean engage as in interact with it. We need to tell the story of the Gospel in ways it understands. We must use media, which younger people are consuming in massive quantity, to communicate. of course, this isn’t new. Christians have been “using media” for decades. But we are using it in ways we like, and understand. We are not using it in ways the people we should be engaging like or understand.

Even among lifelong Christians, religious programming is considered lame. There are shows I just cannot watch. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good worship service on TV as much as the next guy, but these are not produced with the non Christian in mind. When an irreligious person stumbles on such a program and has an encounter with Christ, it is truly the work of the Holy Spirit.

Mark Ramsey was speaking to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in early 2011, and he asked the crowd to look at their media offerings. I’ll never forget his question: Are we offering media in a way that is easy for us, or in a way that our audience wants to receive it.

In all too many cases it’s because it is easy. It is easy to take the service we already produce and put it on TV. It is easy to record the audio of the sermon and play it on the radio. And if our audience wants that, then we are doing great.

But if our audience is not the church crowd, repackaging church content is not the best way to reach them.

For me, the choice is simple. If we are to help younger non Christians become “biblically literate,” then we have to use media to show a biblical worldview. And we must use it in a way they like to receive it. 18-34 year olds use social media, watch video online, and like comedies.

So, my show is targeted at that age, is a comedy, and will be delivered online. I doubt it will win an Emmy, but I pray people will watch it.


Lessons from the Shoot

This past weekend we shot the Preview Project for my TV Show. It was three scenes from the pilot. The shoots, overall went great. I am overwhelmed that I work in a place that allows me to pursue my dreams, surrounds me with people who are willing to help, and provides me with the gear to accomplish those dreams. I am so thankful for this. I have never done anything like this before.

My experience has always been on the support side of ministry, and to have people supporting me in this is amazing.

I learned some things in the shoot as well.

Schedule: When scheduling a location, make sure you know the schedule of every organization that uses the location. I scheduled our church’s cafe. And double checked to make sure that there was nothing else scheduled. It was clear so we set it up. I had forgotten that the cafe is next to the main kitchen and lunch room for the school. We had traffic all day long.

Sunlight: Always make sure you know where the sun is going to be during your shoot. Especially if you are shooting near windows. I know this is basic stuff, but I really blew it. I checked the first location at about the right time, but before daylight savings time changed and when it was cloudy. The morning of the shoot, right as the actors were arriving, the sun began pouring onto the set. We had to shift the set a bit, and be careful of angles. All I had to do was talk to one of the people who work there every morning and they could have told me what to expect.

Flexibility: This is key. The cast and crew were amazing. They were not getting paid at all, but did whatever was asked. I had tried to arrange extras, and had been told there would be about 15 people at the shoot on Saturday. Four showed up. So we shifted a bit. I would have liked to have more but we worked with what we got. And they were great. The scene still worked. And we got it done.

Amazing People: I am surrounded by amazing people. Great talent. Great heart for ministry. They were willing to give up their time to help me work on a dream. I always knew that there some pretty special people around me, but wow.

Amazing Resources: I am often reminded of how blessed we are with the resources we have. Because of other’s generosity, I had two cameras, a full dolly rig, an audio rig, a lighting kit, and everything else I needed to capture the shoot.

I learned a lot more about how to run a shoot as well, and about preproduction. Even with the issues we faced, the shoots really did go pretty well. I will be editing the footage over Thanksgiving. I hope to have a finished video soon.

Can’t wait to show it to you! Get updates at www.facebook.com/peculiarshow and on twitter at @peculiarshow.


Facebook Landing Pages

Update: This doesn’t work with the new Timeline of Facebook.

I’ve been working on some social media stuff for my show. I just set up a landing page for the show’s Facebook site using some instructions I found on Mashable. the image looks like this:

Pretty simple really. I’m sure the graphic will change as things progress. Once someone has “liked” the page they bypass the welcome page and go directly to the Wall.


Christian TV: Now is the Time for Change

We have the chance to show a biblical worldview to a generation that is leaving the church in droves. We can change Christian TV and impact people we have never reached before.

The current pay TV/educational license model in Christian TV is limited in reach, and the donor base is drying up. Younger audiences are not responding to this type of TV. Quality Christian TV is still shut out of the major networks. We may see the occasional show like Seventh Heaven or Touched by an Angel, but generally there are no TV shows that routinely show characters dealing with real world issues from a biblical perspective.

What if we could change that? What if we could use emerging technology to reach millions?

