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We have had five fabulous days in Malaysia this week on our way home from Australia.

It has been nearly ten years – far too long – since we last visited my relatives here. Isaac was just four months old and Toby and Kara weren’t even in our plans at that point.

In addition to seeing my family, experiencing Chinese New Year was high on our agenda. But we also wanted to show the children some of the sights. Malaysia has changed enormously over the past 30-40 years and its most famous landmark is the Petronas Twin Towers. At 452 metres, it was the tallest building in the world between 1998 and 2004. It remains the highest twin tower structure today. I think it’s rather beautiful in a way that few skyscrapers are.

Anyhow, on our first evening in Malaysia we booked a table at the revolving restaurant at the nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower. At 421 metres, it’s no dwarf either and offers the best view of the Twin Towers. We had timed our booking to allow us to see night fall over KL. This gave me an opportunity to grab photos of the towers from the same spot both an hour before and half an hour after sunset.

I’m not sure which view I prefer. They’re both pretty spectacular, really. It capped off an evening to remember. Great meal, great view, great memories.

You can check out more of my photos on my Instagram feed.
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At home, we live about as far from the sea as it is possible to be in the UK. So one of the best things about where we are staying in Australia is that we are just five minutes’ walk from the beach.

When you think about locations of the world’s great beaches, which places spring to mind? California or Hawaii, maybe? Or perhaps the south of France, the Caribbean or Thailand? Even if Australia did occur to you, it’s probably Sydney’s Bondi or Manly beaches that popped into your head.

That’s part of the beauty of Western Australia, though. It is home to mile upon mile of picture postcard golden beaches that are (at least) a match for all the above. However, as it doesn’t attract tens of thousands of holidaymakers who then cram into every available square centimetre, its beaches are uncrowded and one of Australia’s best kept secrets. Local beaches for local people, as they might have said on The League of Gentlemen.

Everywhere you look along WA’s coastline there are beautiful beaches, whether it’s in more tourist-focussed centres such as Rottnest Island (the image above is a panoramic view of Longreach Bay) or random coastal spots in Perth’s urban sprawl such as Rockingham, where we’ve been staying.

It has become part of my routine here to go for an early morning stroll along the boardwalk in Rockingham. It’s a beautiful walk. In many of the cafes along the beach-front, locals enjoy breakfast with a view of the Indian Ocean. It’s a far cry from my usual walk at home through our housing estate to our Waitrose or Costa in Thatcham town centre!

The kids have quickly become accustomed to spending afternoons on the beach too. Sometimes they paddle in the clear, shallow water. At other times they will construct elaborate cities and waterway systems – the sand is fine and perfect for building.

Once they’re off the beach, a park runs the length of the busiest central stretch. There are multiple playgrounds to enjoy – nine in the space of barely a kilometre – all with shaded picnic tables and benches for parents to watch from without being roasted alive. And at the end of the day when everyone has worked up an appetite, we’ve bought fish and chips and sat on the grass eating and watching the sun go down.

Oh, and there’s more than enough parking to cope with even the busiest of weekends. Better still, it’s free all day. Can you imagine that happening in the UK?

Even on a Saturday morning in summer, a ‘busy’ day on Rockingham beach is far from crowded. It’s nothing like popular beaches in the UK such as Weymouth or West Wittering, where in the height of summer you have to mark out and defend your own space. The kids were able to play uninterrupted while we watched on from the comfort of a shaded grassy bank.

If this sounds idyllic, that’s because it pretty much is idyllic.

We’ve been in Australia for nine days now. I asked the kids yesterday what their favourite part of their holiday so far is. Each of them immediately said “the beach”.

I have to agree with them. Having easy access to such great beaches both on our doorstep and further up and down the coast has been fantastic. We’re all really going to miss them when we leave.

You can check out more of my photos on my Instagram feed.
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The post <strong>My Sunday Photo:</strong> Life’s a beach
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Cortex Challenge 2 tests your speed, mental agility, memory and observation skills in one rapid-fire card game.

I was provided with a copy of this game for review purposes.

If you’ve played the original Cortex Challenge, you’ll know what to expect from this new version of the game. Between two and six players compete across a range of eight brain-twisting challenges laid out across 90 cards. Multitasking. Spotting the odd one out. Solving mazes. Recognising pictures by touch. Each test calls on a different set of skills as players race to be the first to find the correct answers and collect all four pieces of their ‘brain jigsaw’.

