If you’ve followed me for very long at all, you’ll be well aware that I am not particularly active on social media. I perhaps don’t hate them as badly as I once did, but the lack of hate doesn’t mean an outpouring of love has replaced it. I understand the value of these sites and how many people use them extensively. That doesn’t mean I use them heavily myself.
I see it as striking a balance. I try to make sure something is there for those who do favor these sites, but at the same time I avoid ‘faking it’. There are those who would suggest you be super active on social media and engage your readers through it. That’s great if you are comfortable doing so and I fully support you in that. For writers like myself, a lot of social media isn’t natural for us. Trying to be super active will come across as fake and we are likely to push away more readers than we gain.
This then brings me to Facebook specifically. I’ve grown more and more frustrated with Facebook. Everyone is there, but that just means there is a sea of people to wade through to get to my target audience. Worse, several writers (among others) have come to find out that they can lose everything they have there at the drop of a hat. One hacker getting your page locked means you lose your entire list of fans and everything you posted forever.
In the push for convincing more artists and creators to pay for ads, they have continued to make it ever harder to get seen without paying for an advantage. My current estimates are that my work appears in the feeds of 1 in 7 people who are following me. Facebook has to be reset every time you log on if you as the reader want to be able to see everyone who has posted from your lists! Most people aren’t bothering.
The advertisements they are pushing so hard are so expensive that almost no writer outside of the ones who don’t need it would ever make their money back from advertising on the site. There seems to be an exodus of youth from Facebook. They still have accounts, but many of them seem to be favoring less invasive sites. It is, to me, a waste of my efforts to pour more than a little into Facebook.
I will conclude by saying that I have come to really like Ello, but still don’t really use it much differently from any other media. In the end, I am still not an active person on social media. Liking a site a little better probably isn’t going to change that. If you are a writer, make sure you are using social media effectively for what you want out of it. Don’t feel pressured into dumping huge tracks of time on these sites if it isn’t something you would do anyway. Every minute on social media is a minute you spend not writing. If you are a reader, please don’t be too offended that your favorite authors aren’t spending a lot of time on social media. Their limited presence there is for the benefit of their readers.
Postscript: Oh and if you as a writer are spending tons of time on there, stop it! You’re procrastinating. Get back to your writing.