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Friday, June 8, 2012

Fewer Gimmicks, Please!

After reading two excellent blog posts, "Can Facebook Hold Your Fan Page Hostage?" by Kristen Lamb, and Porter Anderson's latest installment of On the Ether (41 section 2) "BEA Self-Pub/Owen/Litte/Greenfield: Kobo's platform," I realized something's been bothering me about some of the latest trends in social media.
pocket watch illusion
Photo by botheredbybees

They feel gimmicky.

For six months I've tried (without much success) to grow my Facebook Author Page without resorting to repeated "invitations" to like it. From holding fun polls, to updates about my life, to re-posting cartoons--I've worked at making my Facebook page a happy place to land. However, it lacks the thing I love about my personal profile--the ability to have conversations. And, from Kristen's article, it looks as if it also lacks outreach. If the only people who see my posts are people already there, I don't know how it could possibly grow. I wonder if I'm just trying to ride on a gimmick anyhow? I've always enjoyed Facebook through my personal page. Maybe I should just stick with it and not work so hard on my Author page? I don't know. I want to be authentic.

Then, I read Porter's round-up which included information about "Writing Life," the self-publishing imprint offered by Kobo, and almost snorted out my Coke when I read that authors earn badges for things like writing late at night.

I left a comment on the post, and I'll re-iterate it here. I don't need a sticker saying I wrote a book. I want an audience to read and love my books.

Too often on Twitter, I'm bombarded with retweets of blog posts. I love retweeting other people's blog posts, so this doesn't bother me. However, when the Tweeter ONLY RT's blog posts, it feels gimmicky.

Conversations! I want a conversation. Yes, share that fabulous post or picture with me, but also tell me you're low on coffee or watching The View. Don't be shy! I just want to know that you're a real person and not someone scheduling every social media post in an attempt to look like a real person.

What about social media feels gimmicky to you?

Have a terrific weekend!

38 comments:

  1. Oh yay! So glad you posted your feelings about this! I am right there with you.I hate all the gimmicky stuff out there. And I know people have author pages on Facebook but they do nothing for me. I like the personal pages where they interact. I feel like I have to be a fan and just read their posts on the other and they don't visit me and be personal. Stay who you are Jill--a really good writer who is also real!

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    1. I'm with you--I don't like how FB pages in general are set up. I want to talk to people and comment on their posts, but I can't with my page. :( I'm keeping both, but I just don't see how switching to just my page works.

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  2. ROFL at the sticker comment. That's like the silly dog drawings my piano teacher used to make on my sheet music. She thought it was some kind of reward. I thought it was annoying and embarrassing.

    I'm not on FB enough to comment on either pages, but I've never figured out the author ones. I guess I can see the appeal to the authors who limit their contact with their readers (and there are A LOT of them). This way they can't comment back and they think all is good. But that's not social networking. That's just a one sided conversation.

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    1. So true! I have enough one-sided conversations in my head all day. I don't need them online too!

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  3. Your comment cracked me up! I don't want a stinking sticker either! And yes, I'd like a little more conversation (sorry, Elvis)! You've raised a lot of good questions today! :)

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    1. I take writing seriously and I devote SO much of my life to it. I feel like badges trivialize the process, but maybe I'm just being a jerk. I don't know!

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  4. I don't like the FB pages, either. The main reason I have mine is because I supposed to. And some caution against having family and writing friends/readers on the same profile page, but I'm doing it any way. I can't keep things separate.

    As for Twitter, I couldn't agree more. I've been fail lately, as all of my time has gone into finishing the WIP (close!), and it seems like since the intro of Triberr, conversations have gone way down. I guess I need to reach out to some other hashtags.

    Great post, Jill!

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    1. I have all my friends and family on my profile page. Doesn't bother me at all. :)

      I've been a big time fail at all social media lately! My time is so limited. I barely make it to blogs. And I do love when other writers RT things--I find great posts that way--but I don't like it when that's all they do. Does that make sense?

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  5. Great post, Jill! I want conversations too! Which is why I started asking more questions on my Facebook page.

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    1. Good plan! I'm doing that also, but I'm disturbed about the whole "reach" thing. I feel like the odds are stacked against Pages. I'll be keeping an eye on the future developments.

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  6. So true about the Facebook fan page, which is why I've hesitated creating one at this point.
    That's what I love about twitter and facebook--the conversations. That's the whole point about being social, IMHO.
    I do RT posts, but there has to be a balance otherwise it's just cold.

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    1. You do a great job on Twitter. It's all about balance. I try to balance my tweets with conversations and RT's.

      Honestly, I'm not sure if FB fan pages are the way to go with this new system. I'll be keeping an eye on it!

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  7. I hear you, Jill. I haven't started an author page yet for basically the reasons you mention...I have good interaction on my personal page. I feel like I've built up fun relationships there. I just don't have the time to start again on another page.I will if I need to someday, but for now, I figure I should focus on what I can keep up with. :)

    I think part of the gimmicky feel of social media is that we've taken to using them as marketing tools. Which is well and good and useful when done well. But marketing slides ridiculously easy into gimmicky if we're not careful. (This I know from my day job!!)

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    1. Yeah, I'm getting very little back for what I put in on my FB page. It might be more valid when I'm published--I'm not sure. And I'm with you on the marketing. If I get one more DM on Twitter "Thanks for the follow, come see my Facebook Page..." I'll scream!!

