Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why I Finally Took That Dump and Relieved Myself of both Twitter and Facebook!


Why I Finally Took That Dump and Relieved Myself of both Twitter and Facebook!


Author:  ProvidenceMine



You’re a new fan fiction writer.  You’ve just finished building your website/blog on a place like Blogger.com, Wordpress, or Tripod.  You’ve uploaded some of your stories and topped them all off with a little introduction about yourself, and the type of stories that you do. 

Now, all that’s left is to build a readership.

Of course, the logical thing is to continue working on your site, posting as much as you can, and maybe try to get your website/blog listed in one of those fan fiction directories.  That could take awhile though, trying to build your audience that way.

Hey, what about social media?  You know, Facebook and Twitter?  People seem to swear by them, claiming that these tools were responsible for the success of their blog, website, business or career!  Social media is supposed to get the word out on your product in a much shorter time period, right?   Why, you could get hundreds of ‘likes’ on your Facebook fan page and hundreds of followers on Twitter, which would surely equal hundreds of readers to your site, right?  All those people who follow you could be potential readers, equaling hundreds of hits to your blog, right?

Eh, not really.

Social media wasn’t the magic bullet that everyone made it out to be.

It was more like shooting blanks.

That’s not to say that my audience never grew.  It did.  Just not through any social media tools.  That’s why I dumped both my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I didn’t need them, and I have no intention of giving any other brand of social media a try.

Dear Reader, let me take you on my own journey through social media, so that you may see exactly why I think social media is something that you can ultimately do without.

In May of last year, I opened a Twitter account on the emphatic advice of a relative who swore by her blog success through this particular tool.  I was a little hesitant, but excited nevertheless. 

Now, according to the founders of Twitter, one must tweet at least three times a day, because that’s supposed to be the best way to get a lot of followers.  So, that’s what I did.  I would sit at my computer, pad and pen handy, and brainstorm flights of wit in 140 characters or less.  I would even find things on the internet to retweet  (clicking the Twitter button under an article, picture or video on the web) back to my account, if I thought it was something that might be of interest to present and future followers.  Well, it took a little while, but it did pay off, having built a Twitter following of around 750 (I can’t remember the exact number anymore).  I even developed relationships—if you can call them that—with some of my followers.  At times, it could be fun.  I’ll admit it.  The only problem was that, for all the times I spent trying to build a Twitter following, I could have been doing a lot more writing for my blog.  In the false belief that Twitter would help build an audience for my blog, it became a preoccupation that, at times, took me away from what really mattered, and that was my writing.  In short, Twitter was time consuming.

Twitter was also lacking in results.  Eventually, I was able to obtain around 750 followers, give or take.  Now, I suppose I should have been proud of this achievement, especially since there were Twitter accounts that had been established before mine, but with a lot less followers.  I also should have been excited, as over 700 followers could potentially equal around 700 new readers.

Let me tell you all about the results of my hard work (LOL), laboriously tweeting and retweeting on my account.  Out of the approximate 750 followers I had on Twitter, I had obtained—guess how many of them became readers to my blog.

Three.

Three is a pretty measly number when you’re trying to build your readership, isn’t it.

 What can I tell you?   I followed the Twitter rules, and they didn’t deliver.  Needless to say, I was growing more suspicious about this whole ‘Twitter phenomena.’  Indeed, I was becoming really skeptical of social media in general, as Facebook was proving to be an empty promise, too.

I already had a personal Facebook account, so it was fairly easy to start a fan page for my blog, putting aside some of the technical glitches I had to endure.  According to the administration on Facebook, you had to receive 30 ‘likes’ in order to get access to your statistics, like the amount of visitors to your page.  Well, I must have been on this social media tool for over a year before I received 25 ‘likes’!  Believe it.  The difficulty I had in getting just 25 ‘likes’ was absolutely mind-boggling to me!  So, you can imagine how I disgusted I was when someone decided to ‘unlike’ my page, bringing me back down to 24.  Oh, dear.  It would probably be another five months before I reached 25 again.

Seriously, you’ve got to be kidding me.
I felt like a prisoner drawing tally sticks on my cell wall.  That’s a pretty good idea, I think, of how it’s like ( no pun intended) to be on Facebook.  Never mind the difficulty of trying to get my ‘Facebook friends’ to support my page by simply clinking on the ‘like’ button.  Out of the 56 ‘friends’ from my personal account (which, I’m proud to say, I dropped also), only 19 of them ‘liked’ my fan page.  And what cracked me up was the fact that some of the ‘friends’ who didn’t ‘like’ my fan page actually had the audacity to send me stuff that they wanted me to ‘like,’ or participate in, or sign.

