Tag Archives: social media

To Follow, Or Not To Follow

A post from the Hamlet series*

So many blogs, so little time. And everyone wants followers and likes. So do I.

When, in the course of a recent #wpad blog challenge,  I increased my blogging frequency, I was thrilled to see that the number of my readers went up significantly. (Okay, that was from five to forty-five, but hey.) But then I began to be suspicious.

Some likes and follows hit my inbox within two minutes of posting. Not only did this seem too short for anyone to have actually read the post. But some of the likes came from halfway around the globe, time-zones where it was 3 a.m. at the time of my posting. Now there are many night-owls out there, and I do apologize to my “serious readers”. But I began to wonder whether, just like in twitter, these were automatic follows. You know, some sort of set-up that trawls blogs for keywords and hits the “follow” button without reading the actual post. (I am fairly ignorant about the mechanics and tricks of social media – there probably is a proper term for this.)

That wouldn’t matter so much – other than deflate my recently puffed-up blogger’s ego – but herein lies the rub: it is netiquette to like or follow back, right? Well, I always go to the pages of my new followers and I read some of their stuff, and I am happy to write “thanks for posting / liking / following”. But I will only follow back if I intend to read their blogs on a more or less regular basis. No offense, but I simply do not have the time to read all, and I find it dishonest to hit “follow” just for the sake of netiquette. I do not want to receive dozens of notifications about new posts every day, because I will feel obliged to follow up, and there aren’t enough hours in the week to do my “professional” reading and my own writing to start with.

So I will not always follow back if you follow me.

Have I just lost half of my readership? I hope not. (And if my theory is correct, they don’t read this anyway, he he.) Rather, I hope that people will engage with me. Comment if and when they have actually read my post, which will always prompt me to go to their blog and check it out – and perhaps to follow. Or not. Honestly.

*This post is the first of a series where I plan to use bits and pieces from Hamlet – and perhaps other Shakespeare plays – as prompts.

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Social Media

Day 26 of the Writesofluid #wpad July blog challenge.

Social media? I don’t get them.

Well, perhaps I should qualify that statement a little. True, I am a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to technology.  “A bit?” I hear my teenage daughter snort. And I apologize if in the following I confuse my readers by using the wrong terminology! But I am using social media as much as I can. And here is the dinosaur gap: as much as I can seems rather little compared to what others accomplish.

1.            Which ones?

Here are three I can sort of handle: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. About two years ago, I created a profile on Skillpages  because I prefer their approach to LinkedIn – it’s more about what you can do rather than what your diploma or other “official” papers say, but it does seem that LinkedIn just gets taken more seriously.

I’m on Google+ but have never used it. I see it as just yet another distraction that syphons off my time. But perhaps that is more because I don’t know how to manage my social media-ness – guess I should investigate hootsuite or bitly for bundling. It’s just that I don’t want to spend time on that – posting or reading or even organizing so I can save time in future – because I’d rather do some real writing! But I’m afraid that if you want to be out there, as an author, you have to know how and where to be present online.

One note on the evil nature of Facebook & Co. Is it plain wrong that they share data with government agencies? Yes. Am I disgusted that they support GOP climate change deniers? Yes. Am I not betraying my own principles if I continue to use them instead of, I don’t know, bing? Yes. But that, and what I could be doing differently, is currently beyond me and beyond this blog post.

Political moment over, let’s move on.

2.            What for?

I do use Facebook for staying in touch with friends all over the world and for news about issues that matter to me. I also find more and more groups that help me in my writery professional development, such as the Script Advice Writers Room or the London Screenwriters Festival.

I do find Facebook easier too use in one particular way – that is, I usually see at a glance whether the link will interest me. It’s the way it’s set up, with headline and picture. On  Twitter I actually have to read (and often decipher) each tweet  before deciding whether  to click on the link. On the other hand, I find Twitter more focused – or perhaps I use it in a more focused manner – for business purposes.

And that’s the point, I think. You can waste endless hours especially on Facebook looking at funny cat pictures or playing stupid games. It requires discipline to go only for the useful information.

3.            How do they do it?!

Here’s one thing that totally amazes me: even if I am disciplined, even if I follow only half of the interesting and useful links, I can easily spend hours every day. And there are people out there who not only read all the stuff and comment on it and retweet and link to fifteen interesting articles a day, they also get their own writing done and sometimes have a day job! How on earth do they do it?

If you know, please tell me. In the meantime, I’ll try to have a bit of an online presence, follow a limited number of links and for the rest, get some writing done.

PS I am on holiday and have pre-scheduled this so I won’t respond to any comments until late August.

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