When it comes to Facebook, I was late to the party. I didn’t sign up because I couldn’t be bothered. I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything. Eventually, one of my smart-ass friends, who is obviously more perceptive than I, said my reasons for not joining made me sound old. You know the reasons I mean:
I don’t get it.
I keep in touch just fine without it.
It’s an incredible time waster.
There are other objections (all of which are accurate), but being told my objections aged me was unacceptable. I’ve been thirty-eight for years, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
So, the number one reason I joined, I suppose, is vanity. But, now I’m there, I enjoy reconnecting with people with whom I’ve lost contact…and if you’re wondering if you’re one of those three or four people, the answer is: of course you are.
The second reason I succumbed was the need to create a platform, which simply means, increasing my visibility as a writer. In this day and internet age, when publishers are taking fewer and fewer chances on new authors, we are expected to come with a built-in audience. According to numerous sources, Facebook is a powerful way to build it.
Check out the Social Media and Marketing tab at this link:
When it comes to building a platform, Facebook would have you believe it is a good tool because it allows you to create a Page specific to what you do. So, for a writer, there is an author Page that will help grow a fan base and ultimately sell books…
…and, yes, I’m deliberately capitalizing “Page”, as anything that is not a personal page is referred to as a “Page” by Facebook.
Holy shit, that’s not confusing at all.
Anyway, I took the first step and created a personal page. I began collecting Friends, (even typing that sounds terrible), and (hopefully) creating a certain image that identified who I was and what I was about. For my real friends, my image isn’t a mystery. For Facebook Friends, this image would be the basis of my platform.
Since Facebook’s website is a cluttered, ugly, hard to manage mess filled with shit I couldn’t give two fucks about, I didn’t spend much time there…I didn’t work too hard at building my platform. Even so, I managed to collect 97 Friends!
I finally had a couple of novels ready for the world and the support of some incredibly generous friends who bought books, and to this day, there aren’t enough words to properly say, “Thank you.” However, that audience was limited in size. The time had come to transition from my personal page to an author Page so that I could take advantage of Facebook’s muscle.
Crucially, I did not understand that transitioning is impossible. To have a business Page, you MUST also have a personal page. I assume this is done so Facebook knows who administers a Page, in case of inappropriate content. That seems reasonable but it became an enormous problem…
Since I had two p(P)ages, I decided hiding my personal page was the way to go. That way, if anyone searched me, they’d land on my author Page, which was (almost) the entire reason I joined in the first place.
Turns out, hiding a personal page is also impossible. Seriously, Google it. I did, several times in different iterations, as have many, many others. Strangely, Facebook will not admit it can’t be done. Their Help menu is for shit, and when one of their support clowns addresses the question, they double-speak but don’t answer.
So, even though I created an author Page dedicated to my writing, nobody could see it because friends old and new, still landed on my personal page and typically went no farther. Why would they? Facebook makes a Page difficult to find and since everything about me is right there on my personal page, why would anyone keep searching?
If I couldn’t get people to my author Page, what was the point in having it?
My logic went as follows:
I created a personal page that could not be transitioned to an author Page.
Therefore, what I should have done, was start immediately with an author Page.
Therefore, I will delete my personal page and start fresh with an author Page.
Two weeks after I deleted my account (Facebook won’t allow a person to delete his account without a cooling off period), I signed up again using the author Page template, with the understanding that it had to be linked to a personal profile.
Success? Was my Page now the place where everyone landed, while my personal page hid quietly in the background, keeping Facebook's rule makers happy and not distracting Friends from all the good information on my author Page?
Nope. In fact, I ended up farther behind than I ever.
Even though I started with the author Page template, my personal page is still the place everyone lands. The author Page is as invisible as it ever was. Even though 97 Friends isn’t many, I lost them all and had limited success getting everyone back. Turns out, many of them thought I was hacked and wouldn’t accept Friend requests.
I’ll stick with it since professionals in the writing world agree a writer needs a platform, social media is the way to attain it, and Facebook is the biggest tool—er—player in the room. But, my reticence before I signed up is nothing compared to my dislike of Facebook now.
But, I must admit, it’s nice having a way to stay connected to people who’ve forgotten how email works.
Do you have a “humorous” story about the website the world loves to hate? Let me know!
I’ll talk to you on September 5th about The Power of One.
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