Why, the nerve of some ‘friends,’ huh?

Now, maybe if I was able to bring readers to my blog through my fan page, then maybe all the trouble would have been worth it in the long run, except that the amount of visitors who actually came to my blog through Facebook, out of the 25( or 24) people who ‘liked’ my page was…

Can you make a guess?

ZERO!

Did they ‘like’ me?  Did they really ‘like’ me?

With ‘likes’ like these, who needs the ol’ kick in the ribs?

However, there was something that I found quite curious during my time on Facebook.  Many of the fan pages of independent writers would have as much as 300 ‘likes,’ but yet, when I actually looked at the activity on their page—the ‘likes’ to uploads, comments, conversations—these fan pages were like digital deserts!  Some fan pages had a little activity, but most had none.

Zip.  Nada. 

These fan pages earned a place of honor in the null set.

Remember your high school math, folks?

So, I started to wonder whether or not the amount of ‘likes’ one received on their fan page actually made any difference at all in drawing an audience to one’s site/blog.

Ain’t ‘likes’ grand!  Apparently, not these ‘likes.’

As for grand, it’s more like a grand illusion.

Meanwhile, back at the blog, my readership was indeed building.  While I never actually went viral, I did receive as many as 145 visitors, usually with a new posting, of course.  Sometimes, though, I could get that much when I didn’t have a new posting, which was always a pleasant surprise when I would logged in to check my stats.  While I didn’t always get that many readers to my blog, my readership was growing quite nicely.

So, what was going on?  What was the catch?

The catch was that they weren’t coming from social media!  They came from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and various links.

But not Facebook or Twitter.

Social media didn’t even enter into the equation.

So, what was the bottom line?

I didn’t need my Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Period.

However, I had a little problem.  I was hesitant to drop my accounts.  I was still stuck on the idea that social media was supposed to help me get a readership.  I thought that, perhaps, while it wasn’t helping me right now, that it would pay off in the long run.

But, wait a minute!  Social media was supposed to bring me an audience in much faster time than any ‘long run’ method, like networking, guest blogging, posting in fan fiction archives, or putting one’s web address in a fan fiction online directory.

Oh, boy.

Now, I was torn.

To drop, or not to drop my social media accounts?  That was the question, and an irritating one at that!

So, I started to do some research to see if anyone in that Vast Wonderland of Internet had come to the same conclusion I had.

Most of the articles that showed up in my search were, unfortunately, singing the praises of social media, and how to try to work without it would leave you behind in the dust.

Give me a break.

Then, as I was playing with more entries, this curious phrase, ‘social media is bullshit,’ popped right up.

Social media is bullshit?

I decided to check it out, not really expecting much, as leads like ‘social media is useless’ would come up with articles that were titled “Is Social Media Useless?”
Of course, the article would always end up telling the reader that it was the best thing since electric nostril hair clippers.

However, things were different this time around.  This time, I got more than some article or commentary. 

I got a whole damn book!

Social Media is Bullshit, written by a young man named B.J. Mendelson. 

The author actually had a whole website devoted to his book.  I looked it over, and I was intrigued.  This young man seemed to be saying what I had suspected about this social media thing! 

That it was bullshit.

Hype.

Without clothing.

Excited, I went over to my favorite online haunt, Amazon.com, and read all the reviews to his work.

Man, did I feel vindicated, like a wrongly confined mental patient who was rescued and then detoxified off of all those hallucinogens. 

No, Alice.  You’re not crazy. 

Did I order that book, you ask?  Quoting a former contender from up north…

You betcha!

I didn’t stop there.  I went over to my second favorite online haunt, YouTube, to see if Mr. Mendelson had any videos on his work, and he did.  I watched three of his interviews, a review of his book, and two lectures that he gave at colleges.  While I will not get into detail about the things he revealed on these videos, what I will say here is that he brought a harsh, glaring light to the social media myth! 

Then, the book came in the mail.  I sat down and read it voraciously!  While the author focused mainly on business and not-for-profits, he did touch upon individuals in the arts who were trying to spread the word about themselves( of course, this didn’t include fan fiction writers, LOL).  Mr. Mendelson’s book, which went into even more details than his interviews and lectures, blew me away!  It served as the catalyst I needed to finally grow some balls and dump Facebook and Twitter!

I took that plunge and never looked back, nor have I joined any other kind of social media tool.  When I dropped those accounts, it was like a fat chain was sawed off my ankles!  It freed me to do more of what was most important to me—writing!

