If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a fairly punishing week at work, but got through it. It hasn’t been an entirely bad week, though. My grandson made me proud again. The other day, he let it be known that he can tell when I am fibbing “because of the little smile.” It makes me very happy that this six-year-old boy is that observant. He’s riding in his first Christmas parade today. And I finally figured out how to use Facebook to promote bloggers, I think.
I’d tell you the whole story of how that came about. I would mention that I am allowing “Everyone” to send me friend requests, but it helps if I know you from the blogs, or if we have mutual friends.
I didn’t have a Facebook account until a year ago. I only set one up because I needed some social media to get the blogs rolling. Diana’s Facebook account is the only real social media we started with, and she uses her Facebook like most other people – to keep up with friends and family, share memes and photos, post and comment on newsy stuff, etc. So I set it up and started friending our mutual friends. Lots of family and people who know me but I don’t really talk to also friended me.
I accepted almost every friend request. I didn’t understand Facebook (and didn’t particularly like it), but I didn’t want to offend anyone. And really. Had to get a few blog readers from somewhere to get things rolling. I eventually set up pages for my blogs and invited people to like them because I knew I was in for a year of everyday posting, and I didn’t want to be that guy who’s just sharing his blog posts all the time.
What I ended up with was a bunch of friends who aren’t all that connected, and they’re all sharing what people share on Facebook.
- Photos of their kids.
- Funny memes.
- What’s in the news, often with an opinionated statement.
- What they did today.
- Photos of their pets.
That’s fine. I am a believer in people doing what they want with their own social media, but I don’t like or share much of that stuff. Aside from REALLY good memes, what a very close friend did today, or things that get me so stirred up I can’t help myself, I just don’t care about that stuff on Facebook. I realized at some point that 90 percent of my Facebook friends view my blogs the the same way I view the news articles and photos they are sharing. I don’t take that personally.
But here’s the problem. Since very few of the friends I started with care about blogging, and since many of them also have irreconcilable differences on most social issues from me, that means Facebook has been useless to me up to this point. I have nothing to talk about with those people on Facebook, even though they are all lovely people.
In the meantime, I’ve made Facebook friends with about 15 or so WordPress bloggers that I’ve talked to long enough here and on Twitter to feel like they’re just as much my friends as my offline friends. They all care about blogging, and they don’t all agree with me on the social issues, but they’re the sort of people I can at least have productive conversations with when they do decide to chime in. Some of us have been PMing and chatting in secret groups for months, but not a lot of timeline interaction.
So I joined a couple of blogging groups. Then I flagged three quarters of my Facebook friends as acquaintances, restricted most of them from seeing what I like and share, and unfriended some of them. Now I have four levels of communication for my timeline.
1. Public (because everyone’s welcome to enjoy my original photos, and that is all the public interaction I’m ever doing on Facebook again).
2. Friends (because now and then I like to post something just to let them all know I am alive).
3. Friends Except Restricted and Acquaintances. These are people I can trust to not be annoyed by my constant blog chatter, to maybe even like a blog post if they see it in their feeds, and to observe proper manners if they choose to comment. It includes bloggers I am Facebook friends with but don’t know very well yet. I share blogs I like with this group.
4. Friendly Bloggers. These are people I have known long enough to consider friends in the fullest sense of the word, people who have supported me in some way over the last year, and people who I am sure are following my progress. These people get chances to chat about blogging tips or to discuss things I have questions about, and advance notice when I’m publishing things like yesterday’s Friendly Blogging post.
I have a new rule for Facebook. Any behavior that would get a person banned from one of my blogs will get them unfriended and possibly blocked if they do it on my timeline. I’m easygoing and can tolerate almost any disagreement as long as everyone is nice about it. I don’t trash many comments or ban very many people, but it happens. Usually when it happens, it’s because someone’s being bigoted or mean. I have to enforce that rule on Facebook if I want to keep making progress with this thing I am doing here. Otherwise, bloggers aren’t going to want to be friends with me.
And I am not depriving anyone from the enjoyment of my blog content, even on Facebook. Because I have public pages for my blogs, and I don’t share many of my own links on my timeline, anyway.
I am open to being friends with bloggers on Facebook, and trying to make my personal timeline over there a friendly, valuable, interesting, sometimes entertaining stream of content. Because that, my friends, is how you get blog links into Facebook news feeds without paying money to do it. I am interested to see whether it works, or whether I just need to find another network to spend my time on.
And I would apologize for going on and on about my Facebook today, but it’s kind of a big deal to me. I’m closing a circle here.
[Edited on 12/08 to remove a link to my Facebook profile, but I am not that hard to find over there 😉 and I am very approachable. This post got some serious retweet juice from #SundayBlogShare, so the link could bounce around for weeks, and I don’t want post with a direct link bouncing around on Twitter for weeks].