Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interactive Communication on Social Sites

People are so funny.

We're all from different parts of the world, different cultures, different upbringings, and have issues which determines daily mindsets. I'm reminded of this every single day on Facebook. I have people who are in the middle of divorces, have health issues, or are just plain off-the-wall. And then there are the kids who totally throw me for a loop. They post things that give the impression something is wrong in their world, but as it turns out, it's simply a lyric from a song they just heard. Thank goodness I have a son who stops me from worrying over his friends.

Facebook is a world all it's own. It's easy to get lost in it with messaging, chatting and the games. Oh, the games. There is something for everyone. It's a wonderful place to keep in touch with long distance people.

I spend more time in my personal account with my family friends than I do my author account, but sometimes like with the rest of the internet - it gets crowded and I need to put space between it and myself. Everything in moderation.

In my author account, it's the same world, all the same issues, but a completely different atmsophere. I'll comment on a post here and there only if I have something constructive to add. Promotional experts say it's more important to comment than to plaster post after post about your books. I get that. However, in the writing world, it's awkward to comment on posts of people you really don't know. I don't do a lot of posting on the main page, simply because no one acknowledges them. I tend to post on the fan page which only those who've liked the page can see. I find this kind of lonely as I don't even know if people read the posts since I rarely get a response. I've tried different topics, usually about my world - my kids, my health, my books, our household projects. I don't really know what will get people to become interactive.

I think many of us have the same problem. Every day that I log in, there are at least 300 new posts waiting to be downloaded. I have nearly 500 friends and so it's rather difficult to keep up. When I scroll down about six pages worth, I'm finding that people aren't trying to engage people, rather they are doing what experts say they shouldn't - promoting and sending the reader to another site where they hope for a purchase. I think that's ok as long as it's not all they do. I've been guilty of it for probably the same reasons they do it.

Other posts are complaining about the government, quoting scripture or talking about personal bits of their lives they probably shouldn't be putting in public forum. I don't mind hearing about some personal issues as a discussion can be beneficial to all involved. I think it's awesome to be able to help others through your own experience. These posts, however, are few and far between.

Yesterday, I did an experiment. I went through the posts and hid all the people who don't contribute to the general population as far as constructive communication. I went back about six pages - it's about all I can do before I'm completely bored with the task. What I ended up with was like five people. I left and returned a few hours later and not much had changed. There were new posts, but other than those five people, I think there were only four other people and none them were contributing to the community. When I came in this morning, I had 300 posts, but when I looked through them, there were about 30 people besides those I had yesterday and I went back several pages until I ran into yesterdays post.

This probably means that three quarters of the people on my friend list either seldom or never posts. But that's neither here nor there. What concerns me is that I, and you who are on my Facebook list, might be missing out on some awesome posts, because they are shoved pages back to die in la-la land. I do have a few where I will go directly to their pages to make sure I haven't missed something.

Now, don't get bent out of shape if you are on my friend list. Hidden doesn't mean I unfriended you. You're still there and very welcome. I will go back in and unhide everyone. 

I understand we all grasp at any venue to promote our books. Our friend lists are made up of mostly writers, and while they read, are they really aren't interested in seeing post after post of advertisements. I don't. I want to get to know you.

What can we do to make every post constructive and contributing to the whole? How can we make them interactive? Any ideas?



Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, wish I had some constructive input for you. However, I don't. I don't utilize Facebook for a whole slew of reasons. Mainly because it's only a government front to collect data, and utilize it against folks.

It's a great idea as far as interacting with family and real friends, and promoing your biz or books. And, if it was only that, I'd say YAY! Go for it.

Of course, that is true about the whole internet... www: World Wide Wiretap. However, Facebook is sneaky and egregious in how it collects, sells and utilizes info. Also, they make it clear they own anything you put on FB, and can use it in any way they want.

Personally, I am thoroughly enjoying my interactions at the ShapeShifter Seductions blog. We authors have a great time with or without comments. And, we are steadily gaining in page hits.

I'm thinking it might work better to develop your own community of like-minded folks, and be open to others joining in, but don't make that the end goal.

However, I have no clue if that would be a successful way of interacting or not. Gosh, I couldn't even deal with that number of so-called friends.

Kathleen O said...

I mainly use it for catching up with family and see what everyone is up to. I like to check out all my fav authors and see what they are doing and it is a good way to find about their new books... I check it maybe a couple of times a day... I don't want it to run my life...

Bekki Lynn said...

I'd like mine to be more than an informational highway, but I don't know how.

People like my fan page and I'm not sure why since no one comments or leaves messages. Maybe it is simply to keep track of new book releases and other news. I do know that not everyone on that is list is a friend on my facebook page, so that's a plus.

It's just hard to know if I'm missing the mark or hitting it with style of books if there is no feedback.

I know most friend my facebook page to build up their own friend list - seems numbers are important to some. I accept them since it does broaden my viewer base when my name pops in the right margin for a friend suggestion.

I guess I expect too much.

I check my family site several times a day since it's the only way most want to communicate via the computer these days. Most have given up the use of emails and simply use Facebook message or Facebook Chat.

Maybe Facebook will go by the wayside as Myspace seems to have. It got too cluttered and too many changes occurred, making it a pain to keep up with. I think most authors use the stream portion of it and not much else. I send things via, but I don't do much else too often.

I have a personal myspace, but it's become obsolete since all my family and friends there moved to Facebook.

Possibly this is simply the way things will go. Something knew will come along and replace Facebook and I'll wonder how to make it more productive, too. lol