Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Facebook Shares Are More Than Shares

Recently I had a blog post about the Blizzard of  '77 go viral. As of this moment, the post has been "shared" 5,900 times. That's a lot of snow talk! It could have been the timing, since I posted it during the Blizzard of 2016, which, by the way, was a mere blizzard-ette compared to what we endured in Western New York 39 years ago.

I wanted to know how my post traveled so quickly, and where it was being shared. But Facebook makes it hard, if not impossible, to track down who shared a post when you use the Share feature offsite, like embedded into your webpage. Though I still don't have those answers, I have now discovered that the Share counter is misleading.

Most of us assume that the counter increments each time someone clicks on the Share button. Seems only logical. The truth is, the Share total is equal to the number of times it was Shared plus the number of Likes on those Shares plus the number of Comments on those Shares.

Share Counter = Shares + Likes + Comments

There are a few websites that will break down these totals for you. You just enter the URL of any page with a Share counter and it will reveal the true figures. Try this one. By entering my Blizzard blog post URL, it shows me that the post has currently been Shared 851 times, Liked 3873 times, and commented on 1244 times. Adding those totals comes to 5968.

The thing about Shares and Comments and Likes is that anyone on Facebook can Share and Comment and Like an offsite link without ever even visiting that link. So if you want to track how many people actually called up your webpage in front of their inquisitive eyes, the page counter is still your best bet.

My Blogger dashboard reveals that the Blizzard of '77 post has been viewed 4863 times at this point. Egads! This far exceeds the Bald Eagles controversy post that went viral last year.

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