If you know me personally, follow this blog and/or my twitter, you know that I post a lot of potentially divisive, contentious and depressing topics (politics, death, war). The goal for me in postings these is twofold: (1) sharing content I have read in the hopes that someone in my social network finds them interesting and (2) consciousness raising. Consciousness raising, popularized by feminist scholars, basically means making other more aware of a certain issue or conditions, I.E. #BlackLivesMatter.
Using my Facebook as a template, I’ve created this guide to share some tips on how to get people to actually pay attention to those things that matter to you, the reader. I based these tips on anecdotal evidence and articles I have read along the way. Obviously this won’t work for everyone–you have to tailor it to your personal networks–and I don’t always follow these rules myself, but I think this may help more than it will hurt. Additionally, people have to some opinion on your opinion. Whether they agree or disagree, they need to feel like your content is worth engaging with.
1. Busy, bored, and disengaged; “I didn’t logon to get an education”
Simply put: a lot of people won’t like or notice a lot of what you post, so make it interesting. Keep in mind that outside of your personal relationships with those in your networks, social media is also affected by how much you interact with other people and how much they interact with you. Practically that looks like liking their photos, commenting on statuses, etc. So if you’re not very active, even with these tips you won’t be popping up in people’s feeds as often.
2. Choose a reliable source; ain’t nobody got time for false information.
Can the content be found on another [verifiable] source? If it’s a not a news source, like a blog, does it have a history of great content (like Black Girl Dangerous) ? Does it contain references for the information it cites? This may seem obvious, but it’s important because if you are known for posting from unreliable sources, people are less likely to engage with your content. Examples of sources I often cite include Al Jazeera News and The New York Times, but keep in mind they all have bias.
3. Framing is important; context is key.
Think about your own use on Facebook. What would make you as likely to click on a Buzzfeed article as an NPR article? Outside of the thumbnail used, interest level in the content is a huge factor for many people. Considering #1–people often avoid talking about socially conscious issues–expect that people will only read the headlines of what you post, at best.In order to properly frame an article, see below.
4. Include a comment or quote; make the reader’s job easier.
People will scroll past links, even when you do caption the articles but these people know you through familial, business, or school connections, giving you an in. But chances are, they may not click the link but may skim your comment. For this reason I usually will usually include 2-4 sentences (if it’s too long, people will often scroll past) of a mix of:
5. Monitor posting frequency; be strategic
There are better resources than I to tell you when to post (to maximize peak times for traffic), but I can tell you that Facebook has algorithms and people have limits. Posting too often will mean that your posts won’t show up. Additionally, think of how you “reserve” your likes for a post on instagram. If a friend posts six amazing photos within one minute, many people will not “like” all six. But if she spread them out throughout the day or the course of a few days, she gets the most exposure and higher number of “likes.” The best bet–particularly to make sure people don’t tune you out–is to post less frequently but of a higher quality.
“It is as if facebook has this stranglehold on me and many of my friends, but why do I really go on it?”
–Myself, May 22nd, 2011, “The Social Stranglehold”
*Be warned, y’all, this shit is long and you may just want to skim and read the quotes, beginning, bolded sections and the end. I wrote it to explain the situation to people who had asked, and it got kind-of-a-little-just-a-tad out of hand
Aiight, so here’s the thing. I feel like I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t and I’m stuck in the middle confused. The above quote is from an entry I wrote on this blog over 3 years ago, talking about the first time I deactivated my Facebook profile and the way it changed my outlook on my social media addiction. The feeling of deactivating it and the way I my use greatly declined afterward was surprising and delightful. But given my recent attempt to delete my Facebook profile, I wanted to write about the reasons I still want to delete it and also the sad reality that I’m not sure if I can. Lots of people have asked me why, and it is really hard to put into a few sentences
because I’m dramatic, because it truly is multifaceted. The pros and cons (in no particular order) I have listed below may resonate with you, but they are all my personal, honest experience as to why Facebook makes me feel like it is eating away at my soul.
And finally, Hamm Sammich and Toni Morrison in the same breath:
“But if our existence is to be this tightly bound up in social networks, we should at least give ourselves the chance to agitate and improve them in our favor, since, at the end of the day, an arbitrarily enforced real-names policy is a scary prospect for everybody, not just those of us named after dildos and sandwiches. ”
—Hamm Sammich, September 18th, 2014.
“Can’t nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
–Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, 1977.
Facebook does weigh me down, but here is the positive that I saw before I deleted my Facebook and even more so after my failed attempt. By attempting to delete it, and failing utterly, the conversations that spawned were like going to my digital funeral without actually having to stay dead. I got to know what a select few people thought of it and it shed some light on the way Facebook can connect people and how differently everyone uses it.
Pros – Many are self-explanatory and so the descriptors are much shorter.
Going through the process of deciding to delete it, scheduling it for deletion (they give you 14 days of deactivation to
cave in make up your mind), ultimately coming back and feeling like a dumbass, and finally writing this? Definitely useful in seeing the perceived necessity of the evil known as Facebook. Facebook can be toxic (for me, as opposed to some friends who login once a day and use it as a tool) because it is easy for me accidentally spend too much time on it. But as I mentioned, I’m altering the information I write on Facebook, my friendcount, and the way in which I actually use Facebook. While Facebook has a lot of issues itself, the largest issue is my personal use; I was aware of that and still am. And by deleting Facebook I was taking responsibility in my actions by completely ridding myself of the addiction. I may still eventually do this, but giiiiiirl, I gotta wean myself off of it first. So I’ll start by using it on my terms instead of allowing it to use me and by deactivating it when I feel like I’ve gotten out of hand.
tl;dr (too long;didn’t read): I’m back on Facebook and I love/hate it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts/criticisms/praise/burritos. Please comment below, email me, message me, or hit me up on Twitter @anthoknees