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  8. Hmmm, I hadn't thought about it. I RT on twitter a lot cuz I'm just not a big twitterer but don't want to be completely stagnant on it. As for pages, I don't love mine but think they're useful for readers who maybe don't want to be "friends" with an author (there are a lot of people who only have 100 friends and want it that way) but want to like that author's page and keep up with them. I love my profile and accept a ton of people I don't know but the page is also good for if I become famous and bestselling and suddenly have more than 5k friends. *grin*
    I don't like being bombarded with ads or invites either though. Hate it, actually. And I don't like apps. I avoid those. :-)

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    1. That's true, Jessica. I think the FB page makes sense for authors who have a published book out. But for authors still trying to get their foot in the door? It's not easy to build a following!

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  9. Jill, I agree completely! This topic has been on my mind for the last two weeks, trying to redo my blog and really make sure I have a presence. For me, plain and simple, my biggest focus is still going to be making conversation with people, making strong connections, and building relationships. I love everyone else's answers, by the way, and even got some good tips :)

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    1. Same here, Cindy. I'd rather have low numbers and high engagement than the opposite! :)

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  10. Interesting conversation, Jill. I started an Author page and it's grown slowly, but you're right...the only people who see it are the people who have basically already liked it! I have about 10 people who have liked it who I'm not friends with on my personal page. Not sure if that's good or bad.

    I like what you said about tweets that aren't scheduled, etc. I need to be better about not just tweeting blog posts but writing little funny things about what I'm doing. More personal that way. :) Thanks for making me think about this! I want to be authentic too.

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    1. Anytime you can expand your base outside of your normal circle, be happy! That's a good thing!

      I realize posting things on Twitter and FB can be intimidating, but it shouldn't be. I'm always drawn to the mundane, silly things people say, rather than the big news!

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  11. Great post, Jill. I'm so slow in navigating this social networking thing! But I totally agree--I can't stand it when I get that "fake" feeling.

    You also made me realize that I don't start conversations enough, particularly on twitter. Funny, but I thought people would rather see a blog tweet than what's happening in my mundane little life. ;) Thanks for setting me straight! I'm going to definitely remember this and try not to be so shy!

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    1. Thanks, Heidi! It's hard to post tidbits about our day to the world. I often stare at my screen with a dumb expression, wondering what I can possibly say! However, it really doesn't hurt to get into the practice of putting things on there regularly. :)

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  12. I think social media should be all about having conversations, I need to figure out how to do that better on twitter. Right now I don't post anything.

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    1. Patti, maybe Twitter isn't your thing? That's okay too! Just do what you're most comfortable with!

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  13. Sometimes all of it does, but that's just me. Good food for thought, Jill, thanks!

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  14. FB has always bothered me, so I just use it as personal outreach and try not to cross over too much. I love Twitter, but I don't like the way they changed Tweetdeck and find it harder to have conversations. :( I do like to retweet good posts though! I like genuinely connecting with people, I'm really not a good sales person. But that's who I am!

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    1. I noticed the same issue with Tweetdeck. I'm not sure what they changed, but it's less user friendly. And I like retweeting too! We all should! Just not exclusively. ;)

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  15. Don't hate me, Jill! It's "Fewer" gimmicks. But I totally agree with what you have to say! :) (Sorry, it's an English major's curse in life).

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    1. Oh, Kathy, I'm changing it! *blushes* Thanks for keeping me on the right track!!

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  16. I'm on board with you, Jill, 100%. I've pretty much refused to follow the guidelines being thrown out from every direction.

    And I stopped in here tonight because I haven't checked in for awhile and was missing you. No agenda.

    Thanks for your honesty, as always!

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  17. Your post made me think. I want to be "real" in my social media, but I need a connection with people to be "real."

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  18. I set up my author/fan page first, mainly because I just wanted a limited interaction. I'm not that excited about FB. However, the limitations are extreme. Lately, I can't even "like" a page from my author page, and that is one way to show personality by demonstrating interests and hobbies. I finally resigned myself to a personal FB page and it is a mix between personal and business and I get a lot more interaction there about my books than I do on my author page. Oh, well.

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  19. I'm so glad I spotted your post this morning, Jill! I've been on FB for a couple of years (I think) and I've consistently resisted having a 'Fan Page'. It was a subconscious decision because I can interact quite happily with all my FB friends in the normal way whenever I go on so it didn't seem necesary. Now I know I made the right decision!

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  20. I love my personal page on FB, and my author page has me scratching my head. Most all the people who 'like' my author page are already follow my personal page, so I feel like I'm giving them a double-whammy if I post in both places.

    Twitter feels more gimmicky to me than facebook. The short sentence before a link can sucker me in, and the link has nothing to do with the sentence. "The last thing I did before I got shot...tinyurl.url" and when I click on the link, it's about how the person plotted their novel before their kid shot them with a rubber band....sigh.

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  21. Okay, here's my impression about FB author page. It's good to get it set up with posts and everything but it doesn't really work until the author has fans - as in fans of their published books and a lot of them, the kinds of fans like Addison Moore has. Fans have to seek you out and interact with you there - then it works. It's not something that can be forced.

    I'm not sure why everyone likes to mock the badges Kobo offers. How is it different from the blog awards everyone passes around? They're just little notes of encouragement on the road to making writing a career. I personally wouldn't care about them though... I'm more psyched that Kobo will allow us to publish directly to their platform and have access to stats. That's the much bigger deal.

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  22. Jill,

    I found your post through Katie's site, and it's great! Thanks for this reminder. It's about conversation and relationships, isn't it? Thanks for challenging me to start those conversations.

    Blessings!

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