Is Facebook Still Cool?

For years now, writers have been told that to promote their books, they need to sign up for Facebook, mostly because when Facebook was new, very few authors used social networking sites to engage with readers so those who did found a goldmine. Ever since then, authors by the hundreds of thousands have joined Facebook to find readers and found only other writers. Why? Unless you are a known writer, readers aren’t searching you out. Writers try to connect with everyone FB suggests or anyone they come in contact with, but readers don’t. They have no reason to connect because they have nothing to gain by it.

Because of the peculiarities of Facebook, I am connected to very few people outside the writer’s community (and those few non-writer connections are mostly family or real life friends). It’s hard to believe that with over 900 million users, I can’t break out of this tight enclave into the mainstream of Facebook, but I have nothing to say to anyone besides what every other author says, “Buy my books,” and even I know that doesn’t sell books. Mostly what I do is use Facebook as a bulletin board to post links to my blog posts. I also scan my feed to see if anything interesting is going on, (so-and-so’s book is being given away free on Amazon, such-and-such a book is on sale for 99¢ . . . yawn) and finally check in with my writing discussion group.

Shouldn’t there be more to such a vast network than a writer’s group? But then, I have made a lot of online friends through Facebook, I keep up with many of my fellow Second Wind authors on Facebook, and I try to get to know the people I am connected with. Considering that joining Facebook used to be a coming-of-age ritual for thirteen-year-olds, it’s amazing I’ve found anything to do on the site! I mean really, what could I possibly have in common with such new and untried persons?

Along with all the other problems Facebook is having (such as not finding enough ways to gouge money out of us via ads), they now have to contend with the loss of their youngest members. Among some young teens, it’s no longer considered cool to join facebook — they prefer to text or to join sites where they are not pressured to connect to everyone in their class. No wonder there are so many offline traumas instigated by online life. The unpopular kids can never get away from their unpopularity. And anyway, why would they join a network that is aging? Facebook is eight years old, which in online years has to be closing in on 57. (Assuming web years are equivalent to dog years.) Even worse, from the point of view of a young teen, is that more than one-fourth of FB users are 50 to 64 years old.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. It started out as a light-hearted commentary about the whole Facebook phenomena, and I planned to end up with saying that there are worst things that joining Facebook to connect with readers and finding only writers of a certain age, but I’ve since discovered a fb author friend plagiarized something I posted on Facebook, which is so not cool. So now I have no end to this post. Except maybe to say that I need to stop spending so much time online.

9 Responses to “Is Facebook Still Cool?”

  1. Rosie Smith-Nazilli (@MrsNazilli) Says:

    I so have to agree with you..

    From a writing point of view I just find that it is broken up into little groups who promote the hell out of each other and leave the rest of us out in the cold.

    I have made some worthwhile connections and I do promote people who take the time to interact, but in all honesty I have moved on to places like Triberr which I find to be a lot more beneficial.

    Having said that.. from time to time something does catch my eye..xx

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I always check out other sites I hear about, but so far I haven’t found any site that seems a good fit. I also don’t have the energy to try to develop a following on another site, so I’ll stick with Facebook a little longer.

  2. Rosie Smith-Nazilli (@MrsNazilli) Says:

    ps: Please feel free to bring your Book Tour my way.. always happy to help..x

  3. joylene Says:

    I do use it to promote my blog. But I can justify that because I do feature other writers. Haha, like that makes it okay. But really, none of this marketing stuff sells books. The only thing that sells books is word-of-mouth. Though I must admit sometimes an author will do a review and I’ll end up looking for the book online. And–when authors give away free copies, I try to grab one. I love reading, but I have a budget I need to adhere to. Bummer.

  4. Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective Says:

    Yeah…not too happy with facebook. It’s one way I have used to stay in contact with people I know and to keep track of what/how they are doing, but I really don’t find it very effective any more. From what I’ve read, only 12% of friends actually see anything you may post. That’s a very low average, imo.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I doubt that many people see anything we post. Facebook shows posts to about 10-12% of our connections, and if the people are doing something else at the time rather than watching their feed, they won’t see it. It’s even worse for pages — they are trying to get people to pay to show their posts to more of the people who liked the pages.

  5. lvgaudet Says:

    I’ve found that in my experience, I’ve encountered three main types of Facebook users.
    1. The gamers. These are the people who seem to have endless time and money to waste on mindless games. They can be entertaining when you are completely bored and in a rut, but seriously? How do you achieve anything without “friending” hundreds of fb users and convincing those friends to be “neighbors” for each game, plus spending money on all the “premium” stuff. I’d rather go buy a good bottle of wine and spend that time with my spouse.
    2. The everybody’s my friend. These are the people who friend indiscriminately and in massive bouts of “friending” people they don’t know just because they are friends of friends of friends.
    3. The writers. Yeah, you know who you are. You friend other writers, you schmooze, you send umpteen “buy my books” promos, and commiserate with each other over those bad reviews, rejections, nasty hater-fans, and people who tell you your writing sucks even though everybody else you know says it doesn’t.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’ve stopped accepting indiscriminate friend requests — I just don’t have the time to check everyone out — and sometimes people get very upset. As if I’m supposed to accept their request just because they sent it. The number 2’s often blend into the number 3’s. If people didn’t want something, they wouldn’t do massive friending. I think the constant bragging bothers me even more than the commiseration. Every time someone’s ranks in the top 100 in a category on Amazon, they start bragging about being a bestselling author. Every time I sell a copy of Light Bringer, I get in the top 100 just because the category Amazon put the book in is so narrow, but I’d be embarrassed to call myself a bestselling author.

  6. John Reed Says:

    Facebook,the Emperor of self- publishers, appears not to be wearing pantaloons.

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