Television broadcasting is in the middle of the largest shift in content delivery since cable was invented. In the next few years we will see the Internet become the primary source for video consumption. Networks are scrambling to figure out how to stay profitable.
With the shift in how people get content, there will no longer be network locks at every door.

Now is the time to use new methods of delivery for quality episodic Christian content. We can bypass the network gatekeepers, and create a new funding model for TV. (Not just Christian TV, but all TV) We can bypass the networks, and make content available to millions of people. We can create shows and distribute them directly on services like Netflix and Hulu, or through YouTube or Vimeo, or any other web video outlet.

We need more people to break outside traditional Christian TV models and create programming that appeals to those who flip past the religious channels on their TV. We need a new wave of Christian media professionals to do to TV what we have started to do to the movie industry.

I am developing a sitcom that will appeal to 18-34 years olds who use social media and can bypass traditional media roadblocks to Christian content.

My show answers one question: What does it really mean to have a biblical worldview? Research shows that 18-34 years olds prefer either reality TV or comedies. My show is based on a freshman college student from a non religious family who has just asked Jesus into his heart. We follow the main character through life as he struggles to understand what his new faith really means, and see the contrasts between how Christendom views faith and how the world views faith. The style is sort of like someone took Stuff Christians Like, Community, and Scrubs and threw them into a blender.

The funding portion of this still taking shape. We will pay for it by keeping costs low and selling sponsorships and product placement. If I can successfully take advantage of the resources available to me, the production costs will be minimal. Start up costs include money for props and advertising, which could be significant.

Target audience of 18-34 year olds who use social media. Delivery through the internet. Funny, compelling comedy that views characters from a biblical perspective. That’s the dream.

How can you be involved.

– Pray
“Like” the Peculiar Show page on Facebook.
– Follow @peculiarshow on twitter.
– Send an email to scott@peculiarshow.com

This is very early in the process. There are a million things to do, and I only know how to do some of them. But every day things are moving forward.


Forward Progress

It’s really all Seth Godin and Jon Acuff’s fault. I keep reading books and posts by Godin talking about “shipping” and I read Acuff’s Quitter book, and stopped thinking about how I was going to make it happen and started seeing the resources around me and engaging them. I came out of an intense week of prayer and fasting with a basic distribution model, but no idea. I talked with people. I had an amazing conversation with David Nixon of DNP Studios, which you may know from their involvement with Sherwood Pictures and the movie Letters To God. I talked about my distribution idea. I dreamed, I thought, I prayed, I paid attention.

Then about the ninth or twelfth idea I worked on started to stick. I kept coming back to it. I remember when it crystalized. I had just written about why Christians Don’t Believe in Comedy. And I got the chance to have a soda with Eric Bramlett, who produced the “Sunday” parody you can see in that post. He is part of the Exponential Conference we host every year. I had been waffling between some sort of comedy and/or reality TV show. The target audience was 18-34 year olds who use social media. The two most popular kinds of TV shows for this demographic are sitcoms and reality TV shows. I had even considered a stand-up-comedy/missions show. But after our conversation I was more convinced than ever that a sitcom from a biblical worldview was the way to go.

But I’m not script writer. I know a bit about single camera production, but I’m not director. But I can be creative, and I’m really good at logistics. And we have some great talent right here on the church staff. So I developed the idea a bit, and when I had a shell I went to see George Livings. We talked about the series and he gave me some advice. I went back to work. we’ve talked a few times since then, and now he has volunteered his writing partner and himself to help me make the pilot plot into a real script.

In the meantime I was talking with my boss, Jon Marks. I had been keeping him vaguely in the loop for months, but I finally just broached the subject of resources. I was concerned about exposure for the church, but we have a lot of resources that could be utilized in production with no additional cost and a lot of people who are interested in TV and movies in the congregation. Since Christians really don’t believe in comedy, and this show is geared toward non Christian people and will address issues that may make Christians uncomfortable, I didn’t know how closely tied the church would want to be. There will be some negative reaction. I won’t relate all of our conversation, but the gist was this; Art is risk. That doesn’t mean the church is going to partner with me. But we are engaged in conversation about it.

This week I finished the prep work on the plot outline, and registered the series idea with the Writers Guild of America (#1535064). I’ll write up a synopsis of what it is later. For now the next step is finishing the script. And then… I don’t know. Support needs to be raised, because even if I can create the shows for very little money advertising isn’t free. I need to build a “tribe” as Godin would say. Casting. rehearsal, production, post, delivery. The other 12 episodes in this season need to be plotted and written. I’ve started on episode two and have the general themes for the rest.

There’s a lot to be done. And this isn’t my job. This is my side project. But every step is forward motion.