Etiquette and social media

Hello again, weary internet travellers. Yes, I know I don’t post very much! Turns out there is a reason for that.

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So two things combined recently, and I thought I would share and see if I could get any input.

The first thing, is social media. I’m pretty interested in things such as demographics and behaviour of people, and so I have been doing a touch of research in my spare time.

I found that on facebook, sites grow fastest if they spam out content. George Takei’s page for example, spams out several posts an hour almost even.

This confused me a bit, I’m one of those creatures who can be occasionally awkward, because I really don’t tend to like small-talk. If I don’t have something interesting to say, I tend to not say anything [though there are notable exceptions]. This ties in with how I find myself more and more hiding posts from George, because it just seems to get worse and worse, yet I find they still show up in my newsfeed. Though I do admit there are the occasional gems in all the mud, which is why I have not unfollowed his page.

So anyway, I looked into how facebook works.

Turns out that facebook runs some sort of [top secret] algorithms, which distribute posts from people or pages, and so pages will have something in the region of 100 views per post, for every 2k likes or so that their page has. That’s right. Someone who likes your page has something like a 5% chance of seeing your posts in their newsfeed.

It also turns out that a page can ‘boost’ a post, that is, pay for a post to be distributed to a larger portion of their page likes, or to friends of people who like their page, or to random people in set demographics.

So I can tell the newsfeed I like posts from this or that page more, by liking said page etc, but it turns out that this can be bypassed by someone paying for the privilege.

Right then, that sort of bothers me. Because what it does is [in my fairly uneducated opinion], create an environment where spamming posts all the time, pushing out lots of [often shitty] content all the time, gets more views; because each post only hits a small portion of people who like the page anyway. More posts means more small portions of your likes recieve your stuff, because these algorithms appear to run per post not per page or per day.

Isn’t this all a bit agitating?

To actually grow your fanbases on facebook, you have to spam all day everyday, so that it actually reaches people; especially if you’re not paying for it to be ‘boosted’ past the usual algorithms that are cock-blocking you from your own community.

Yes yes, I know facebook is a business. But bloody hell do they really need more business profit than is generated by entire countries annually?

Now this brings me to the second thing, a question of etiquette. And really, I’d love some input from any of the more well-learned members of the blogging community, and perhaps some facebook people.

I’m good at knowing what fork to use at a posh restaurant, and can pass in situations where there are rules to follow.

tablesetting

But this is just alien to me.

You ‘like’ a page on writing, because well, you like writing, right? And then it spams crap about whatever it can find on the internet that its owner finds even vaguely amusing or vaguely related. Because that means it hits more newsfeeds through the algorithms, finds new likes and shares, and even if it’s all crap that is unrelated, or somewhat unrelated, it means more growth. So I unlike it. I just want a good bit of reading with my breakfast!

Doesn’t this hit anyone as a bit… well I don’t know. It seems there is no etiquette to it at all, and that facebook is engineering it further to make it this way. If someone has liked my page for… I don’t know, lets say it’s a page on boat sales… I would feel like a bit of  a tosser if I spammed stuff about sailors or fish all day, with a little note at the bottom saying ‘buy a boat here!’. Because it’s not what the people who liked the page want. Yet I would have to, if I wanted the page to grow.

I can’t just, you know, occasionally write something, or find something interesting, that other people with the same preferences may want to see.

Even with blogging, I’ve done a few silly posts, I want to do a few flash fiction posts, and I occasionally ramble about editors and the curse of knowledge for writers.

And I’m hit by the question – am I going to annoy the people who like the silly posts, by posting these other more serious ramblings? Am I going to annoy the people who like the ramblings on writing, when I post flash-fiction?

We seem to be funnelled to a position where, to grow, we need to spam and spam and spam all sorts of crap just to be seen on social media, and nobody seems to be asking these questions, or simply don’t care for the quality of content they send, or the sighs that they may elicit from their customer bases.

At what point did we forget that these are people, not statistics measured by follows or likes?

Well I’m not doing it.

My facebook page is going to post once a day if at all, to hell with it. I’m going to be wary each time I make a blog post that isn’t interesting to some portion of the people passing by here or followers getting mails about it, and perhaps that means less posts, less growth of statistics. And I’m fine with that if it means I’m happy with how I conduct myself in a place I find with little etiquette.

I suppose it all goes back to where I started. I don’t like small-talk, I don’t like wasting people’s time, and I’m not going to have a social media platform force me to either spam boring content, or plagiarise others just to appease the facebook algorithm gods.

I know the answer is the same, always post good content. But in todays age it seems that this just might not be enough. Well, it’s going to be enough for me.

Luckily, I’m not a business [or this opinion/course of action would likely sink it], and also luckily, I don’t really care all that much for the actual effect this has on my own things. Less followers, less likes, less whatever.

So if I don’t care that much, and I’m going to ignore all this information about spamming anyway and just stick to my own firm avoidance of small-talk, and careful thinking about what people may or may not like to read before sending it their way [or not, as the case may be], then why the essay?

