Mathew Inman, the Seattle-based creator of the popular comic “The Oatmeal,” took a shot at Facebook in a new strip and in the truest sense of something being meta, Facebook’s behind-the-scenes bots asked if he wanted to “boost” the post.
The comic, titled “Reaching People on the Internet,” shows a character describing how things used to be online, when someone wanted to attract people to content they were sharing on a website. The introduction of Facebook into the equation supposedly made it easier for people to reach each other, so people were encouraged to have their followers join them there.
The third panel in the strip, in the “where we’re at now” phase of things, shows the character asking Facebook to share the new stuff he made with his followers. The giant, locked Facebook building responds with a message about how a user can boost a post for thousands of dollars to reach a fraction of their followers.
Inman described in his Facebook comments what the point was behind the strip:
I get why Facebook is doing this. They’re trying to clean up people’s feeds, which become littered with ads, discount codes, clickbait, and other promotional content. The end result is that they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater — the babies being creative professionals who generate original, meaningful content, and the bathwater being the pages that are business-centric.
I used to employ a philosophy of “make compelling, meaningful content and people will like you.” See here.
Unfortunately, that philosophy doesn’t really apply when a social network is locking away your followers.
Bottom line: if you want to see everything I post, be sure to follow me on a variety of social networks by going to my website directly.
Hugs and kisses,
A short time later, the irony kicked in big time.
Inman shared again in the comments and on Twitter an actual message from Facebook circled beneath the comic, in which the company proves his point, with a message that reads: “Get more likes, comments and shares” and encourages him to “boost” his post for $2,000 so that he can reach up to 490,000 of his followers.
Inman pointed out in a reply that while that sounds like a lot of people, it’s a tiny fraction of the 4 million people who follow “The Oatmeal” on Facebook.
Just checked how many followers you have on FB. So it really offers you to pay for showing this post to 1/10 of your followers.
— Darius (@Dariu5) October 25, 2017
Exactly. 400k sounds like a lot, but that’s a tiny fraction of my actual followers.
— Matthew Inman (@Oatmeal) October 25, 2017
Especially since it’s the users and their content that built FB up, not the shitty site itself. Now we have to pay for ppl to see content.
— Rob Scare-idan ? (@rob_sheridan) October 25, 2017
OMG. A self fulfilling prophecy… You sir, should play the lottery today.
— MarcLyon (@MarcLyon) October 25, 2017