When I decided to start my blog in March 2011, I wasn’t using Facebook at all. The primary purpose of my blog was to share my short stories, which were being published in online literary magazines; and the secondary purpose was to share real-life stories and photos about my travels.
But when I say “share” in the world of blogging it means something different than it does in the realm of Facebook.
As a blogger, I was putting my posts up here for anyone to read, and if they wanted to, make comments. I was – and still am – extremely proud of the fact that I have a very international readership for my blog. I regularly get visitors from Canada, Northern and Southern Europe, Australia, South and Central America, the Middle East and even sometimes Africa. That’s something that I find very cool about blogging… the ability to reach an audience of readers that goes well outside my normal social sphere.
But the care and feeding of a blog takes effort. I have been lax when it comes to reciprocating readership in the world of blogs. I don’t comment on other people’s blogs too often, and much less so in the past two years, just as my Facebook engagement has increased. And people don’t usually make comments on my posts either, which I understand since I am not commenting on their blogs.
Despite that, my page views, visits and overall blog readership have been maintained at a fairly steady rate over the years. I can usually count on anywhere from 200-225 visitors a month, and if I’m posting more frequently that number goes up. But, I have a passive relationship between me and my readers. People visit, read what I’ve posted, they don’t (usually) comment, and click on to the next thing.
So, the reason my Facebook engagement has increased is obvious, or it is to me at least. I have made my Facebook page private. Only people who are my friends on Facebook are permitted to see my page. And my personal rule has been that only people I actually know become my friends on Facebook. I may have only met them once, but for me, ensuring there is a “real” in-person personal connection makes a big difference.
Over at least the past six months I have been posting to Facebook several times a week. My life has transitioned from focusing on writing to focusing on actively participating as a jazz vocalist in the jazz community in New Jersey and New York City.
I go out to sing in public, with a live jazz band, many times a week. I come in contact with dozens of musicians and singers, and I love to take photographs of the performers at these events and then share them with my friends on Facebook.
Since the people in the photos are also my friends, I get plenty of comments on them. Friends “like” my photos, and get excited and engaged by them. On top of that, my friends share the photos with their friends (the extended social circle) and suddenly there are friends of my friends commenting on my photos and Facebook postings, and liking what I put up.
It’s a compelling model of engagement, since it is based on a real social circle of people I know. Facebook has enabled me to network with hundreds of musicians, and stay in touch with people from around the world who I know personally.
This blog cannot compete with that (I’m not commenting on anyone else’s blog, since many other blogs may have much more active readers than this one!)
Now I’m left wondering how to use this blog. I’m not exactly sure what I still want to say on my blog, but there are topics that I want to cover in more depth – such as my ongoing struggles with being a vegan, for example – that don’t really lend itself to Facebook. I think there also may be things I want to express about jazz singing, and the jazz community, that need more space than the length of a typical Facebook post (which is maybe 3 sentences!)
I’d be curious to know if anyone has had this experience as a blogger (or even as a regular blog reader) and how you have managed to balance the care and feeding of a blog along with the care and feeding of a Facebook page.
After all there are only so many hours in a day to engage in social media activities!