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What are your best and worst social media sites?
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Social Media platforms are not all created equal. Each has unique features and different audiences. All have challenges for those using it to promote their art. For some, it is impossible to overcome the algorithms and age-old problems of social interaction to excel in finding their niche. But, yes, you can still find me out there on many of the platforms (see my link tree at the top or go here).
What do I mean by the age-old problem? As you already know, social media is a place to socially interact. We should all know what that means! Popularity contests, just like high school, are back in session. There are those who will rise to the top for no apparent reason, and those who are relegated to low or mid-range for no explainable reason either. Think, if you will, about how things socially manifested for you in school and then again at work. It’s an odd little pattern! How does this continue to happen?
Have you ever looked at what you’re doing in comparison to your outcomes? As an author, that should be part of you business plan. I’ve explored this with a number of other authors to see what I could improve on and what is working. For the purposes of this post, let’s focus more on what I am doing wrong. None of my cohort could explain what I was causing me to remain unseen. Following all of the advice of top marketers and those who leverage social media for their own work, I was not failing at following through on any of it.
So what am I doing wrong? I’d say finding myself endlessly linked to other accounts that have no investment in me as a human being, but expect my investment in them is a major issue. You can see the results of that in real life. It’s the befriending takers over real friends conundrum. The issue is that any friendship requires a lot of time investment and heart. That effort is exponential online because of the format in which we interact. Unfortunately, people treat online friendships as feeding stations, forgetting that a real someone has to fill the kitchen from which they’re eating daily.
When you don’t give back, sucking the best out of others for personal satisfaction, you aren’t making real friendships, and you’re using people. Because social media is online, most individuals passively treat it as a feel-good game. They come to get hits of serotonin and nothing more. Yet, they do still forge real relationships with some. The majority, however, are forgotten–eaten up in the exchanges. I’d say, for the most part, people don’t care that this happens at all–unless it’s happening to them.
Part of the issue above is that people want to rise to the top. They still want to be the popular and powerful darling, where people constantly feed them, and they have to do very little in return for it. For the most part, if you became middling in school, you’ll be middling the rest of your days. That, I still struggle to explain how that shakes out. It is unfair and harmful to mental health. We are not feeding troughs for others, but yet, here we are.
The worst offenders in Social Media are: Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. People make tons of posts daily. The usual suspects rise to the top. The algorithm works to hold certain accounts behind. This latter argument can be made for all platforms. If you’re not popular, you’re not making them money. Therefore, your content will be suppressed. They condition people in your friend group to ignore you, by not sharing your content to them, so that those people think you’re not producing anything and are therefore boring. Meaning, you won’t bring the serotonin.
In addition to all of this, certain topics are automatically suppressed. Social media is constructed to also socially engineer. Activists who don’t align with what social norms are desired by those in power (the owners of the corporations and government), then they will have the app ignore you (what is called shadow banning). It’s very much a real thing! I experience is on TikTok because I aligned myself with Native American rights, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA creators and shared their content, even making my own posts of support.
The above describes a point of fascism. In a truly capitalist society, these things are moot. Free speech works itself out. Those viewing your content would decide for themselves if they wish to continue with it. Obviously, we should not stand by for hate speech. That is dangerous and stupid. But allowing groups to organize and target accounts for banning by mass reporting them, having accounts shadow banned (suppressed), and targeting ideologies that don’t align with the power holders is also dangerous and stupid–especially when those values of the powers want to see violence enacted against certain groups and deny them rights (such as medical care, or the use of bathrooms).
This should all sound familiar! It’s been done time and again to suppress and target groups deemed unworthy of respect and rights. The worst has already happened and humanity failed to learn from the Holocaust. That is not unexpected, as they did not learn from the genocide of indigenous people worldwide but especially in the United States (something that the creators of the Holocaust aspired to and continues today). Humanity, also, did not learn from the abuses ethnic oppression of slavery in my country, and the subsequent ongoing fall-out of that terrible and ugly history.
The powers that be, they don’t want anyone talking about that. This is where I get into trouble with social media. These are the things that are suppressed. However, those who do the oppression want you to think that they’re the target. There’s a war on everything they hold dear, please don’t look at the truth behind the curtain.
Social media is a touchy thing. You want to do good things and change the world for the better and, although it is a great way to spread the word, it is also the tool of the oppressors creating mass consensus worldwide. They will continue to oppress and have their attack dogs operate on those accounts who attempt to change things from the engineering they’re attempting to enact. They make sure they hit emotions, so fights break out and there is exhausting drama involved.
Above all, social media decides for itself who will rise to the top (usually the most vapid and pointless accounts) to distract the masses from anything worthwhile. Fomenting discord is the other purpose (note how they don’t mitigate trolls at all). In the end, our books and our art aren’t going to make the cut, because we don’t suit the agenda of the platforms or the powers leveraging them.
Be more vapid and you’ll rise like carbonated foam on a fresh soda. Just know, much like that foam, you’ll dissipate quickly if you don’t keep feeding them that serotonin. Our biggest mistake is to think that you won’t have to feed the emotional needs of others from a mental kitchen you stock all by yourself. You’ll always give more than you get. If you can handle that, make the most of what you do get, then you’ll be okay.
My favored platforms are LinkedIn (because I learn a lot there) and TikTok, because I get a lot out of it, even if I don’t get much in return on my own work. Facebook and Instagram are middling for me. The rest have fallen so far, but I do still use twitter to share quick posts and sharpen my mental claws on trolls.
Less social platforms that I use: YouTube and Pinterest. The less social, the more I tend to like them. Unfortunately, YouTube does very little to mitigate comment trolls, so it can be frustrating there. I try to ignore the comments on the videos I watch for this reason. It just ruins the whole thing.
In the end, keep putting out your great content. Find out what you value the most and run with it. You’ll always battle the platform algorithms, and often you won’t rise because of engineering. Love yourself. Or, you can be vapid and post ridiculous content for attention. I just advise you understand the outcomes in their entirety, and don’t think for a minute you’ll be exempt. Take what you can and leave the rest. Make good friends, not friends that use you–just like in life. Pay attention to the energy of the waters (meaning be in the know about how the social media platforms are ebbing and flowing).
Any platform could hold your niche. All of them are a pain in the ass for various reasons. Will we ever graduate this perpetual Mean Girls High?
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