When I first set about blogging, as you may remember, to fill the time of being unemployed whilst also showing I can manage content generation. It was a blissful time, and I had weeks worth of content up and prepared at any one point. Though as I was by myself there was no feedback or community to it. So I joined some Facebook groups.
Now these Facebook groups varied in seriousness and attitude. From people starting out, to those established with sponsorship and advertising deals. It was wonderful getting access to these people who had such a wealth of information on the world of blogging.
Then came the requirements. You had to respond to each post within a certain time of it being posted. No it didn’t take into consideration your timezone, or even if it applied to you. You still had to put yourself, and your blog forward. I remember seeing on a group that you needed to have a presence on:
and woe betide anyone who wasn’t on them all- and active. This just made no sense to me.
You go where your readers will be, not every social media platform available. You build up a steady activity and following on one, possibly two, before venturing further afield. The splatter gun approach is not successful. It wears you down. Your content is not specific to the market. You’re generalising so more likely to fail.
Then you’ve overstretched yourself- as per the rules, then begins the circlejerk.
Liking and following people’s posts and content that had no interest upon my own. Forcing a half baked comment so as to comply with the rules, but something a bit more meaningful then “Cool“. I understand sometimes what I write about is a little more highbrow than others but that’s not really feedback.
It got to the point that I was suggesting the same thing again and again that I wrote a blog about it. My Tips and Tricks of Blogging for my 50th post. In the hopes that other people who read it and see that it isn’t hard to create something polished. Unfortunately, the majority of the responses were one word and non-committal.
When I started to slow down, with my new job starting and sorting the house and Belov’d ahead of our Corsica trip, I was punished for my lack of activity. I was still meant to respond within the time frame- even if I was without wifi. I still had to review others work, even if I had other things to do.
It was then when I realised how hollow the whole thing was. The follows. The likes. The views. Everything.
The real people who gained from these set ups were the owners and admins of these groups. Who had their posts at the top, knowing full well that their sites would be visited and interacted with. Creating wonderful KPI. What kind of blogs were these people running? Blogs about blogging. Thus perpetuating the perfect setup for themselves. Everyone one of their follows, their likes, their views were justifiable. Could be used to demonstrate how successful they were. Of course the respective subsections also did well; the Mummy, food, and travel each had their own group populated again by people eager to please the group owners and admins.
So I left them all. One by one. Each time they came up in my feed I left the group. I’m sure I got thrown out of a few as well. That was just to reinforce the fact that these groups were for the benefit of the participants- but the owners and admins. I was no longer boosting their numbers, so their “exclusive” club was more than able to remove me from their ranks.
Yeah, it’s hit my figures. But I still have figures. People who are genuinely interested in my work. Instead of people looking at a page because they know that means they’re going to get a similar hollow view shortly. It’s people who actually want to read what I’ve said. By concentrating my social media presence in suitable locations, namely Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I’m building a true following.
I’m not, by any means, saying that every blog written to help other bloggers is done out of a self centred desire for high numbers. I still read the occasional one for ideas on how to improve here. We learn from other people’s example after all. I just want people to be aware what these groups are like- and who they’re really for.