Well what bothers me here is the causes, not the symptoms that reach me because of their existence.

I’m bothered by the thought that people after one thing are getting another, funnelled by the algorithms of social media or its momentum, causing otherwise good pages to be caught up in it; and that people are being reduced to statistics, thought of as growth on a graph instead of persons to be considered for what they are, persons; persons getting content crammed down their throats that they don’t care for.

Oh internet. What has happened to you, my friend and oracle of everything.

So.

Am I way off the mark? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Anyone have any good posts of their own to share on the same topics? Stick them in the comments, I’d love to read them.

As a note beside, I’m also fascinated by the against-the-grain etiquette of many of the bloggers I have run into in my short travels so far. Some of you are shining beacons in a sea of shit. Thank you for being that, and don’t get caught in the current.

-Mike

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21 thoughts on “Etiquette and social media

  1. Hi Mike, I’m also a once a day man on FB, whatever the cost of that. I too am getting tired of the treadmill that seems to be the accepted wisdom on “growing your blog / business”. Give me real engagement over bullshit numbers any day… You might be interested in this post I wrote against going self-hosted, which is related to all of this – https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/why-you-should-not-move-your-blog-to-a-self-hosted-site/

    Liked by 2 people

    • What an excellent post, thanks for sharing and for the information it holds.

      I could likely delete everything I’ve written above, and replace it with your single line;

      “This blogger is starting to paddle in the marketer’s sea, but I’m doing it my own way. The way that feels right to me.”

      And be saying almost the same thing haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is a dirty sea… I don’t even have a problem with people being “market-y”. It’s when they pretend it’s something else that I turn off (you want to help me with a problem, do you? Really?).

        And when received wisdom says “thou shalt set up a mailing list”, do I go down that path, even though that would mean having to run two sets of information in effect – one for blogging, one for “the list”… and what does this mean for actual engagement?

        It’s fair to say I’m conflicted!

        Good luck with finding your own path through it all! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I don’t have multiple lists or anything. If people want to read my ramblings, they can sign up here, and if they want a chat, even better. I don’t want to chase them all around forcing my shit in their faces. Up to them if they want to be here, not me!
          Doing it wrong? Maybe I am. But like you said yourself where I’m totally in agreement with you – doing it the way that feels right to me.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post! I agree with you. On social media, some people are only about likes and follows. They don’t care about interacting with other bloggers or writers or whoever it is that followed them because of their common interests. It’s a real turn off for me when I never see the person respond to comments or tweets they sent out under the pretense that they want to communicate with an actual person. Bloggers even do this on their blogs, which makes me wonder why anyone follows them at all. I’ve visited some blog sites where the author of the posts hasn’t commented at all on any of their posts, yet they ask their followers to post a comment. I’ve noticed some bloggers complain about stats on social media, which is another thing that irritates me as a blogger. I didn’t start my blog because I wanted to win the Internet’s social media contest, and I think some people lose sight of who their audience is and why they started blogging in the first place. I started a blog because I’m a writer, and of course, I love writing, so I wanted to share my writing journey with other writers. I write book reviews and what I hope are fun posts, but I also want to pass along information I’ve learned about the publishing process, etc. as I continue down the path of hopefully one day becoming a published author. Your post captures so many things I’ve thought about lately. I can’t stand the advertisements in my face all day on Facebook, which is the reason I only use Twitter now. They have some advertisements, but I don’t feel like it’s as much as over on FB.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you absolutely on the bloggers trying to win social media, it makes no sense to me.How can someone expect to network with people with similar interests, if they just see all people as statistics on a graph and not people to get to know?

      I’m not really active on twitter at all, it all seemed even more spammy than facebook to me at a glance. I guess I discarded it too quickly – I’ll have another look at it, much appreciated – and thanks for spending the time for the comment too, it’s nice to meet someone who started blogging for the same reasons as me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Have you met any bloggers on Facebook? I’m curious because all the bloggers I know only use Twitter and Instagram. I’ll admit that I’m not that fond of FB or Twitter because I’m not about popularity. But I did meet a lot of my blogger friends on Twitter through book chats and lot of writers from the #amwriting tweets. The writing community on Twitter is so supportive, and the same goes for most of the bloggers I’ve interacted with. I also like the DM feature on Twitter better than FB chat, and that comes in handy when talking to my blogger friends around the world. For me, that’s the most important part. I can talk to my friend in France and other bloggers when I wouldn’t have had the chance to connect with them otherwise. I think I went on a bit of a rant earlier. Despite me blog name, I hardly ever do that. When I read your post, it reminded me of some of the things I’ve seen lately that were bugging me. I didn’t realize how much though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m glad you liked the post… I usually write and then leave it a day or two, edit it, tidy it up etc, but this one is quite messy because I just got carried away in my ranting and hit publish. So reading it now I’m finding it quite unpolished, but alas, it has the points I wanted to make at least haha! Sometimes, a rant just has to be let out there.

