In 2012, I started writing a novel. Despite this being the year when my entire world was crumbing all around me, it was actually a Thelma and Louise type of adventure, with as much comedy as I could muster. Then, shit happened.
A month ago, I came across some of the chapters on an old memory stick. As I read them over, I found that the story still had me chuckling away and I enjoyed myself as I instinctively edited grammar and synonyms. A conversation later that day with Yoda (see previous post if this sounds nuts to you) inspired me to want to continue with the story but I wondered whether I had enough time and headspace to work on the novel as well as my blog.
“If you can increase your readership of your blog, then you will have evidence of a ready made audience for your book, which will make it easier to find a literally agent and publisher” Yoda informed me. As a published author of a number of bloody good novels herself, she made it sound quite easy. One small problem though. I have discovered that I HATE social media!
I haven’t always hated social media. It used to be fun. I used to learn a lot from it. I used to make friends on it and I used to enjoy being part of the online blogging community. That was five years ago though. Now, social media has become such a competitive arena and the pursuit of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ so aggressive, that the cat and mouse game of popularity has all but decimated the community spirit of the online community!
These days, blogging for me goes something like this.
- Spend a lot of time writing a blog post that I feel proud of
- Spend a lot of time finding photos and captions that represent my blog topic
- Upload blog post and hope that readers will enjoy and engage with it
- Share blog post to all my social media feeds
- Get ping, ping, pinged for hours with notifications of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’
- Check my WordPress stats – there have been a few hits, could be worse, could be better
- Go to bed with phone on silent so that the endless pings don’t wake me up
- Wake in the morning to reams and reams of notifications of all my new followers
- Check my follower numbers and discover I am actually down by around 20
- Read comments such as “Oh my Gosh, you are soooo pretty” or “I love your dress”; which seem odd comments to make when I am promoting a blog on beer shits or epi-pens
- Check my WordPress stats – a decent number of visits, only a few of which have come via social media.
I used to wonder what I was doing wrong. I have a Masters Degree in Marketing and PR and I am also a qualified Digital Practitioner and an award winning blogger, so how could I be getting this so very wrong? Could social media engagement really be that different 4 – 5 years on?
That’s when I began to notice posts from other disgruntled bloggers saying the same thing. Fake Likes. I am not talking about the ones that come via bots etc. In this case I am talking about those shallow buggers who bung a bunch of likes on your photos and perhaps ‘follow’ you for a day or so, in the hopes that you will follow back, then they dump you as they need to have more ‘followers’ than their ‘following’ stats. Do they even read the blog posts which they are commenting ‘love your blog ‘ on?
I am not interested in becoming a social media star. I very much doubt anyone has the interest or inclination to support me in being one either. I cant take a decent selfie and I am bored at looking at the selfies of others. Again, I used to enjoy it, and I particularly loved to bung a ‘like’ on posts of ladies who look like they are enjoying life, being positive and looking fab in clothes which I would love to wear / fit in. I enjoyed the escapism of social media, the inspiration and the ‘people watching’ of it all. I’ve had a half-hearted attempt at doing the same kind of pics and similar engagement comments, but I know I don’t pull it off. It’s just not me. If I was good at it, then perhaps my following would be improved, but I very much doubt that it would be reflected in my blog stats, because I am not writing about the ‘ so pretty’ and the ‘oh my gosh’.
I know that every successful blogger will say that it takes a long time to build a following, and since I have only re-launched this blog a few months ago, I should be patient and put the work in. What will be the result though? Will it be what I want?
I want to be a professional writer one day, preferably one day soon. I want to complete my novel, complete my screenplay which I also started in 2012, write a popular blog and also continue to write grant applications and tenders for charities, business proposals and similar work. It’s what I love to do! Increasing a social media following will get me noticed and greatly improve my opportunities as a writer – but does it accurately reflect anyone’s interest in what I have written?
For past post on Yoda, click here