The year was 1888 and Almon Strowger was the local undertaker. The phone systems of the day were answered by human operators who would make the physical connection for you using a giant patch panel. In his home town of La Porte Indiana, one of the telephone operators was the wife of another undertaker and his competitor. He felt that phone calls requesting to be connected to the undertaker were going to his competitor, the operator’s husband. So in 1891, Strowger introduced the first mechanical automated telephone exchange. It was installed in 1892 in his home town with 75 subscribers and a capacity for 99. The rotary dial phone was triggering a series of connections that informed the network of relays and switched how to route the call. It was adopted in the UK in 1912, and over the years, the Strowger Step by Step exchange became the global standard for the phone system for over the next 70 years. It levelled the playing field and took away the potential bias that an operator could exert over your phone connections.

This week we’re going to do a deep dive mini-series on digital marketing. If you’re in business, even as a real estate investor, knowledge and expertise in digital marketing is an essential element to your success.

Today, in 2019, we’ve gone backwards where the owner of the communications platforms are increasingly competing with their customers. We’re back to the days when a call to the undertaker was not being handled in a fair manner.

I believe, you need to be the gate-keeper to the information that enters your brain. But increasingly in the world of social media, many have abdicated that responsibility to the gatekeepers of various social media platforms. Today, 43 percent of Facebook of Americans get their new from Facebook. That’s a scary number. Moreover, 57 percent of Americans who get their news on social media say they believe that news is largely inaccurate. Even among the people who prefer to get their news on social media, 42 percent say that news is, again, largely inaccurate.

With that great power comes great responsibility. I might becoming cynical in my middle age, but there is increasing evidence that these decisions are self serving for the platform owners and not for the benefit of the end consumers.

A case in point, Facebook clearly wants people to spend time on their platform. The more time spent on platform, the more ads they can present to you, and the more they can charge for ads. This maximizes their ad revenue.

When Facebook launched their own video platform, they prioritized video content on their own platform ahead of youtube. I’ve run a very simple experiment. I uploaded the same video content onto Facebook and onto Youtube. I created two identical posts in Facebook, one had the embedded video, the other was a link to Youtube. The native Facebook video received 10x more views than the exact same content hosted by youtube. So if you’re using social media to promote your business, this is something you should take note of. Facebook wants to keep you on their platform and they don’t want to link to content outside their platform.

The latest change in the Facebook algorithm is to actually ban any link to an Apple hosted Podcast. That’s right, I can no longer post an update with a link to an episode of the podcast. That is considered a link to banned content. The same is true on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. So far, if the show is distributed through another platform link, like say, Castbox, the link to my show displays with no problem. About 80% of US podcast traffic is going through the Apple platform, even though Apple only represents 39% of the overall phone market in the US and 22% of the phone market globally.

This is Facebook asserting control over how you access information. They are clearly targeting Apple as the enemy. But not only that, they’re targeting all the users of the Apple products as the enemy.