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Editor’s note: Don’t count on Facebook for local news

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Editor’s note: Don’t count on Facebook for local news

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Decatur, GA — Decaturish since 2013 has devoted lots of time and resources into cultivating a Facebook audience.

Our efforts have yielded results. We now have 15,000 Facebook followers. That kind of audience used to mean something, but the reach of our posts in recent months has dwindled.

Here’s an example that caught our eye today:

That’s 67 people reached out of 15,000. It’s absurd. And it’s also becoming all too common with our Facebook posts. Many of our posts are only being seen by a few dozen of our 15,000 followers. My case is not unique. Facebook’s mysterious “algorithm” devalues local reporting in favor of click-bait websites that aggregate local journalists’ work.

Of course, we could pay Facebook, so more people would see our content. But that’s a polite form of extortion, and it’s not a game I’m inclined to play. If Facebook wants to be a content hosting company, they can charge me a monthly fee based on the amount of users I have like every other legitimate hosting company.

We could also start publishing click-bait nonsense articles that exist solely to provoke people and pick up comments and shares. But making people angry on Facebook is like shooting fish in a barrel and doesn’t make our community more informed, which is why I started this company to begin with.

We’re still going to share articles on Facebook, of course. That’s just common sense. But I’m writing this to let our readers know that they really, really should not be counting on Facebook for information about their community. The best place to get that is directly from your local news sources, including Decaturish.com.

Here at Decaturish, we’ve got two great options to notify you when there’s news happening in our community. The first option is our new push notifications. If you’re visiting the website and not signed up for them, you should be getting a prompt to sign up. It looks like this:

That will send a notification to your browser every time we publish something. If you’re not interested in getting a notification every time we publish a new article, or if you tend to miss notifications like these, then you can also sign up for our daily email. To sign up, click here. People who sign up get a newsletter at noon every day with all the articles published during the previous 24 hours. We also use it to send out breaking news alerts and the occasional sponsored email (hey, we’ve got to keep the lights on somehow).

We also post all of our articles on our Twitter account, which you can follow by clicking here.

I’d ask you to help us out by sharing more of our content on Facebook, but honestly, that platform can rot for all I care. We’ve tried to make it work on Facebook, but it’s clear that pushing local news content to people who have signed up to see is not on Facebook’s agenda.

So if you want local news, your best bet is to get it directly from us and other local news sources you trust. Thank you for reading, and thank you in advance for helping us become less dependent on social media to distribute our articles.

– Dan Whisenhunt, editor and publisher

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