(Quick update on my mom–she is still in the hospital but she made it through the surgery and after a rough patch is now doing really well. I’m sorry it’s been so quiet here. Lucy, I can e’splain! Guess who has been at a blogging conference all week? That would be me. Guess who left her laptop in the car at the airport on accident? Yeah, also me. I will blog about all that later, but for now I’ll give you this ditty. I wrote it for BlogHer but the discussion was totally interesting so I’m posting it here. Thanks for the understanding!)
**Additional edit: This was written for a huge website and was meant as broad commentary and discussion on blogging. Even though it can be frustrating to see commentary drop off in general, in no way am I whining or begging for more comments. Y’all are lovely and I am grateful for every single one I get on whatever place it is left and am hugely happy people are even reading. It’s been eye-opening to see how the different spaces evoke different translations. If I made anyone feel inadequate as a reader I apologize. Let’s hug, dudes.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.
(Except for endless request to join apps and requests from Mafia Wars, Farmville and the like. Those I just simply HATE. With a blinding fury that I might have to possibly consider getting help for.)
I’ve been blogging since 2005, and I have been no blogging “overnight sensation.” (Heck, I’m not even a blogging “sensation” after 6 years. A ‘snstn’ maybe, but I have a LONG way to go before I can afford to buy the vowels to go in that title to make it complete.)
Whenever someone asks one of the “FORBIDDEN BLOGGING QUESTIONS” — 1. How much traffic do you have? 2. How much money do you make blogging? 3. Can I have the email address of your contact at Disney*, I cringe.
There use to be a saying that “comments don’t always accurately represent blog traffic.”
This has never been more true.
And I think a good deal of that is due to that big, blue, frienemy of the blogger called Facebook.
I was aware of Facebook from the first few months of starting my blog.
It’s a pretty long story but my first “fans” were in the Communications, English and History departments of a small university in Bemidji, Minnesota. And as I got to know them, I heard a lot about writing on everybody’s “walls.” It was mainly for college kids at the time, and I really gave it no thought at all.
I signed up for it at some point but it just sat there. I think I had an account for a year before one of my friends finally wrote something on my wall.
AND THEN IT EXPLODED.
And I saw what it did to blogs.
I saw what it did to my own blog.
Where I used to get an average of 60-80 comments a post. While I can still pull in 3-digit comments on the important posts, I am often lucky to get 30 or 40 comments now. (Sometimes I am annoying and flat out ask people to comment so my poor mother will stop calling me with worry that my blog is sucking up a storm. She’s cute that way.)
Also, a lot of people don’t have as much respect for HOW FLIPPIN HARD IT IS to get blog comments because getting Facebook commentary is pretty easy to get. (Don’t believe me? Log into your husband’s Facebook profile. Type “I PINK PUFFY HEART JUSTIN BIEBER” and get back to me on that.)
The commentary now sort of confuses and frustrates me. I am not sure WHY it is, but people will come from Twitter or Facebook, read my post, then GO BACK to Twitter or Facebook and comment THERE. I do it all the time (AND I LOVE ALL COMMENTS FROM ANYWHERE) so I am certainly not going all “I SHALL SMITE THEE WITH STONES, YE SINNER!!!” on you all. I just don’t get WHY we all do this. Why do I do it if it bugs me?
Am I in a hurry?
Do I feel like I need to reply in the medium I came in contact with the link?
Am I a freaking snob?
(AND WHY CAN I NOT FIND A PLUGIN FOR WORDPRESS THAT COLLECTS COMMENTS TO A POST FROM SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUTS THEM ALL IN MY BLOG COMMENTS?! I NEED TO KEEP TRACK OF MY VALIDATION, PEOPLE!)
And as for traffic, well … yes. My traffic has suffered. I am not ashamed of my traffic. It’s not amazing or huge, but for a personal blogger, it’s pretty darn swell. But for my length of time online, my reach, the exposure and opportunities I’ve had, it should be doing more. My growth has slowed WAY down since Twitter and Facebook became part of the common vernacular.
It’s taken a toll.
People only have so much time to be online, you know? Okay, those of us who make a living at this blogging/social media thing are online a lot more, but our time is STILL parceled out and stretched thin. Reading blogs now has to compete with a gajillion social media sites, with Facebook being the mother of them all.
HOW CAN WRITING ABOUT SURGICALLY RECLAIMING MY BOSOMS AFTER LOOKING LIKE A CAUCASIAN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COVER MODEL AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS POSSIBLY COMPARE WITH HARVESTING YOUR OWN FRUIT AND DECORATING YOUR FARM WITH BALES OF HAY IN FARMVILLE, PEOPLE?! HOW, I ASK YOU????!!!! (Ok, that one actually did pretty well, but as history has shown, bosoms have magical powers beyond measure, yo.)
Don’t get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY get traffic coming from Facebook, but I cannot think that there would be more coming to my site for longer/reading more, if it didn’t have to compete with Facebook. It’s like the homely girl who is deep and interesting having to compete for the attention of the boys when her college roomates are all blonde cheerleaders with plenty of exposed T&A. Sure, some will stop and get to know her and she’ll have a cult-like following that hang out with her in the student center but for the most part? But it’s more work and a lot more rare. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the quick and easy booty, people.
As a final disclaimer, I totally admit that the decline in comments could totally just mean that I suck. Or smell like feet. Or both. (Which would make me sad. And make me want to sob on Skype with someone. Or put EMO tweets about WHY DOES NO ONE LOVE ME ANYMORE?! Or eat an entire pie.)
I love Facebook, I really do. And I DO get traffic from it, but it’s been a little like watching Wal-Mart come in and take big, shark-like hunks out of the little mom & pop store that you’ve worked so hard to establish.
And I hate that.
But not as much as I hate Facebook apps.
Just so we’re clear.
What about you? How do you feel about Facebook? Has it hurt your blog? Has it helped your blog? Do you prefer it to reading blogs?
*I don’t actually have a contact at Disney.
**I think I am likely a wee bit weird for them.
***Although maybe my abundance of smiley emoticons will even the playing field for me! :) :) :) :) :) :)