I played this first as a three-player game with Isaac (aged ten) and Toby (eight). We soon discovered – to both our delight and frustration – that each of us excelled at different challenges. For instance I was hopeless at the Observation challenge. This requires players to identify the one faulty robot from a batch of 36 near-identical images. But I was unbeatable at Squares, which presents a grid where you have to determine the number of empty spaces.

In this respect the variety of challenges was a great leveller. It made for well-balanced games in which any of us could win.

Despite the eight challenges each being distinctly different, they are simple enough to pick up. So it doesn’t take long to start playing and each of the puzzles requires only a few seconds to solve. We found we could easily complete a three-player game in under 15 minutes. So it’s quick to play, compact and doesn’t require a huge amount of space, making it an excellent travel companion. (Although the individual brain jigsaw pieces are small, fiddly and easily lost.)

The game intrigued Kara, who is 5½ and already an adept player herself. However, while she coped well with some challenges, others were too complex for her to compete with the boys. The recommended age of eight-plus is probably about right. And even an eight or nine-year-old who isn’t a fan of brain-teasers may struggle to keep up.

We enjoyed playing the game although I don’t think it’s one with a particularly long shelf life. I would have liked to have had more cards, as I suspect that with regular play our eagle-eyed kids will soon memorise them all. And there isn’t quite enough of an element of chance to allow a less-skilled player to regularly compete with a sharper, faster opponent.

However, as an option to pull off the shelf occasionally Cortex Challenge 2 works well as a family game or as a warm-up ahead of a longer gaming session. If you’re looking for a fun, fast option that gives your brain a workout without requiring membership of Mensa or breaking the bank (RRP £12.99), this is a worthwhile addition to any games collection.

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For the next couple of weeks, we’re exchanging the damp and cold of the UK for warmer climes as we travel to first Australia and then Malaysia.

This is familiar territory for Heather and me. We’re in Perth and Kuala Lumpur visiting family and celebrating Chinese New Year. However, it’s a voyage of discovery for our kids.

Kara has been to Australia and Isaac to both countries before but both were less than a year old then. All three are familiar with flying to Europe but not going long-haul. Hopping on a plane to Italy is one thing; flying 10,000 miles quite another.

To say the three of them were excited about this trip is an understatement, to put it mildly.

And so there we were on Wednesday evening, checking in at Heathrow for the first leg of our journey. It’s easy as an adult to get blasé about air travel. But for the kids the prospect of boarding a big, wide-body plane rather than the usual short-hoppers was greeted with much anticipation.

As a grown-up, you can’t help but share in that enthusiasm. Yes, we had concerns about how they would cope with the tedium of a long flight. Yes, we wondered how a lack of proper sleep would affect them. And yes, we feared the worst: would they spend the entire journey at each other’s throats?

But in this moment, as they happily posed by the check-in desks, all such thoughts were forgotten. They were excited. And so we were excited too.

26 hours later, after two flights (and one unscheduled landing), we piled into our rented house at 4am. None of us had slept more than five hours in the previous 36. All of us had black rings under eyes puffed up with tiredness. But the kids were still happy and excited. They had coped admirably with everything the journey had thrown at them. And they had done it all with barely a single argument. (I know, I know, they’ll bicker incessantly for the rest of the trip now.)

Nevertheless it was one of those rare moments to celebrate as a parent. When the kids not only meet your expectations but exceed them. It’s a lesson in not underestimating their capacity to surprise us in a good way. And that an adventure or two along the way is always something to look forward to, not dread.

You can check out more of my photos on my Instagram feed.
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The post <strong>My Sunday Photo:</strong><em> Australia, here we <strong>come!</strong></em>
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More so than either of his siblings, Toby is a mass of contradictions.

Sometimes he is so quiet that he would make a statue of a Trappist monk look talkative. And yet there are times – typically when it comes to cars – when you can’t stop him talking.

He is an independent soul, the only one of our children who is comfortable in his own company. And yet there are times when he loves nothing more than a hug and to sit quietly with us.

He’s been like that this week, needing our comfort and reassurance.

Over the Christmas holidays, after six years of sharing, we moved the boys into separate bedrooms. For as long as he can remember, Toby has always slept in the same room as Isaac. But with Isaac turning ten and desperate for his own private space, we took the plunge and handed our spare bedroom/laundry room/random junk storage space to Toby.

We thought he would enjoy his independence. Generally he has. He’s been happy and smiley – the kind of grin you see above has been fairly typical – and enjoyed having his own room.

