How to Kill Your Twitter and Facebook Following
When I started this blog some 15 months ago, it wasn’t about achieving attention or gaining recognition. Plenty of other ways exist to do that, most of them less time consuming.
For me, blogging became an entirely selfish pursuit, the most convenient means of expression. In other words, a way to vent. Rather than screaming profanities at the television or spewing at a computer screen, my blog unintentionally became a sort of safety valve capping a pressure cooker of inner angst.
Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to the number of visitors who came to the site. Read this stuff if you want to, I thought. But I’m not going to lose any sleep if you don’t. I didn’t care about website rankings or SEO features. Why should I? This isn’t a money-making venture, so whether 5 people or 5,000 bothered to log on and read me really didn’t matter.
But over time my attitude began to slowly change. I gradually came to realize it’s important to maximize exposure, especially when discussing important subjects. It’s a waste to write something that’s original and perhaps even inspiring to others, only to have it fall into the abyss of the vastness of the internet.
My attitude towards Twitter and Facebook has also evolved. At first, social media seemed like little more than a worldwide lonely hearts club, each post essentially begging a central question — “please look at me!” There’s still way too much of that. After parsing over some posts, I became bored out of my skull reading about people I’ve met perhaps once or twice, only to be confronted with every intimate detail of their personal lives. Sorry, but I really didn’t care if such-and-such poker player ordered a slice of pizza or got busted with pocket aces. Get a fucking life.
Then, I discovered the signal to noise ratio on both Twitter and Facebook may well be worth the trouble. Hidden amidst the trivial postings of those with so little to say are actually some golden ideas and thoughts. Like a prospector digging for a diamond in a coal mine, it’s all in there hidden somewhere amongst the blackness.
I learned that in order to get something you must give in return. I made one strict stipulation about becoming a “Tweeter” (is there such a word?) and that was the following: I’d post no more than once or twice daily. That’s it. I didn’t want to troll the lists all night long and show the world how much free time I really do waste. Anyone who posts 30+ times a day better be working the news desk for CNN during a crisis, or else they’re a “Twitter terrorist” as far as I’m concerned.
I also came to realize there’s a direct link between entertaining your readers with gaining followers, versus alienating and insulting people and then losing readers. You know, cause and effect. Articles with ceaseless profanity, sexual innuendo, and Left-leaning politics usually resulted in a decline in my Twitter and Facebook followers. If I really want to lose readers, there’s a sure-fire way to do that, too — which is insult Jesus. That’s kills off at least a dozen every time. However, when a rant just so happens to be funny, the opposite effect occurs. People want to follow you if you’re entertaining, no matter what. But they also tune you out when you’re too serious. Go figure.
For instance, I gained a huge number of followers after insulting waiters and bartenders and acting like a spoiled restaurant diva (okay, I am a diva). I suppose many people out there do identify with my frustrations. Perhaps they see themselves in the same way Larry David or Woody Allen can be annoyingly funny. But on occasions when I got too serious, my numbers plunged. For every F-bomb I dropped, that represented one Twitter follower — which makes one wonder how I have anyone left reading at all.
You can’t have it both ways. I think an honest blog just lays it all out there in a carefree manner and lets the numbers fall where they may. Once you start contriving your content in order to raise your SEO numbers or please followers, you’ve compromised what blogging should all be about — which is free expression.
I’m often asked by readers how and why I decide to write what I do. My answer is — I don’t know. I never plan anything. I just think spontaneity works better. On some occasions when I tried to plan out my writing subjects, I then looked upon them as tasks. Sort of like an albatross. For me, it’s much better to just go straight to the laptop whenever something strikes my fancy and then start typing away. Then, hit the “send” button and move on to something else. Voila!
That’s the fun of it, really. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Not even me.