          I’ve not met a single soul on facebook, but I’m likely not a good case study, I’ve been in this peculiar world for perhaps a month now, only really starting to look properly around in the last couple of weeks. I’m basically terrible at it, and at the moment my game-plan is to simply write things that will hopefully attract similar internet travellers, talk to anyone I bump into who seem to write interesting things, and hope to pick up some tips to find more people along the way.

          Seems to be working out to some extent, I’ll be checking out twitter and looking out for the particular things you mention. It’s very much appreciated.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I obsessively edit my posts, too, but sometimes I can’t help myself and publish anyway. I’m not surprised that you haven’t met bloggers on Facebook. I’ve mentioned it and it’s like what’s Facebook among the bloggers. Everyone either wants to follow on Twitter or Instagram for some reason. I’m okay with that because I like the 140 character limit. That keeps people from rambling. If you ever cross over to the dark side, I’m @jillianquinn7 on Twitter. I mostly just post my blog articles, but if you want to chat about writing, I’m always on DM.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Greetings Mike Chara. Dropping by for a visit to thank you for following Quantum Hermit, but to also have a look around. Your top-side bio-bit has me interested to know if by Browncoat, you’re referring to the great series Firefly?
    Wishing you much luck with your endeavors…
    Fim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello and thanks, and well spotted! Yes it seems to be turning into somewhat of a secret handshake. I probably shouldn’t admit that I still get max fangirl [as a 29 year old bloke] whenever the old cast cross in other series, hoping for an easter egg in the dialogue or costumes – but I will.

      Like

  4. Hi Mike. Thank you so much for following my blogs. Now following you as well with pleasure. Great to have discovered you.
    This is such a good post. I really enjoy blogging on wordpress. You find such an amazingly varied cross section of views and knowledge. I suppose it’s all a bit of a game. Frustrating if you let it get to you. Many people give likes without reading and do follows in the hope of a follow themselves. In the end it doesn’t really matter. Hey … in a parallel world people probably get shot for doing that.
    All the very best and I look forward to sharing our writing. Kris.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Many thanks for dropping by my two blogs, Dark Pines Photo and Implied Spaces.
    From my time as a Media Literacy and Media studies teacher, I always emphasized the Basic Mass Media Principles for parsing Media forms and content.

    I think what you are observing with Facebook and many “professional” blogs is a pattern that is based on on a set of assumptions (values, beliefs and ideology). Rather than seeing a Facebook user or a blogger as a digital publisher of a wide range/eclectic mix of content, they are seen as specialized publishers with a narrow-cast ( as opposed to broadcast ) aimed at a target audience, who are a specific demographic with specific interests.

    On the basis of that assumption ( algorithms ), the pages are all about the same type of content for the specific audience. At the widest description of the content being delivered, it must share a common set of values, beliefs and ideology, with which the intended target audience agrees. The goal then is to push as much content to as many many as possible, always expanding the number of individuals receiving the content.

    This business model works well, if you are a hardware store, bakery or antique shop. It does not work if one day you are a surrealist painter with a strong opinion about a recent episode of Coronation Street, and the next you are an astro-palentologist with a bathroom plumbing tip. The model can create the onslaught found on Facebook and Twitter, where people share their thoughts on any and everything assuming very thing is of equal importance to everyone else.

    Another effect is where key terms, without context, become the influencing factor of pushing or attracting hits. I recently posted one of my typical askew compositions on Implied Spaces. The expression “Salt & Vinegar Yoga” had popped into my head and I challenged myself to create visual and written content to accompany it. I was amused to find a number of likes from life-style and popular culture blogs ( real blogger ? ). The words in the title had significance, but the context and tone probably indicated a very different target audience. I did visit their blogs, but honestly could not find a post of any real interest – mind you, I now know keeping your expensive organic environmentally safe yoga mat clean is a serious concern. 😀

    For more Mass Media ramblings see my Media Literacy blog – I sporadically post there. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a wonderful, accurate and amusing post! Thanks for sharing this rant. Unfortunately, there’s no way to stop spamming. It turns out that in our world, we must have lots of followers and likes even if we’re posting absolute cow dung. When I started off my blog 2 months ago, I didn’t care about getting a lot of likes or followers. I just wanted to write. If people are genuinely interested in what I post, then that makes me happier than having 1,000 followers who don’t even care about what I write. At least I can engage in meaningful discussions now. I started writing a book months ago, and at one point I just decided it might be helpful to review books and see what other writers are doing that I’m not. Reviewing has definitely helped with my own writing.

    Thank you so much for the follow! I’m looking forward to your future posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent Musings Mike! To be honest we stay clear of FB. SPAM it is the antithesis of what the internet is about USEFUL INFO. We stick to the greener pastures of WordPress. Keep ’em comin!

    Like

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