Until this week, that is.

We’ve had tears at bedtime. He has been unable to sleep and keeps coming downstairs for an extended cuddle and, I think, to just check we are still there.

As much as he values his independence, he has clearly been lonely this week.

We haven’t yet been able to work out if this is the result of not having the comforting presence of his brother near him. Perhaps it’s related to something that has happened at school. Or maybe he’s been having bad dreams and doesn’t want to go to sleep alone.

Whatever the cause, we haven’t seen enough of that toothy, slightly goofy grin in recent days. I hope it returns soon.

You can check out more of my photos on my Instagram feed.
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If there’s one thing Toby loves, it’s a good puzzle.

From an early age he showed a noticeable aptitude for jigsaws. Indeed, he has always loved anything that involves building, although he prefers to follow his own plan rather than a fixed design. As I noted in my traditional birthday post earlier this week, give him a box of Lego and he will happily construct models with no instructions other than what his fertile imagination provides. And regular readers will already know how good he is at strategy board games.

One of the presents he was given at his birthday party was a game called Laser Maze. This involves solving challenges by arranging mirrored pieces on a grid to reflect a laser to a prescribed end point. It’s a fun test of problem-solving logic and spatial thinking.

Unsurprisingly, Toby loved it. It takes a lot to distract him from any present involving cars but he spent ages happily playing this instead. He sped through challenges at lightning pace with an ease that is born of natural problem-solving ability. He may not be able to tie his own shoelaces properly but ask him to tackle a puzzle that would have many adults tied up in knots and he’s completely at ease.

There’s a line in a song in The Sound of Music that asks ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria?’ They should have asked Toby. He’d have worked out the solution in no time at all.

You can check out more of my photos on my Instagram feed.
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It is Toby’s eighth birthday today. And while the two-year gap between him and Isaac is becoming less significant with every passing year, the differences between the pair are becoming increasingly obvious over time.

Over the years, the most obvious way of showing how different the boys are has been watching what happens when you give them a Lego set. Isaac organises his work-space and then methodically follows the instructions. Toby, on the other hand, dives straight in and follow a set of directions that exists only in his head.

I have in the past referred to Isaac and Toby as the engineer and the architect. One builds amazing structures to a precise design; the other creates the design itself. If you’ve seen The Lego Movie, Isaac is Emmet, the construction worker who plays by the rules, and Toby is one of the Master Builders. (Probably Batman. He broods like Batman.)

The contrast between Isaac and Toby shows itself in other ways too. Over the past year, we’ve moved from child-friendly card and board games to more advanced ones which require more strategic thinking. Now both boys are essentially adult-level players who regularly win games on merit. Isaac’s thought processes are highly logical – but therefore to a certain extent predictable. Toby’s speciality is to not only devise a risky, left-field strategy but to then make it work effectively. He’s by far the most creative member of the family, with a flair for the unpredictable. (And the artistic temperament to go with it.)

You see that flair in his writing too. Both boys love to write. But where Isaac draws on things he has experienced or seen, Toby’s stories come from a well-spring rooted deep in his imagination. Isaac might one day be a great journalist or feature writer, entertaining readers with clever insights and turns of phrase. Toby is more likely to be the next J K Rowling, constructing intricate fantasy worlds of his own. He certainly has the means to be a more creative writer than I will ever be.

For all his capacity for imaginary adventures, Toby remains a conservative child. He is suspicious of new things. He will dig his heels in when invited to step outside of his comfort zone. And he is completely at home in his own world but often less so in the real one. He knows what he likes and he likes what he knows.

Toby is one of the most binary people I know. He veers between flashes of genius and moments of utter uselessness. He’s either bored, silent and grumpy or, when the conversation turns to one of his favourite topics, he comes to life and can talk for hours. He’ll happily think but is more reluctant to do.

Yes, he’s an introvert. Like his father.

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, of course. Albert Einstein was an introvert. So are Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and Barack Obama. Each of the above has a tendency towards thoughtful introspection. But let them find their sweet spot and the genius behind the quiet demeanour shines through.

You sit up and take notice more when someone shouts who normally whispers. That’s Toby for you. There are times when I find myself wishing he was more consistently engaged and outgoing. But then that wouldn’t be Toby, just as it isn’t me. Why would I want him to be someone he isn’t when he could instead be the best version of himself he could possibly be?

