Does Facebook's "People Talking" Feature Actually Help?

Recently Facebook launched its "people are talking about this" feature, which displays a number representing the collective amount of peopletalkingconversation about a Facebook page.

According to the email I received from Facebook regarding the feature on a non-profit's page I administer, "It’s designed to highlight recent conversations happening about your Non-Profit or Fundraiser page."

The feature is also on the pages for businesses and commercial groups I administer.

The question that comes to mind is, what are people talking about exactly, and what are they saying?

We don't know. Facebook won't tell us. And in truth, I don't think Facebook knows. The email I received states that the number is arrived at through "a variety of interactions that can occur on Facebook over the past seven days."

Specifically the interactions include:

  • liking a page
  • posting on a page's wall
  • liking, commenting on, or sharing a post
  • mentioning a page in a post

The email I received then ends with the exhortation to "Give your fans something to talk about (stuff they can comment on, share, or like). Make sure to post content regularly, and watch this number soar!"

And here is where we see the motive.

The interactions measurement isn't about how I'm doing, it's about how Facebook is doing. The more activity I engage in, the more content I provide, the more people use Facebook.

In truth the number they provides is completely worthless. As a page administrator it doesn't help me in the least. I keep track of responses, likes, mentions and so forth myself, so for Facebook to display a completely arbitrary number doesn't do a thing to help me (and it is arbitrary, by the way, at least for now I have no way of knowing how they precisely arrived at that number).

If Facebook wanted to help me (and not just them), they would give me real measurements. What are some analytics for post interaction? What times and days get the most responses? What keywords trends are present in both my posts and responses? Do I get more interaction with pictures, links or videos?

That type of information would help the page administrator. It's clear Facebook is really only out to help itself.


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