So, my humble advice to any fan fiction writer considering social media?  Well, if conversing with an audience you already have is what you want to do, then knock yourself out.  However, if you want to attract more readers, or gain a readership if your site doesn’t have one yet, then here are the things you should do:

1.     Keep on writing!
2.     Post as frequently as you can without compromising your work.  In other words—no rush jobs!
3.     Try to find a site where you can guest blog, maybe even review other fan fiction works.
4.     LOVE what you do!
5.     Don’t, DON’T waste your time with social media!
6.     And, if by chance you happen to be on social media, and you have the same sneaking suspicions that I had about it, then do yourself a favor and dump the damn thing!

I’m so very glad I did!
 










10 comments:

  1. I think you're right. Twitter and Facebook do tend to be distractions. They suck time away from things that could use more focus. I don't have a FB page, either a fan page or a RL page but I do have a twitter. I use that a bit, but it's not something that ever helped me draw more people to any personal goal, be it a blog, writing, etc.

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  2. Thank you for your comment, Anonymous! Good for you for not having a FB page! I wished I had followed your example in the first place by never setting up an account with Facebook, as, like you said, it was a time-sucker! I like your attitude about your Twitter account, as you use it simply for fun, with no other expectation otherwise!

    Thanks again!

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  3. It's me Ben. I'm not on social media much because for the most part I find it boring. (though i am taking the social media bungie-jump because i am trying to crowd fund). However, 750 Twitter followers is impressive, and if you got 3 readers from it, that's better than nothing. I think the main thing is that it works for some, and not so much for others. What struck me most about your post is the fact that it was taking time away from your writing, and that's not worth the trade off. I agree, Twitter and Facebook is friggin' time consuming as hell, and if you don't enjoy it, screw it. Just find another way to build an audience, many people have before social media, right?

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  4. Exactly! It's amazing to me that people seem to think that, unless they're on social media, they won't be able to find an audience. Bloggers have found many ways to build an audience way before social media became a buzz word. It was a time waister, as I became obsessed with building my audience that way. Like you said, social media is a thumping bore as well, and I simply wasn't enjoying myself anymore.
    As for 3 is better than nothing, I was doing too much tweeting just to get 3 followers on my blog, know what I mean? If I had 10 followers, I might have kept my account, even though 10 isn't a lot either.
    As for my writing, that comes first and foremost! No social media account is worth time away from that!
    When you get the chance, go to YouTube and check out BJ Mendelson! See what he has to say about social media and tell me what you think, and whether he might have given you new insight on this social media hype!

    Thank you for commenting, and please come again! :D

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    1. I spelled waster wrong. There shouldn't be an 'i' in there. Sorry about that!

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  5. Just read your rant about social media. Will have to set aside some time later to try to find the beginning of 'Tis Charity to Show.

    For me, Facebook is a communication tool, not a marketing tool. Although on rare occasions I've posted a few things that I hoped would sell there from our publishing page (www.ipbooks.net), I never expected FB to be a source of real publicity or income. Instead, for me, it is a place for connecting with friends--whether those known physically or only virtually--and sharing little tidbits, stories, and pictures from our lives. Not a whole lot more... so I am not disappointed by it because I have no expectations of it. It is mostly a time-filler when I am not doing something else, but I have enjoyed some very meaningful connections and communications there too. Just depends on what you want/expect it to be, I guess (or as Swami Satchidananda always said: If you don't make "appointments," you don't get "disappointments.")

    That said, I wish I had the time and intention to become an online blog presence. for me, FB fills the niche enough for right now. Perhaps if I had a personal blog of my own, I would feel differently. Oh, and one other thing--For me, "Likes" on FB are just like someone smiling at you or nodding their head in recognition if they see you across the room or on the street. Comments are often more appreciated but can also turn into unwanted yet public exchanges back-and-forth with those I would rather I never got into conversation with--so it cuts both ways. This is not to dispute your points about FB lack of efficiency as a marketing tool. It's just not what I use it for, and I have often found myself on FB wishing you were there, just so I could like some tidbit you had to show, or maybe even comment on it.

    --Larry

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  6. Your attitude about FB is a good one. To use it as a social thing is really the best way to use any social media tool. I like your point on 'likes' being just a passing acknowledgment and nothing more. I certainly learned that the hard way, as it didn't bring an audience from FB to my blog.
    As for you wanting to share a tidbit on FB with me, that would have been fun to have you as a 'friend.' Oh, well. :D

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    1. It's never too late. You can always create a new FB name with limited expectations and appointments--and only tell your friends!

      --Lary

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  7. Honestly, I don't see myself using social media ever again.

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  8. True that if it's no fun, why bother? For me, I like FB but I don't tweet. To each his/her own...

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