Happy birthday, Toby. I honestly have no idea which flight of fancy you will embark on next – but I can’t wait to find out what it is. I love that you are so comfortable living in your own little world of imagination – but I love it even more when you open up and share that world with us.

Love,

Dad

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If you like your board games quick and simple, then Catan is not for you. However, if you’re looking to settle in for a long session of challenging strategic play, then read on.

I was provided with a copy of this game for review purposes.

Given how much I love strategy games, it’s surprising I have managed to go so long without playing Catan. Winner of the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) in 1995, it’s an established classic of the genre. Think of Risk crossed with Civilization and you’re in the ballpark. But instead of Risk’s countries on a map of the world, here you have hexagons (‘hexes’) on an island.

Catan is either a three or four-player game. The aim is to be the first to reach ten points by building a combination of settlements, cities and other point-scoring developments. To achieve this, players must acquire five different types of natural resource in varying combinations. Resources are earned either by settling adjacent to relevant hexes or by trading with others.

Victory requires planning, negotiation, tactical flexibility and a smidgen of luck. Dice rolls at the start of each turn determine resource allocation. They also introduce an element of chance to game-play, ensuring that the ‘best’ player doesn’t always win.

Catan is not the kind of game you can just pick up and start playing immediately. It requires some patience to read and understand the rules for the first time. Having said that, the instruction booklet is clear and easy to follow.

The game is intended for ages ten and up. Having said that, Toby is nearly eight and something of a strategy game whiz, and had no problem picking it up. However, I probably wouldn’t play with anyone younger or less experienced.

It takes a while to get a game going, particularly for the first time, but it is worth the effort. Once you’ve got your head around the basics of the game it’s quite straightforward to play. It quickly had both me and the boys thoroughly absorbed.

We soon discovered that the game allows for multiple different strategies to be equally effective. There is sufficient complexity to ensure that no two games are alike. And it is long enough that there is a pleasing ebb and flow to the game. We constantly found the advantage shifted constantly between different players, influenced by trades and the random nature of the dice rolls.

A three-player game typically takes up to 1½ hours. (Allow two hours for the four-player version.) But the game never feels slow. Even when it’s not your turn, you need to be attentive to your opponents’ progress and opportunities to trade. Unlike Monopoly it never feels attritional, as if you are taking forever to finish a game the result of which has long been decided.

What did we particularly like about Catan? We liked the heavy strategy element as this is the type of game we all prefer anyway. The game is both complex and long enough to require players to adopt a flexible approach. The trading aspect of the game also calls for canny negotiating skills as players exchange resources while still trying to outmanoeuvre each other.

The only real downside to the game is the cost. Catan sells at an RRP of £44.99, although you will find it cheaper if you shop around. But that high price does translate into quality materials. The playing board and other cardboard elements are pleasingly robust and should stand up well to repeated use. And small touches such as providing individual sealable bags to separate and safely store all the playing pieces are also welcome.

A range of expansion packs is available, offering an array of gameplay variations to maintain interest. These include both two-player and 5-6 player options. The original ‘classic’ version of the game is also available as both an iOS and Android app, as well as in PC format.

We enjoyed playing Catan very much, despite its length and complexity. It’s perfect for those long, cold days when you have no intention of leaving the house. Thoroughly recommended.

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In a change from the norm, this Sunday I’m posting not a photo but an image. Actually, scratch that. This is more than an image: it’s an icon. Theatre fans will recognise it as the logo for the musical Hamilton.

Every now and then, a game-changer appears that resets the rules. The Beatles and Nirvana redefined pop music. Star Wars resurrected the sci-fi genre. Game of Thrones raised the bar for what a TV show can deliver in terms of scale and spectacle. Pelé, Ayrton Senna and Donald Bradman set new standards in their respective sports.

The world of musical theatre has produced more than its fair share of game-changers too. They have reinvented an ages-old genre for contemporary audiences: Oklahoma!, West Side Story, Rent, The Producers.

This weekend Heather and I have enjoyed a rare Saturday night in London with friends to see the latest in an illustrious line of transformational musicals: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.

What and who is Hamilton?

A story of the rise and fall of the first US Treasury Secretary may not seem a likely candidate for a hit musical. (No one has ever written a musical about Nicholas Vansittart, the UK’s first Chancellor of the Exchequer.) But in three short years – the show celebrates the third birthday of its off-Broadway debut next Saturday – Hamilton has become an international phenomenon. It has won 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy and a Pulitzer Prize. A film adaptation is planned, so pencil in an Oscar too.

