Today marks the end of Facebook for me. If you follow me over there, note that my participation on the platform will be seriously curtailed going forward. (I can’t delete it entirely, no matter how much I want to because my publisher uses it to communicate and host release parties. More on what I will still be doing and where in a minute.)
Why? Why would I do this when all of the marketing advice screams, “You have to be on Facebook!”
I have quite a few reasons, not the least of which is this: I simply don’t like Facebook. When I began the journey to publication, I was told to get on Facebook. When I was published, my publisher required a page. Even from the beginning, I didn’t feel at home on Facebook. The “system” you had to follow to gain visibility was a mystery to me. (Still is; more on that in a minute.) All that personal information flying around seemed weird to this introvert. And all the spam and begging for likes just made me tired.
So it was a flawed relationship from the beginning, and it’s only gotten worse. Here are the rest of my reasons for reaching the end.
Life is too short to chase algorithms.
Every time you turn around, Facebook is changing its algorithms, and not usually in ways that actually help authors (or anyone) gain exposure. I’ve watched too many of my author friends panic over every little change and drop in visibility. That just isn’t a life for me. Chasing algorithms and worrying about who sees what isn’t what I want to waste mental energy on. Plus it takes me away from producing actual content. You know, the books and stories you want to read.
The whole Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about how Cambridge Analytica purchased millions of Facebook user’s information and used it to, in essence, manipulate the 2016 election. And Facebook had nothing to say until it blew up in their face. They were not sorry they let it happen, only sorry they got caught.
The sad thing is, I wasn’t even surprised this was going on. I had a feeling for a while that Facebook’s users were for sale to the highest bidder. (As is most social media data, I suspect, but for some reason Facebook seems very good at getting people to reveal every detail of their lives, making it a goldmine for the unscrupulous.)
Now they’re evaluating your “trustworthiness,” but not explaining how.
Now, in an effort to stop the spread of false news, Facebook is giving users a trustworthiness score that will also determine how visible your posts become. Yet they’re not telling you how you will be evaluated, or what your score is. Yeah, not a fan of the lack of transparency here.
Having to pay for everything is a bummer.
Facebook figured out that people were so desperate to overcome the algorithms and gain exposure, that they basically started giving you ways to pay your way around the gatekeeper bots. You can pay for ads and you can pay to promote your posts. If you’re not willing to pay, however, you can expect your posts to languish in the land of invisibility. Sorry, I have better things to spend money and time on.
The platform is rapidly devolving into “just people who pay” because people who don’t pay for stuff don’t fill Facebook’s coffers, so their stuff is never seen. If I want to see paid ads, I can just watch more TV.
It sucks to create content that people never even see.
For a while, I was experimenting with the Notes feature on Facebook, using it to write bonus blog entries for the people who followed me over there. I don’t think anyone ever saw them. Facebook simply didn’t make them visible to my followers because I wasn’t paying. It sucked to waste the time when I could have just put them on my blog. (And I’ve since moved some of them over here.)
I’m not sure it’s relevant anymore.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of my readers are not on Facebook and the rewards are no longer worth the time investment. (I love those of you who follow me over there! I’m just not sure there are enough of you anymore.) Whether it’s the aging of the platform, the flight over scandal, or just social media fatigue, the level of engagement and interest just aren’t there anymore.
And now they want me to talk to strangers?
Facebook is now rolling out a new thing where you’ll be shown people who share something in common with you (picked, of course, from the data you post on the site). The idea is to get people talking about common interests, but I’m really not keen on the idea of Facebook passing my information around like chips at a party.
So, yeah… Those are the big reasons. But, as I mentioned above, I can’t actually delete Facebook. (Major bummer.) My publisher requires it, so my page will still be up there. I simply won’t be visiting it, or posting to it very often. Book release parties will still be on Facebook, and I’ll administer any giveaways, etc. that my publisher puts on. I’ll still post big updates like book releases, special deals, and the occasional thing to promote my work at iSlaytheDragon, but that’s going to be pretty much it. (I may also use it to host some live writing videos/chats, because it’s either that or sign up for Twitch. We’ll see, but I really don’t want to sign up for another account somewhere.)
So where will I be, and where can you talk to me?
I’ll still be here, of course. I welcome your comments on the blog. Comment moderation is on, but rest assured that as long as you’re not a troll, I’ll approve your comment and reply as appropriate.
I’ll also be on Twitter. Twitter suits my personality much better, allowing me to hop in and out, chat for a few minutes and then get back to work. I think it’s more of a two-way platform, allowing me to form quasi-relationships with readers, other authors, and gamers. It’s like chat, but you can come and go and pick up where you left off. It’s far less time consuming and while there are algorithms involved and I’m sure data is being sold somewhere, it’s far less blatant than Facebook.
I may or may not be on Instagram. I’ve used it in the past and enjoyed it, but as it’s owned by Facebook and falling victim to the same algorithmic gamesmanship (where can you put your hashtags this week?), I have my reservations. We’ll see on that one.
I’m active on Pinterest, as well, and while that’s not as much of a conversation, it is a place you can visit to see what I’m interested in.
I think this “end of Facebook” will free up a lot more time and mental space in my little world. That time can be put to more productive use, like actually getting more writing done, and trying new forms of content like videos and podcasts. (Maybe. They are things I’ve been thinking of. We’ll see.)
(Photo courtesy of Alexas_fotos)