Today I posted the following on Facebook:
Really, don’t you feel bad that you spent all this time to write a long post on Facebook and then it’s gone after a few hours and after some days even you will probably not be able to find it ever again?
The answer I got was more or less “yes, but the audience is here and if you want to reach a wide audience, you have to post on Facebook”.
It may seem this way, yes Facebook has 2.2 billion active users per month, but this number is misleading.
First, this is your potential audience. If you are POTUS or Mark Zuckerberg maybe. But be realistic, your posts will never reach billions of users. Not even 0.1% of them. (And I strongly believe that if your post on Facebook could reach 0.1% of the total Facebook user base, it would probably reach them even if you posted it on github as a markdown file.)
Second, and more important, your actual potential audience (the people that speak your language, have similar interests to you, are somehow connected to you as friends of friends of friends, etc.) has a very limited timeframe to discover your post. It may be a couple of hours or a couple of days, but after that your post is gone forever. (Even for you. I’ve tried more than once to find something a posted on Facebook sometime in the past with no luck.)
I what you write is ephemeral and would have no value a month later, that’s fine.
But if not, if you write something that people would be interested to read a month, two months, a year later, then I would suggest you use your own blog, because your blog has a feature that Facebook does not: Discoverability. People can discover your blog post via Google, by reading an other piece that links to it, or even because someone with a larger audience than yours posted it on Facebook 🙂 a year later.
Here are three graphs from Google Analytics showing the lifetime reach of three different blog posts on my blog.
As you can see, each one of these posts reached much more people months or years after they were originally posted than in the month on which they were posted. This could have never happened on Facebook.
To be fair, these are three of my most popular blog posts in the last years. But again, these are also among the ones I would like them to reach the widest possible audience.