Its success is widely credited as influencing the decision not to replace Hamilton’s image on the US ten-dollar bill. And its narrative provides an incredibly detailed (and mostly accurate) civics lesson which has reignited young people’s interest in the American Revolution and its Founding Fathers through the medium of hip-hop. Yes, a hip-hop musical about revolutionary soldiers and politicians in powdered wigs. As you do.

The above is not just the hyperbole of a devoted fan-boy (to which I plead guilty as charged). It is what both theatre critics and political and social commentators have said about the show. Universal praise in the entertainment industry is unheard of. Hamilton comes mighty close.

In short, this is more than a hit. It has become an American cultural icon.

Hamilton and us

Hamilton has become iconic in our household too. It is one of those rare, magical things: a passion that all five of us can share and bond over.

Our children all love music and singing, even though none of them are ever going to win The Voice. Their favourite in-car CDs include the soundtracks to Frozen, Moana, Sing and Trolls. But we listen to Hamilton more than all of those combined.

That kind of family unity is as priceless as it is rare.

It has taken the kids in delightfully unexpected directions too. There aren’t many five-year old girls who strut around singing lyrics as complex as “You want a revolution / I want a revelation” with the confidence that Kara does. Or many boys as straight-laced as Isaac and Toby – favourite musician: Taylor Swift – who can speed-rap word-perfect through one of the show’s many hip-hop numbers.

We sing together. We watch YouTube clips together (such as the one below, featuring the cast of the London production performing a mash-up of Britpop classics and songs from the show). And we talk about the story behind the songs together.

Digital #Ham4Ham 12/21/17 -- The Opening of #HamiltonLDN - YouTube

Some kids obsess over comic-book superheroes or footballers. Ours obsess over the life and times of an immigrant orphan who came to America, penniless, and became a decorated war hero, the founder of the US national bank, coastguard and the New York Post newspaper. Oh, and did I mention he was embroiled in a sex scandal and eventually died in a pistols-at-dawn duel with US Vice-President Aaron Burr?

I’ve never been as excited about seeing a film or a show as I have been about seeing Hamilton. We booked our tickets almost exactly a year ago. It has been well worth the wait. And the fact that the kids have joined us on this journey is a huge bonus.

Iconic? You bet.

You can check out more of my photos on my Instagram feed.
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Mark Zuckerberg posted an update last night which has major implications for anyone who runs a Facebook page. In particular, anyone who relies on organic posts rather than paid adverts is likely to see their audience fall significantly because Facebook will actively deprioritise them in favour of personal updates over the next few months.

Unsurprisingly, many page owners such as small businesses and bloggers are up in arms. So why is Facebook doing this? Here are my thoughts from the perspective of both a blogger and a social media manager.

Putting friends and family first

Zuckerberg talks about generating “meaningful social interactions” and “putting friends and family at the core of the experience”. This recognises that Facebook has drifted away from its origins as a friend-based social network. It’s also an admission that, for many users, much of the content we see in our News Feed isn’t relevant.

Ask yourself this. When you open up Facebook, how many posts do you scroll straight past? The vast majority, I’d bet. If you’re on a mobile, the average time a piece of content is visible on-screen is 1.7 seconds. We are wading through oceans of white noise to find the occasional good stuff.

As user experiences go, that’s pretty awful for a network that wants to encourage meaningful interactions. This is a step that Facebook hopes will go some way to fix that.

Too much content, not relevant enough

So the problem is twofold. Firstly, a lot of the content we see – despite Facebook’s algorithm – is of low relevance and quality. And secondly, there is just too much content. Facebook estimates the average user could be served 1,500 posts every day – more than any sane person could ever manage.

Herein lies the problem. Broadly speaking, there are three types of content that can appear in our feeds:

  • Personal status updates from our friends.
  • Paid adverts from Facebook pages.
  • Organic (unpaid) posts from Facebook pages.

Research indicates that users want to see more personal status updates. Zuckerberg openly said the new changes will drive this. So far, so good.

We may not like them but paid adverts are crucial to Facebook. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, their ad revenue passed $10 billion. Magazines carry adverts to help keep their prices down. Similarly, ads are a necessary evil to pay the bills that allow Facebook to operate without charging users.

It is the third category – organic posts – that Facebook is targeting to deprioritise. This will be great for some users, less so for others.

If you use Facebook primarily to keep up to date with friends and family, then removing lots of meaningless content will help. However, if you interact with a lot of brand pages, their content is relevant but you will be less likely to see it.

