If We Were Having Coffee . . . (Facebook Edition)

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.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

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.

fblikeThat’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.

Arrr, Mateys!

Arrr, Mateys!

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.

coffeeNow, I am in the process of unfollowing the big media and celebrities I followed when I started my account to make room for more bloggers in my news feed.

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].

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Weekend Music, and Another Networking Note.

Video

I’ve blogged this music before, but never the video. The animation is to die for, lol. Lots of themes interacting in complex ways there, and the best part is the end. The assassins kill the footsoldiers because that is the way to win the battle. Once they win, they turn their backs and leave the commanding officer to the mob. Maybe it’s right. Maybe it’s wrong. Decide for yourself. Either way, it’s a cool video. Society requires rigid rules, but culture thrives on ambiguity. Society and culture are not the same thing.

Facebook is my big social media project for this year. It’s decided, and I have a post at Sourcerer today in which I explain what I am doing and offer you the opportunity to join me.

I had a lot more to say about it today, but decided against it because It’s not a good idea to ask you to read a big post here and then click a link. I’d rather you just click it, and pay attention to the bloggers I’ve included at the end of the post.

Networking Note: Twitter’s good for now. Time to fix the Facebook. With Wankery.

Some bullet points for those of you who are following my effort to build a chatty, thriving network of bloggers who read things bloggers contribute on mine and Diana‘s blogs. And our posts too, of course.

Image via Suzie81's Blog, 2014.

Image via Suzie81’s Blog, 2014.

  • I’m satisfied with the progress of the @Sourcererblog Twitter account and with the number of bloggers who are following it. I think its following is stable above 5K, but we will see.
  • I’m not managing that account for growth as a way of keeping score. I need its following to be as big as I can easily manage. Given the time and tools I have to work with, and what it’s taking to manage now, I think that number is 10K.
  • I am not eager to do more rapid growth and try for 10K at the moment. It’s time to let it settle and see what kind of growth I can get just by Tweeting for at least a month, and to reorganize my lists so I can give my attention over there to people who Tweet with me.
  • I don’t plan to do much unfollowing for a least a month. In general, I assume that if I don’t get a followback in 10 days, the other person isn’t interested in tweeting with me or isn’t looking at new followers. But I am giving all the bloggers I’ve followed in the last week a lot of latitude, and I don’t really need to unfollow until I’m ready for more growth.

I’m where I want to be on Twitter for now. I am not at all happy with my Facebook at the moment, but I’ve improved it greatly over the last month or so. I’ve thought a lot over the past couple of months about what to do next once I reached my Twitter milestone for the year. I’ve considered working on improving the reach of a fanpage, figuring out Tumblr, or getting interactive on Google+ again. But really, I think, what I need is to be Facebook friends with more bloggers. That takes time, but I am working on it. I’m not ready to start adding many friends yet because I need to make sure I have my privacy settings airtight before I do that and I just adjusted them a day or two ago.

Here is why I made this decision. Our traffic numbers are miniscule, but they are still numbers. When I look at where our referrals came from in the last year, Facebook is near the top for both Sourcerer and Part Time Monster. Neither of those other two networks are. Twitter is also high on the list. Once I get that following to 10K, probably in February, I think it will outperform Facebook until I find a way to fix that. And I don’t know how to grow a Facebook page without paying for follows. Working on my personal network there makes more sense.

I have another post coming about Facebook at some point, but I’m not satisfied with the draft, so it’ll have to wait awhile. Now here’s a little Twitterwankery on how I’ve done the growth. (Shamelessy ripping off your Blogwanking thing here, Luther, but only so I can mention that you write science fiction books, and you’ve even set up a way for people to pay for them 😉 )

Twitter Dec 2

This follower graphic is from my Twitter analytics. The screenshot is taken today and it captures May through yesterday. You are looking at two consciously-managed growth cycles here. The little steps from the second week of May through the first of July are me growing the account from 1200 to around 2500 by following accounts right up to the limit every weekend and then using apps to unfollow my unfollowers after 10 days. That was difficult and time-consuming, but much less so than getting to 1200 was.

The flat part of the graph is where I stopped, partly because I wanted the following to settle and see what I really had. Partly because I just had other things to do, and didn’t know whether it was worth it to do more growth at that point. I added about 300 new followers during that time just by Tweeting regularly and following the good accounts back.

In late September I decided to go for 5K to see what managing it was like. I started growing again in October. The bottom of the spike at the end is October 2. I had a little under 2800 followers at that point, and the capacity to follow hundreds of accounts. So I did. The top is 5,043 as of yesterday. I have a few more than that at the moment. Now I’m convinced that eventually getting to 10K so I can use that account to tweet links for friends and contributors is worth the effort, and I think I have set myself up to get that done by April.

2200 followers in two months is not professionally impressive Twitter growth, but it is better than I thought I’d ever do, and there is no question in my mind that I can easily double my following pretty much any time I am willing to manage the growth. A ton of other people helped me get it done. Too many to list. I haven’t spent a single dime on promotion, and I can explain how I did this to practically anyone who is interested.

Happy blogging!