Monday, March 24, 2014

Everybody Wants a Dollar

I've been spending a lot of time on Facebook recently. I was a hold out for a long time. I had no interest in Facebook. I had a blog. I liked my blog. I liked other people's blogs that I used to read regularly. I like the people who comment on my blog and follow my blog. I loved the interaction. I didn't know anything about Facebook - at that time - but I was happy where I was, and I didn't see any reason to change.

And, then, I had a book published, and someone told me that being on Facebook would be a good way to promote my book. So, reluctantly, I threw my proverbial hat into the ring and joined the throng of other users.

Facebook is like some weird morph of a forum and a blog - but it's neither, too, because a forum is completely public. I can control who sees what I post, and if I post something on my Facebook page, and I don't like someone's response, I can (I haven't, but there's the possibility) ban or block them. With a forum, there isn't that freedom - at least not for the average user (sometimes moderators have the power of delete).

A blog is like a personal magazine. It is one "owner" who publishes articles, and while there can be feedback (and most bloggers welcome that feedback and absolutely LOVE comments - in fact, it's those comments that keep most of us blogging), there doesn't have to be. The key difference between blogging and Facebook is the length of the entry (at least that used to be true, but Facebook now allows longer posts and added a "note" feature, which is cumbersome and awkward to use, in my opinion), and I have never considered my Facebook page to be a blog. I have had someone say to me, "You blog a lot", and I'm pretty sure she meant that I post a lot of stuff on Facebook, because I'm pretty sure that person has never seen my blog.

Recently, Facebook has started making some changes. It started out as a free service to users and is/was a huge hit. They've linked millions of people together and allowed us to find people we hadn't seen in years. I reconnected with my very best friends in both junior high school and high school with whom I'd lost contact, because I moved, and it wasn't important enough to either of us to write letters and keep the friendship alive. Things had moved on. We'd moved in different directions. Along comes Facebook, and we're back in contact ... long enough to say hello. They're still my "friends" - on Facebook - but we rarely, if ever, talk.

There are people I've met via the Internet - this blog and Facebook - that I don't know in person. I feel very close to many of these people, and while it's possible that we're in a Brad Paisley song, as I've been honest about my lifestyle, I believe they have been, also. So, yes, I do feel like I know them, and I don't think they'd be surprised or disappointed by anything they found were they to show up on my door ... except, maybe, I might be a bit wigged out if someone were to just "show up" - just FYI if you're planning a road trip here. You should probably email me first ... or something.

From the beginning, Facebook has been earning its money by advertising - much the same way that local, small town newspapers earn money. I've been on the Internet for a very long time, and during that time, I've attempted a few commercial websites. I've even solicited advertisers for those websites, and I know that businesses are very willing to pay a lot of money to get their business seen by people who use the Internet (which is why I've never gotten any advertisers - except Amazon, and "affiliate links" isn't the same as paid advertisers ;)).

According to this article, Facebook is preparing to make some changes to how they allow people to do business on their social media site. Right now, many Facebook users post comments and observations and opinions on Facebook as a "page". For many bloggers, who've always been careful about sharing very personal info (like family member's names, for instance), there is a need to separate their public personas from their personal profiles - where they might be linked to young friends or family members whose identities they want to protect. Business pages on Facebook don't link content in the same way that Facebook links and shares information on our personal pages.

I have more control over who sees what on my personal page than I do on my "business page", but in the strict sense of the word, the Surviving the Suburbs Facebook page is not a "business" page. I don't make any money from my Facebook page, and I don't make any money on my blog. It's kind of funny that Facebook, now, wants me to pay to "boost" my posts so that those people who have liked Surviving the Suburbs (presumably so that they can keep up with what I'm posting) will see what I post.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this new turn of events.

And I've been thinking I should really pay more attention to my blog, anyway.

**For the record, I'm not complaining about Facebook, and I'm not criticizing them. It's a free service (at the moment), and the platform they offer is pretty impressive. If I'm not happy with the way they do things, I'm completely free to leave. They'll still have my information, which they've been data-mining since I joined in 2011, but they won't get any new data about me (and we humans are very dynamic and ever changing ;)).


  1. I'm new to Facebook too and already I hate it. It was the way it told everyone it was my Birthday - did I even enter that data? Half the posts that come up from my acquaintances are either winning a new level on a game or cute/ silly pet antics. But it is not the complete waste of time that bothers me most, it is all the information being extracted that is a worry.

    I really do love my blog though and lots of other peoples blogs. I am the kind of person who would scrawl pages of thoughts and ideas in notebooks, and rarely have the opportunity to discuss them with people, whereas a blog lets you throw your ideas out there. Plus you really feel like you get a sense of the writer and yes you do come across as being a very genuine person.

    I have posted about 'Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs' on my blog.
    I hope that it is feedback that you enjoy. Please keep blogging :-)

    1. This comment is exactly the kind of feedback I enjoy ... that you also added anything about my blog to your blog is humbling, and I really appreciate it.

      Judy - I like your blog also. You have a lot of very good ideas and lots of wonderful, well researched information. I love the things you're doing and how much care you're giving to lower your overall footprint. Bravo to you!

  2. Maybe I should blog again. Facebook does get boring and I have over 4,000 Facebook "friends" of whom most I know nothing about.