Don’t get me wrong. There is some amazing organic content out there. But it is not always well targeted. Just because I’ve liked a page doesn’t mean I want to see everything they produce. And, because it is ‘free’ to publish, it’s easy for a publisher to post too much content.

This is particularly the case because page owners know organic reach is already declining. The solution? Compensate by posting even more content. This creates a vicious cycle of content saturation. Lower reach drives more content which in turn reduces reach again because there is now even more content competing for our limited attention.

The stats bear this out. Where organic reach averaged 16% in 2012, now it is closer to 1-3%. Organic reach is already dying, even before these new changes.

What will happen now?

The key question now is not so much what will happen as how Facebook will implement it.

There are two obvious options. The first is to adjust the way Facebook’s algorithm prioritises posts from pages (i.e. businesses/bloggers) versus those from personal profiles (i.e. friends and family).

This is not new. Facebook already alter their algorithm multiple times per week. Essentially, this would make organic posts from pages less visible in people’s News Feeds, to the benefit of personal updates. People will still see organic content – just not as many.

The second option – which Facebook has been quietly trialling – is to move all organic page posts to the ‘Explore’ feed, which is separate to the main News Feed. Will many users bother to check a second feed? Probably not, in which case the Explore feed will become the place organic posts go to die. (Or get seen by three people, anyway.)

Which route will Facebook pursue? Either way we can expect to see organic reach take a major hit. As someone who does interact with pages (such as fellow bloggers) a lot, I would prefer the algorithmic route. But we will have to see.

Note that paid adverts should be unaffected in either case. As mentioned above, ads are Facebook’s life-blood, so don’t expect them to reduce the number of ads in your feed any time soon. (For which read ‘never’.)

What does this mean for bloggers?

The implication for bloggers is straightforward. If you run a Facebook page, at some point over the next few months – it may come in one big go or in stages – expect a big fall in organic reach.

That leaves bloggers with three options: do nothing and accept the hit, start advertising or find another way of promoting yourself.

Should you advertise? It depends. Yes, it’s an additional cost. But paid ads are a good way of reaching a specific niche. If you have a post about Disneyland Paris, you can target only people interested in Disney who have kids aged 3-8. This enables you to reach people who are most likely to be receptive to your content, and also put you in front of new audiences who might otherwise never read your post. They don’t have to cost the world – you can run ads for as little as £1 per day. Don’t expect miracles but good, well-targeted advertising can provide a significant boost.

If you don’t want to advertise, what are your options? Here are a few:

  • Build your presence on a different social network. But bear in mind that Facebook has two billion active users. Instagram has 800 million; Twitter less than half that number.
  • Post from your personal profile instead. But you may alienate friends who don’t want to read your blog and people will only be able to see content if you accept them as a friend. And you have no advertising options and virtually no analytics, so you cannot tell how many people are seeing your content.
  • Build a Facebook group. You can share content and encourage interaction. There is also some analytics capability – for instance, you can see how many people have viewed each post. But group content is often only visible to members. You have no advertising options. And many groups become places where people constantly drop links to their content too.
  • Really, really focus on making your content as engaging as it can possibly be. Stand out from the crowd. Yeah, I know – easier said than done.
What else?

We can also probably expect the way brands and PRs interact with influencers to change. A large following will be less of a guarantee of reach and engagement. So as brands wake up to the new reality, they will care more about your reach and engagement. After all, a marketer wants to demonstrate a return on their investment. How many people saw your post – and how many liked it? How many clicked through to our e-shop? These are the metrics that any competent marketer really cares about.

If you haven’t yet done so, familiarise yourself with Facebook’s branded content tool. It gives brands the ability to promote your post directly from their ad account. This will be an increasingly attractive way to ensure that blog or social media posts achieve a good reach and justify a marketer’s investment. It should form part of any clever marketer’s armoury.

The world is a-changing. For years, Facebook has given us a free marketing platform, enabling us to reach thousands of people with our content without having to pay for it. But those days are coming to an end. We would not expect a magazine to give us a full-page ad for free and Facebook is heading the same way.

New media is converging with ‘old’ media. And, as bloggers, we can either adapt or suffer the consequences. It is no longer an option to continue on as if everything will stay the same – because the one thing I can guarantee is that nothing will ever be the same again.

So what will you do?

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The post Did Mark Zuckerberg just sound the death knell for Facebook pages?
appeared first on Slouching towards Thatcham.

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