Monday, November 26, 2012

Social Media Overload

Apparently my brain can only manage an hour or two of social media networking a day before I get antsy and have to go do something else. Or maybe it's just I can only do one of them: blog, facebook, pinterest, messageboard, because I have noticed that when I start spending time on one of them, then my participation in the others drops off. Note that the last blog post was on September 16th and I haven't even been reading other peoples blogs in the past two months or so. Because I got hooked back into Facebook.

Yes, she who has made her low opinion of Facebook widely known got hooked back into using Facebook. And thus really the point of this blog post are my observations on this go around of facebooking.

I started sneaking onto Facebook last May. My son was in Afghanistan. Whenever I read a news article about soldiers getting killed over there, I would sneak on and check his recent activity to see when was the last time he was on. After a few months of this, one of my friends caught me at it and started a chat. And then the facebook vortex sucked me in and pretty soon I was reading my newsfeed and whatever.

But this time was different because I started liking the pages of the things I am also interested in like wildlife and the environment. And I started interacting with my high school friends and looking up old friends. In other words, this time I started using Facebook as it was intended to be used as a tool for keeping in contact with friends and family not for marketing purposes. A much more enjoyable experience.

What I have noticed among my writer friends is that many are not using facebook effectively. Either they log on every now and then and post a link to their blog/book/publisher, then log off; or they overload the newsfeed with a lot of links to their friend's and their own blog/book/publisher. If there are ten or more posts like that in a row, then I look at the first one or two and scroll past the rest. Only a few interact with their friends and followers talking about something other than writing.

Using popular authors to illustrate my point: J K Rowling is one who posts every now and then with a link to her new book while romance author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one who engages with her fans. She recently went on a camping trip to Morocco and posted pics of Morocco, riding a camel, the tents, etc. It was rather interesting. Next time you're on facebook look both of them up and see the difference.

I also discovered something very interesting about the news feed in Facebook. It doesn't show you everything that has been posted. So when I post something in my status or share a link, picture, or video, only a few people actually see it, not everyone I am friends with. They have developed an algorithm to determine which posts you are most likely to want to see. So if all you do is log on every now and then and post a link to your book/blog/publisher, then very few of your friends will actually see it. There is a work around this problem. I haven't figured it out yet.

I'm still of the opinion that facebook is not a good tool for marketing purposes especially now that I am aware of the newsfeed algorithm. But if you are primarily using it to stay connected with friends and family, then the occasional post about your book/blog/publisher will have a greater chance at being seen, read, and shared.

Food for thought.