Facebook is a Flipping Pest.
Anytime I check my page, it bugs me to post something without the slightest care, concern or regard for whether I actually have anything worth saying.
For that worth, I’ve been getting book three ready—formatting; designing a cover; things like that—but that’s hardly scintillating news; and the fact it’s taking longer than hoped is hardly helping the social-media-update cause.
Facebook isn’t alone. Anywhere I read about using it as a promotional tool the advice is post-post-post. They might all have a point: why have a page if nothing’s posted on it?
But what exactly?
Even at the best of times a writer has little to write about when it comes to the regular updating social media craves. What’s an author of, say, horror realistically got beyond they’ve been working on a particularly gruesome murder scene for the last week?
Ignoring the fact things can change drastically from draught to draught, anything else they have is really nothing more than repeating their week’s work; not only a bit tedious, there’s also not too much longevity in ‘why I chose a red door for the dark cupboard and a rubber-handled claw hammer for the gory deed’.
It’s also a bit spoilery.
Important to realise is how social media works; for those purposes the focus is on Facebook considering reports consistently name it as site No 1.
I’m pretty laidback about things friends have liked and commented on that have no relationship to me whatsoever appearing interspersed in my feed with what I’ve actually chosen to see – it is ‘social’ media after all.
Patience starts to wear thin, though, when no matter how many times I set my feed to ‘Most Recent’, Facebook insists on resetting it to ‘Top Stories’.
Combined with the interspersing, it’s like Facebook thinks it knows better than me about what I want to see.
It also means a couple of relevant things:
- it’s possible to get into someone else’s feed, even over something they want to see.
- every single thing liked and commented on by every person on a friends list is in the running.
How is it decided what does and doesn’t make the cut then?
If a page post gets little to no attention from those following it, it’s a fairly safe bet people who aren’t won’t be interested in the slightest.
When a friend is just one of only a handful of people to like something, it will do little to increase the chances of it appearing in your feed.
The algorithm wants popular posts, as by being so there’s more chance of them being liked, etc, the further afield seen.
It’s a self-perpetuating system.
The more popular a post, the more chance it has of becoming even more popular.
Johnny Depp could have fans swooning, liking and commenting over something as simple as making a cup of tea or frying an egg (especially if he’s a known vegan activist type).
Whereas 😦 no one cares about what I had for breakfast (porridge with honey and a banana).
It’s not so much what’s said that’s important, but more the response/reaction achieved via comments, shares and likes.
Conversely, then, posting something unrelated to the page—even completely—can be far more advantageous than sticking to the reason everyone is following a page in the first place.
Let’s be honest, you may be enjoying this read, you might even give it a like, perhaps a comment and at a stretch maybe even a share – but I could’ve been a lot more certain about getting those things if simply posting a You Tube video of a crazy cat chasing some string.
In practice it isn’t as cute and cuddly as that. The reality of obtaining and maintaining social media presence means literally every page will at some point go out of its way to mislead and/or upset the very people liking and following it.
Yet there’s no denying social media’s popularity.
Writing about how certain aspects are most effective due to being exploitative and/or to our detriment hardly seems the best way of winning fans from amongst the people who happily use it.
Surely jumping on the bandwagon with numerous cute cat pics would be the better thing to do?
It still might (watch this space).
In Part Two
Thanks for reading 🙂
N. P. Ryan.