Why 1,195 Facebook Friends May Mean You're a Loser

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facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

 

On this blog I’ve mediated a lot on the nature of friendship and also described the shortcomings of being an expat in a constantly shifting community. Becoming a self published author has ratcheted up the nature of this long standing inquiry towards larger questions about the nature of friendships in the 21st century. Friendships that make up networks which are supposed to be the backbone of a distribution channel. If people mystified me before I started publishing ebooks, I’m out and out stumped now. I”ll give you three case studies as to why.

1. Voting

In the nearly two years since I’ve been a blog tour host, I’ve never won the traffic breaker poll. To win, a blogger has to get people over to a poll to click their blog name. That’s all. There’s no merit involved. The average winner has 100 votes. The most I’ve ever had is 3. According to my network stats, the goal of 100 should be fairly easy to reach as this is about 1% of my “friends” on Facebook.

2. Liking

During a Skype chat, my mother admitted she hadn’t yet liked my Amazon.com page for a newly released title. My own mother. No wonder the goal of getting to 50 likes on Amazon was a monumental task, even for someone with a newsletter distribution of 75 people.

3. Winning

Perhaps you’re not that compelling, you’re thinking  and it’s an idea that has occurred to me as well. Imagine our surprise when our son was a finalist for a “Beautiful Baby” contest sponsored by a photo studio. Here surely was a cause that our friends and family would rally around. Well, he has yet to break 100 and the winner has nearly 400 votes. And yes, someone in our family went to the voting page and actually like another baby. (Voting is open until the 25th, so give the kid in the blue a like).

4. Kickstarting

As someone who has funded friends to walk/run marathons, produce their own music, or live their dream at a certain moment, imagine my surprise when at least these same people didn’t join a Kickstarter campaign to fund a pilot for a TV show I was working on. I didn’t want to push, since of all the examples, this is the one that is tied to money. But the mailing list of another Kickstarter campaign sent me weekly updates on their fundraising. Updates that included a “we did it.” Sadly, my campaign could not say the same.

 

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15:  Facebook founder...
SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a special event announcing a new Facebook email messaging system at the St. Regis Hotel on November 15, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Facebook will launch a new messaging system aimed at enhancing it's social media product to its 500 million users. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

So what is it? What is that the others who are getting the likes, winning the traffic break, the mamma whose kid has 400 fans, what are they doing I’m not? I don’t quite know but I do know that the answer will be important to me as I continue to write, market, and promote my work. There are dozens of articles telling us not to spam people with our links or requests. But how else to explain the phenomena of in a world of online voting?

The last two activities are the ones that make me cringe. Self promotion has never come easy. After all work should speak for itself. Apparently not in the era of social media. Relentless self promotion is how to mobilize. Perhaps irritating someone is better than people not knowing that a contest is even happening (as two of my friends professed on the baby contest at lunch this weekend). What do you think? What makes you give a click? Where is the line between friendship and support?

One thing is certain: indie authors rely on the kindness of strangers who often become friends. I’m hosting Michelle Cornwell-Jordan today and her cover reveal for Night School for this very reason (and why I have the Writer’s Studio). Michelle’s solo debut YA title Night School: Vampire Hunter Bk.1 (Angel) releases March 31st 2012. The first in a trilogy, Night School mixes a little of Michelle’s favorite obsessions: Twilight versus Buffy the Vampire Slayer! (Amazon,BN.com, Smashwords &Goodreads). Read more about the heroine Dasheen and Michelle’s work below.
Dasheen Bellamy has lost everything. Now with just her brother, they enter Ame Academy. Soon her only family is threatened… That’s unacceptable… Dasheen enters Night School…where the monsters play…. Angel is born… She is a Vampire Hunter and also…Angel is like any other kid…except the monsters are afraid of her…

Twitter: @mcjordan37Michelle Cormwell Jordan

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Michelle  is a book lover, with YA paranormal adventures as her favorite genre, although she can be a glutton for any young adult title. Michelle’s other love is writing, Michelle has been writing about as long as she has been a bibliophile! Losing herself in a fantasy world that she or others have created is how she loves spending her spare time. Along with author Danny Jones, Michelle Cornwell-Jordan completed, a YA paranormal called Reahket, which is available on Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, Smashwords and Goodreads.

