Want to see us in your Facebook News Feed? You should probably do this one weird thing.

Click this, please.

Click this, please.

A whole lot of folks—433!—have “liked” the Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! page on Facebook, which ought to mean that all those people see new posts from the site right in their Facebook News Feed. But we’ve found that our Facebook posts are typically seen by a lot fewer than 433 folks—and the number seems to be declining. This may be a symptom of something happening with Facebook pages in general—fewer posts are reaching the people who’ve “liked” pages, possibly because there are just more pages to “like.” The solution offered by FB is to pay for placement in people’s news feeds, but this “promotion” can reach a lot of people who really aren’t interested, and that’s not why we have a Facebook page in the first place.

If you want to ensure that posts from Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! make it into your News Feed, there is one thing you can do: Turn on the “get notifications” option on our page. This is illustrated above—it’s in a drop-down menu attached to the “Like” button itself. Selecting “get notifications” tells Facebook’s News Feed algorithm to give our posts priority in your feed.

And, if you want a less convoluted option, you can also receive Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! posts on Twitter or via RSS subscription using the links in our sidebar.

(Hat tip to the Facebook page for Small Pond Science for pointing me toward that recent article about the declining audience for FB pages. Ironic sourcing? Yes, maybe.)

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Friday Coffee Break


Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte. Or sitting down to afternoon tea.

From Noah: Plant-protecting ants construct ambush corridors to trap prey—and anyone who tries to take that prey.
You could look at this in two ways. On one hand, the ants are susceptible to theft by other insects that can exploit their effective traps.  Alternatively, the traps are doubly effective because they allow the ants to eat not only the insects that blunder into the trap, but those that try to feed from them. It’s a trap for thieves as well as passers-by.
From Sarah: In the case of octopus v. seagull, the seagull loses.
 As the group headed out along the walkway, Ginger noticed a gull acting strangely a short distance ahead of her. The bird was on the inside of the breakwater, where the water is clear and can be quite still. The gull appeared to be feeding on something underwater, but it didn’t raise its head. As they approached, they could see a red-orange shape in the water below the gull. When they got to the spot directly above the gull, they could see that it was an octopus. And Ginger’s camera was in her hand.
And from Jon: Facebook is encouraging members to post their status as organ donors—and boosting organ donor registration as a result.
They say people declaring on Facebook that they are organ donors could spur others to sign up at motor vehicle departments or online registries. But these experts say Facebook could create an informal alternative to such registries that could, even though it carries less legal weight, lead to more organ donations.