Some thoughts on blogging, social media

I was about to write a review of a book on social media, but I went off topic... here are some thoughts on Facebook and blogging.

The Malditang Librarian Facebook page has reached more than 1,000 likes and follows. Though I am grateful that this increases the chance of having more readers of the blog, I have some things to say about the platform. Before we get into that, the page has a story.

By the way, I am giving away some of my zines to three random people, you can enter the contest by commenting on this Facebook post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday (March 7) so I can send the zines by the weekend. Join!

At first, I was reluctant to start a social media page for the blog. A page would need time, commitment, and engagement to maintain. It would just distract my already divided attention. I have other projects and writing aside from this blog. I started mine when I was in an event with some blogger friends and they asked, "Where's the Facebook page of your blog?". Most of their blogs had pages, so I made one for this. There are rare times I get invited to events to blog about them (thanks to said friends), and the people or groups inviting usually look for a page so they can also check your reach and audience.

On the page, I share my blog entries, useful news, content, memes I made up, posts about random things. I share stuff people request me to share. Sometimes people would ask me questions about librarianship and I try to answer them.

This has led to a weird situation where some people want to know "who is behind Malditang Librarian", and I don't hide it, I frequently share my content with other public pages. I may not accept all friend requests on my personal profile from readers, because I think all the things I need to share are here on my blog or the page. I hope readers understand and it's nothing personal - I share nothing interesting there unless you want to know what I look like, which is even more uninteresting.

Sometimes I do find myself spending more time engaging on the page than my focus with this blog: writing. Aside from checking my profile,  I also check the page's activity. It is tempting to check every share or comment. I admit it makes me lose focus from actual goals. I find that I have to shut off everything else, including social media, while writing.

So, on to what I have to say...

The weird thing is, in the Facebook pages, Facebook always pushes you to pay them to advertise and 'boost' your posts. I'm not using this tool, I'm not really a business page, and I'm not that big of a blog to need paid advertising. There's an unknown algorithm that determines what people see in their timelines. Facebook doesn't really encourage long-form, thoughtful writing - people nowadays usually have short attention spans unless they really want to pay attention. There's the mandatory "See More" link for long posts. Shorter sentences and an engaging picture on a post usually get more shares and likes. Clickbait rules the timeline.

A thousand follows on a page doesn't really say anything, because each post will not be seen by them all. From a number of people who see a post, only around 10% of that will click and read. And Facebook will always remind you that "you can boost this post for this amount of $$$ to reach this amount of people".

I'm not ungrateful at all, if not for the page I wouldn't have reached some people who prefer social networks than good old blogging. Social media is a reality of modern life. Can't live with it, can't live without it. I'm still learning how to use it in a way that brings the most benefit.

I was reading Jaron Lanier's 10 Arguments to Deleting your Social Media Accounts Right Now, and one thing that really stayed in my mind was that in social media, the currency was attention. We don't get paid money to use social media even if they might use our information. Everything we do (and I know I am guilty of this too), every post, is geared to what attention we can get. It's not entirely a bad thing, of course, it's natural for being human. Sometimes we just want to share something with our friends and family.

I'm doing something new, a project I'm really excited about. When my mom knew it, her first reaction was that I "post it on Facebook." Which I didn't do. It made me think, did it happen if it wasn't posted in social media? Do we do things anymore not for their sake but how others might react to it? I chose not to. If I post it in social media, I will be spending more time responding to comments, seeing people's reaction to the post, basking in attention when the focus should be doing the project itself.

So there goes my rant. I'm not a social media hater, I'm also a user. I just feel sad when I realized all the hours I accumulated just browsing the feed. It adds up to lost days and weeks when you think about it. I want to bring my focus back to the present moment, and pay attention to the place where I am.

Post a Comment