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Reader Comments

  1. MAJK

    Social media is just that – it is social. People will talk about doing this or that but then rarely actually get to doing it. People by nature are lazy and procrastinate … or maybe that is just me 😉 How many times do you think someone fully intending to click a link begins to head to that site and either gets distracted by something else online or by something happening in the real world? I think more often than not.

    ~MAJK~

  2. Kathy Radigan

    This post had me laughing as well as feeling bad for you!! I always laugh when I see my Alexa ranking because I’m always popular in places I never heard of instead of the state I’ve lived in my whole life!! Lol!

    I think the friend who voted for another baby was hysterical and something I could see my own parents doing!! Lol! Thanks for the smile.

  3. Cindy

    There is trend lately to bribe people for likes – which are quite useless as a result. Even before they were not much of a value.

    I mean people “like” something but they are far from using it or they are already using it and therefore they wont make a purchase.

    The only way of using Facebook successfully in order to make money is to build a list. (imho). You bribe someone to get a like. You show them an opt in for something free, and then you throw some offers here and there among other useful messages.

  4. Tiffany

    I feel your pain! When I first started blogging I asked all my fb friends and family to like my blog’s fb page. Less than 10 people actually liked it out of over 150 friends. And they all seem very confused about blogging. What is it? What do you do with a blog? Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers and my new fellow blogging friends. 🙂

  5. KT Hall

    One of my pet peeves about so many of these “Indie Authors” is that, when it comes to self-promotion, all they DO is spam. Twitter is especially bothersome, and I’ve slowly began culling people who’s tweets consist only of “[CATCHY PHRASE] ‘[BOOK TITLE]’ amazon.com/[BOOK TITLE]” Come on, people, you’re writers…surely you can’t come up with something a little more creative other than an advertisement?

    That said, I’m also bothered by these “voting contests”, especially when the contest itself has very little to do with popularity. I actually remember somebody I knew posting a link of Facebook to one of these “I’m in the finals, now I just need everyone I know to vote for me on this website!” The contest was for a scholarship of some kind. Come on, it hardly seems fair for a kid’s possible financial security during college to ride on how many friends and family they have (and believe me, I would be sorely disadvantaged).

  6. KT Hall

    One of my pet peeves about so many of these “Indie Authors” is that, when it comes to self-promotion, all they DO is spam. Twitter is especially bothersome, and I’ve slowly began culling people who’s tweets consist only of “[CATCHY PHRASE] ‘[BOOK TITLE]’ amazon.com/[BOOK TITLE]” Come on, people, you’re writers…surely you can’t come up with something a little more creative other than an advertisement?

    That said, I’m also bothered by these “voting contests”, especially when the contest itself has very little to do with popularity. I actually remember somebody I knew posting a link of Facebook to one of these “I’m in the finals, now I just need everyone I know to vote for me on this website!” The contest was for a scholarship of some kind. Come on, it hardly seems fair for a kid’s possible financial security during college to ride on how many friends and family they have (and believe me, I would be sorely disadvantaged).

  7. RachelintheOC

    I love all your writing and like you everywhere I can. So there.

    That said, spamming links isn’t the answer and I’ve somehow become the Twitter snarksperson for this. Probably my post last week shaming people for doing it had something to do with the it perhaps? Regardless, you’re doing all the right things, it’s usually a simple matter of right place, right tweet, right blog title. Something catches fire.

  8. Laura

    Great post! It seems like there might be some magical place in between over self promotion and under self promotion. Like all magical places, it is difficult to find. Different people respond to different things so promotion needs to be varied to reach more people. Some people respond to requests for support. Maybe others respond to more indirect tactics, like people who need to think they come up with an idea themselves in order to support it.

  9. futuredoll

    You have reached a new reader via twitter! I also have 500+personal FB followers & had trouble getting my 30 for the “vanity” URL needed for my business page!

    Can’t wait to read more!

  10. Lauren

    Online popularity is a mystery to me. It seems some people (who are maybe not so good) get tons of followers and fans while others (who are quite good) have only a few loyal ones.

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