Stop, You Don’t Need To Add The Whole World On Facebook!
It will not make you famous or less lonely.
When I started writing short stories on Facebook, I figured I need a crowd. So I added friends from the “People You May Know” tab. I didn’t personally know a single one of them.
It didn’t stop me from getting to 5000 friends.
I sent so many friend requests
People started accepting my friend requests, and the dopamine began pouring into my brain. I thought, wow! So many new people to interact with!
Oh, my naivety broke records.
After a day or two, I quickly arrived at the top. I had 5000 friends on facebook, and I felt awesome. So many people are following me now!
Then, I tried it out
So, I posted a short story I had written a few days prior. It wasn’t heavily edited, but it was nonetheless readable enough.
I pressed the publish button and waited. The minutes had gone by and I, in my naivety, believed it would skyrocket. I wasn’t foolish enough to believe every single one of my friends would read or comment or interact with my post, but I did tell myself: “Where there were five likes, now there might be 50.”
I was dead wrong.
I got around 11 likes to that post. That didn’t improve in the following days.
I started finding excuses to make it work
I started telling myself; maybe these people are not my crowd (which they weren’t). Perhaps I should unfriend some of them and replace them with new people (Nope, that’s naivety again).
I did try to replace some of them, and that wasn’t fortuitous either.
I then realized I’m stuck with these people. They’re cluttering my already saturated feed with new and confusing posts. I can’t keep tabs on my real-life friends like that.
Accepting the truth was bitter
So, after “fighting” the algorithm by manually going to like my IRL friends’ posts and unfollowing(or unfriending) some of the more prolific new friends, my feed was somewhat back to what it was before I added these people though not in a perfect way. Facebook still tries to introduce me to someone new with posts I don’t recognize.
That’s why I stopped adding people I don’t know on Facebook. This is the heart of the problem, though: You don’t know each other. It may have worked if I had added the people slowly and attempted to converse with each one so we can get to know each other. That way maybe I wouldn’t have been just a pretty face in their friend’s list.
The problem with that approach is the same as in every other endeavor: Who the hell has time to develop conversations with hundreds of people?
I resigned myself to pay for exposure
Instead of using my private facebook account to share my writing — I opened a facebook page where I pay money for ads. I know, it doesn’t sound like a better solution, but that’s what facebook conditioned us to do. The social network will not allow you to succeed without using their ad services.
Ads worked far better than posting on my bloated account — but far less than what I had anticipated. I thought I would get a few hundred likes for my best posts.
But I was back to square one: where there were five likes now, there were 50. I got the results I had thought I would receive with my personal account.
I gave up on ads too.
Groups are far more engaging than your feed
Here’s one thing you can do, though: Post in groups.
Groups are pretty big right now on Facebook. If you find a small enough group so that other posters don’t immediately drown your post, but there’s still engagement in the group every day, you may find some readers for your work.
Make sure to post in a way that abides by the rules of the group and also not too much. It won’t be long until some of them read your work — for better or for worse.
Don’t let social media fans stay in social media
The content you post on social media should include a call to action to keep in touch with you. The best way is with a mailing list. Otherwise, you’re not getting anything out of the platform. Likes and shares are meaningless in the grand scheme of things — a new subscriber means the whole world. Although, not every group will allow you to post your mailing list registration link. You should post valuable content and then after there was a bit engagement, offer it in the comments section and let people come forward if they’re interested. When the decision to join your mailing list comes from them, they are more likely to engage with the content you send out.
A subscriber is someone you have direct contact with. They may not open all of the emails you will send them, but they will receive all of them. A Facebook follower doesn’t always receive your messages, and when they do, they will have to stay pretty focused to consume your content amidst a sea of content that tries to pull them away.
Don’t let this happen to you too
Stop adding people you don’t know on Facebook. It will ruin the social experience for you. There are many different ways to share your creations online. You’re better off keeping your personal facebook account just the way it is — personal.
Oren Cohen is a Software Development Engineer, Gamer, Geek, and Writer. He is writing in all sorts of topics on Medium, though his passion lies with Fantasy and Video Games.