Part Two: Facebook
About the time I started looking seriously at my digital presence and started honing my twitter, I realized I dreaded logging into Facebook. I did so only once a week at best, approved friend requests, answered emails, scanned the newsfeed and got off as quick as I could. Facebook can be an amazing platform for writers. For me, it was a nightmare. I had to sit back and wonder why. I called up the best friend and vented all my frustrations about Facebook. Her advice? Make a list of all the things about Facebook I don’t like and work on them. Oh, more lists.
I started with looking at my friends list. Nearly a thousand people and I personally knew only about forty of them. Then I spotted a reoccurring theme with Facebook that I noticed with Twitter. Quantity over quality. I started unfriending. Unlike twitter, the majority of people I unfriended on Facebook were authors. Not all, mind you, but alot. In my mind, Twitter is more for business. Facebook is more personal. As a general rule, anyway. Right? Wrong? Who knows. It’s how I think of it.
When I really got down to the nitty-gritty, I realized that the reason I didn’t like to get on Facebook was because of all the writers hard selling their books. That is a big no-no in the world of Independents and so many are breaking it. Here’s where I get a bit preachy. Passive selling, updating readers on progress, casual mentions, that’s all fine with me. After all, we’re trying to build an audience and keep the lights on. But anyone daily blasting BUY MY BOOK and posting reviews from Amazon, I find to be most tacky and got the unfriend.
Also, those that tend to share emails from readers. I’m sorry, those are personal. If the reader wanted to share his/her email with the world they would have posted it on your wall. Have some respect.
And those cheeky real-estate style author photos are so off-putting. All my favorite authors have very natural looking photos. It feels fake. Oh, I so dislike fake people.
And finally, those who put on airs to emulate the illusion of success.
I tell ya, my clicking finger hurt by the end of the day. It took three days, actually. I didn’t unfriend irresponsibly. I looked for a 50/50 ratio of tasteful self promotion with colleagues and real life interaction. If a writer had that, I kept them. It was brave and bold and a little scary. To be honest, it went against all the traditional advice of gathering thousands of friends to build an online presence. But in the end, going from nearly 1000 friends to just over 400, a wonderful thing happened. My newsfeed was filled with real people talking about real things. Topics I could relate to and jump in on, not only as a writer but as a mother, sister, friend and woman. I found nurses and teachers and aspiring musicians. Great people that had taken the time to friend me but had been buried beneath the screeching self endorsements. I found fundraisers I could contribute to, meaningful petitions to sign, great start up projects on Kickstarter, interesting blogs new and old. I really felt like I had been invited into the living room of all these wonderful people talking about their struggles with marriage and children, money and diseases. While I didn’t have much to say to the boasting author of the new release, “Her Heaving Bosom” (I have no idea if that’s a real book, by the way) I could relate to the mom battling Fibromyalgia as I do. The teenager thinking about writing but drowning in self doubt as I did once. The pics of a newborn from a brand new dad. (Take lots of pictures. They grow fast.) Not to mention, so many adorable cats! Facebook is so much more meaningful now. I don’t regret for one moment cutting six hundred people from my digital living room. And the good news, I’m attracting real people who send me friend requests. Over two hundred in the past six weeks alone. Everyone wants to be heard but a lot of people forget it’s a two-way street. And I’m happy to log on each morning and continue to get to know real people.
Tomorrow, Part Three: Liking on Facebook