There are techniques one can use to increase visibility for a blog or a Facebook page. (I don’t actively use Twitter, never opened an Instagram account.). I don’t do many of those things. I have reasons…
1) I’m busy.
I have done a few things a person is supposed to do to grow their blog/page. It’s very time consuming. I gave up FarmVille and Words With Friends because of time. I used to write a lot more, enjoy it, but don’t have time for that, either. (I’m supposed to be writing exams and working on my online client files right now.)
2) I don’t care (or I try to not care).
I have always been that person who has one or two close friends. I’m not a social butterfly. I am a nerd. I am some kind of an introvert – a weird kind that apparently enjoys doing some “out-there” kinds of things. Like posing on stage. Like sending my picture to Siouxcountry last December. That impulsive move started everything.
Not exactly sure why I did it. Up to that point, I had been very careful about keeping that image to myself. I was asked to share my story on other pages, but I was very apprehensive. I didn’t want a lot of attention. Remember, I’m an introvert. And I knew it was a dramatic transformation pic, so I didn’t trust strangers to handle things with respect. So why did I send it to Jason? I knew his page was very respectful to female athletes. He’s protective. But what made me send it on that day? Ego. I was feeling a bit feisty and full of myself on that day. (It happens.) I saw a transformation picture of a young woman who lost something like 15 pounds, got a spray tan and heels, and then shared her before/after picture. Ok. I remember thinking that she’s proud and that’s awesome. But that’s not a transformation. THIS is a transformation (i.e. blue plaid shirt to black posing suit pic).
I wanted to pull it back as soon as it was sent. And I spent a good 5 or 6 hours mortified when I picked up the vibe that he needed to check it out because he thought it might be fake. Understandable, I guess, but it was the first of a few times in the past 11 months when I wish I hadn’t sent it.
In about a month, it will be one year since Jason was kind enough to share my story his page and then things took off. He’s been a great supporter since. My page grew, his page grew, anyone who shared the pic saw growth. Any big bumps I get in new Likes are still coming when someone shares a picture of my transformation. (Sometimes, I get lucky and have a good piece of content, but I’ve NEVER gotten a couple hundred new people on the page from a blog post. Just the pictures.) There are still only a few pages that I really trust to handle things well. When a picture is shared, there can be too many negative comments. I do feel attacked and it is unpleasant. Those few administrators handle it for me. (And just when I sound like an ungrateful b*tch…keep reading…)
So all that said – the point of this blog is to remind people who are chasing those “likes” that they should be careful what you wish for. I miss being a private person. I miss being able to have an opinion without creating drama. I can’t vent at will anymore. What used to be an outlet for me has turned into something else. People forget I’m a real person and assume I have thick skin to deflect the ignorant or hurtful things that are said. I honestly don’t think anyone has thick skin. Maybe they just stopped reading the comments. But I do read them. Every one. I manage my Facebook page and this blog like my classroom. Because I do that, people respect the page and play very nicely together. But it has become a little more work and frustration than I anticipated. I also don’t like the OCD-like feeling of having to check it frequently to stay on top of the comments.
Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t started this. I’ve been cyber stalked. I’ve been challenged and maligned. People I don’t know get offended as if I posted that thing directly at them. (Hell, people get the most offended when I post pictures of food that they deem as “bad”. I’m the one who ate it. It’s not like I’ve got you tied to a chair and I’m going to force feed you a Pop Tart. “Nutrition as Religion” is a post that may or may not happen. I’m not sure if I’ve lost my interest or my courage on that one.)
And then Facebook changes a few things and other pages go bonkers trying to increase their reach. Post after post of pages sharing other pages because they are on some kind of mission. I’m sitting over here in my corner of the Internet wondering why. We don’t get anything for it except more time spent managing it all. Given – maybe a little credibility. But the pages I like have seriously good content. Most little pages are just trying to be big pages.
I am very grateful that there are almost 450 people following this blog. I am also grateful that 5800 people “like” the page on Facebook – it’s an ego thing. But many of these people don’t really like me as a person. They will turn on me in a heartbeat. They are consumers and clicking the Like button is like a purchase. They will threaten to take their business elsewhere if I say something that bothers them. That’s fair and reasonable. That’s what I do. If you annoy me – CLICK – and I’m outta here. There is a MAJOR page in our industry where the administrator didn’t think I had the correct opinion when I commented so he ripped me a new one for being stupid – personally, by name. CLICK. And most pages that share his stuff…CLICK… because I don’t want to be reminded how how it felt to be dressed down like that in public. See what happens when you get too big for your britches? Raised wrong, I say. Raised. Wrong.
I’m starting to wonder if page administrators are playing Facebook and “Likes” are the score in the game. Isn’t it just like playing Farmville or Candy Crush – get a little help from your neighbors to progress in the game?
Pretty sure someone will “unlike/unfollow” me right now because I said out loud that I don’t really care how many people “Like” my page and they will take that as meaning I’m ungrateful for my success. Unless the people that follow my stuff are going to to help me move, drive me to a colonoscopy appointment, or go to a movie with me, we aren’t really friends, so it’s cool. Shop elsewhere. It’s social media.
So why not close it down if it’s not fun anymore? I’ve thought about doing just that – a lot. (Many private pep talks from Martha and Kendra to help me keep my head on straight. Thank you!!) I haven’t yet because of one thing – it’s helping a few people. I’m a teacher. That’s not my job, that’s who I am. It’s in my DNA, I think. Every time I get frustrated at work, I plan my escape. I’ve announced my retirement on Facebook, so that’s ‘real’ now, right? And then…the kids come in and sit down. They make me laugh. Some come visit after they graduated. They remind me that what I’m doing is important. Every time I get close to shutting down the Facebook page or just walking away and letting it sit there and collect dust, I get an email or a comment from someone with an amazing story to tell. I am building my post-retirement business on the side a few years earlier than planned because a few really amazing women have shared their dreams and asked for my help. They are willing to hire me and that shows they are willing to invest in themselves so the time I invest in them becomes something of value to both of us. So many others have told me they have done the same thing with trainers in their local area. They are getting the help they need. Real people making real changes in their health – that’s coming from the page. Several people who tell me that they are inspired by what I’ve done are doing more with greater challenges. I’m inspired by them. I’m inspired by YOU. You have no idea how many times in the last year I’ve wanted to sleep in but get up and out because I have to be the example for someone. I usually won’t know who, but I will post that I’ve done it and then an email comes.
I appreciate so much when you share your story with me so I can hang on to your sincerity in this superficial social media unreality.
So for the pages who are overly ambitious about playing the game – stop. Just do your content. Quit trying to be inspirational and just be real. People will find you. People will share your stuff. Post pictures of what you’ve done. People like that a lot. I’ve learned that I can’t hit a home-run every day. Any time I post anything thinking “they will really like this”, it falls flat. It should, too. If it’s not authentic, there is no point.
So, at risk of stealing my friend Colin’s thunder – who has told me at a hundred times – Just Do You.