Four Horsemen, but especially with Facebook.
Sometimes from careful crafting, and sometimes out of nowhere, an item is posted to Facebook that suddenly bumps up a publisher's web traffic.
I've seen these Facebumps even on this obscure little blog, at times before I've had a chance to post a link to an article myself.
Somewhere, someone, probably a disgruntled postal worker (are there any gruntled postal workers?) finds something amusing or outrageous in a Dead Tree Edition article. She posts the link with just the right mix of snide commentary, eye-catching image, and voodoo -- and within an hour the article's audience jumps from the hundreds to the thousands.
But, lately, publishers are seeing more Facehumping than Facebumping, as the social-media giant has shifted to showing people more of their friends' posts and less of what publishers have to offer. Feeling especially betrayed are publishers that went all in on distributing their content via Facebook Instant Articles, giving up some of their own web traffic to make money off of Facebook's. Now there's no money and no traffic.
Surprise, surprise, Facebook showed that it's going to do what's best for Facebook and not necessarily what's best for its publishing "partners", journalism, or the American way.
Hey, you just got a two-fer -- two Publishing Words of the Day for the price of one. So I'm counting this article as two parts of this 31-part series on contemporary publishing trends -- and taking tomorrow off. In the magazine world, we call this a double issue, where we send you a slightly larger issue than normal but count it as two issues toward your subscription.