Have you heard the news? Facebook is killing how we connect with our audience.
Ok, maybe I am being a little dramatic, but not by much. Some people are blaming Edgerank, an algorithm developed by Facebook to govern what is displayed and how high on people’s news feed. In conjunction with this, what is ranked highest and placed on the news feed is, others say, what is paid for – in other words, what you pay Facebook advertising dollars to promote.
We have all noticed our reach significantly decline on our Facebook stats. People who willingly “liked” our pages might still not get to see what they signed up for because Facebook is picking and choosing at will.
It’s coming down to paying to be seen. Brands are using their marketing money for the cause, trying to protect themselves against the many glitches around advertising on Facebook by hiring consultants to manage against the numerous amount of bots that rigged the system they are paying for, pushing up the cost of messages-turned-paid-for ads that aren’t really being seen by that many “real” people otherwise.
Bloggers are freaking the hell out.
“How will people see my content?” “How will I reach my audience?” “Holy mother of God what will we do NOW?”
I get it.
This is what marketers and brands and agencies have done to blogging.
Yeah…that’s right. I’m looking at you.
By classifying the blogger and/or their content’s worth and value based on the number of “likes” or “followers” or “Alexa ranking” or “unique readers” and at times rewarding them handsomely so that they connect you with the people you hope are real and potential consumers, you have contributed to turning bloggers into marketing junkies and creating bloggers who live for no other purpose than to churn out numbers. High numbers for the promise of opportunities.
This is what bloggers have done to blogging.
Yeah…that’s right. I’m looking at you.
You have relinquished your control and your power over your blog to the likes of Twitter and Facebook and Google+. What once used to be the excitement to share a story, even if only one person read it and responded, has turned into an obsession over how many comments you can get. How many readers you can reach. How many people retweet or like or worship you.
We’ve created titles like “popular blogger” “celebrity bloggers” “big blogger”. And I have to ask: What the f*ck, people? What has happened to blogging?
I came to Facebook very, very late in the game. And by the time I did, I had developed a nice following of readers, many of whom I considered friends because of my interactions with them either on Twitter or in person.
More often than not, I used Twitter to rant and rave, chat and respond…and I loved it.
Lately those conversations have gotten harder, in part because Twitter too is picking and choosing who can see what on eachother’s stream, and I miss seeing people that I know are there, but for whatever reason Twitter has chosen to unfollow or just not let on to my Twitter world.
I won’t deny that I have a media kit that I present to potential clients and advertisers for jobs, opportunities, and advertising dollars.
But I will admit that what I love about blogging, more than anything at all, is the story telling itself and the genuine conversations I have with the people who read me – whether they be two or 20. And meeting them, in person, when ever I can.
And…I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of it being about the numbers. I’m exhausted of having brands talk to me about “my reach” and not about “my voice”. I’m exhausted of hearing “experts” get on panels telling me how I can “increase my stats” as opposed to talking to me on how to find motivation when it fails me, or deal with writer’s block, or stay true to my voice, or effing learn how to just write better.
There are bloggers who are there to make money and literally find the SEO, statistic, reach and metrics world absolutely orgasmic. And God bless ’em. They help us understand it all better.
There are bloggers who look to this to help support their families, and man, do I get that too – many a times has a check helped to pay a bill in my household.
But despite it all a lot of us really just wanna be able to write a good story and I say it’s time. It’s time to take back the blog. It’s time to forget about the stats and the likes and the views and just write a damn good story.
And brands, come back to the reasons why you were intrigued with bloggers in the first place: our ability to genuinely connect with our community. Our ability to share with those who trust us and look to us for information because they know we won’t steer them wrong. We might just be reaching Jenny, Jane and Martha. And they may be our only loyal readers, but Jenny, Jane, and Martha have their own following, who have their own following. To judge and select a blogger solely on the numbers in front of you is to limit not only their potential, but your own.
Read us. Connect with us. Get to know us. Let us get back to what we do best!
I am not implying that the practice of sharing our content should be dead. Tweet and Facebook and Google+ your heart out. Because it feels good to share. We want people to know. But let’s keep sight of our intentions and regain the joy for what we do, regardless of what the numbers say.
It’s how so many of us started on this journey in the first place, remember? And we were our happiest, even when we didn’t think there was anyone out there listening.
Those were good times.
And finally, if you are looking to blog to make a crap load of money, well…that ship has sailed. Unless of course, you are also willing to get out there and network, promote yourself, send out emails, freelance, deliver a good product and good content.
Blogging is not going to make you rich.
Yeah, that’s right. I said it.
So have a broader plan in place. Because between all the better blogs out there competing for attention and marketing money, Facebook trying to figure out how to pay back investors, and Twitter trying to make a profit, all we are left with is the choice to do this for the love of it, and do it well so that others will feel inspired enough to want to read more and feel happy in turn.
All we are left with is going back to when it was about the blog and blogging was good.