Authors and algorithms

A Twitter post popped up recently about how interactions have diminished.

I responded saying that I’ve noticed this too. Recently I asked #WritingCommunity if they’ve noted Twitter is behaving like Facebook (i.e. the same small number of regulars reacting to what you’ve posted). One person responded.

For an author, this is not good. I already curate my content differently between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as they appeal to different demographics. The latter is my favourite, yet lately it seems I’m connecting with fewer people.

My husband once asked me why I like Twitter.

I explained that Twitter helps me network to readers and writers. It got me a gig at a literary festival last year. It allows me connect through hashtag games. But, as I read on a marketing blog recently, it brings in few book sales. I agree.

Over many years, Facebook has become a smaller networking tool. My feed is filled with the same people and most of them are my friends here in Sydney. So, I don’t need to read their posts as I catch up with them regularly.

When I visit Facebook, I look at my notifications before visiting a few groups that are important for my writing life, then I move on to Twitter.

Years ago, Facebook was a great tool for author promotion.

My Facebook author page used to be a place where between fifty to eighty percent of followers saw my posts. Now I’m lucky to get twenty views, so I don’t use it directly anymore. It’s become a dumping ground for autoposts about my blogs and a pinned post with my latest book trailer. But several new followers find me each week, so it needs to be there. I just don’t curate it anymore.

Although I create a lot of content, being personal is not easy for me.

I come from a media background so when I snap a picture it’s usually not a selfie. It’s an image of whatever I want to share. That’s how I was taught to approach storytelling through my TV and radio career. I’m not the story but I’m introducing you to it.

So, rarely will you see my life play out on my socials unless you are a friend of mine on my personal Facebook account, and as I mentioned before, I’m not there much.

So, that’s my recent experience with social media.

And I’m wondering if these algorithims are part of a larger change we’re seeing on social media. We are being targeted by content from people that appeal to us, rather than getting a full sense of the world out there.

Many of us have abandoned political discussion for fear of being attacked, unless we’re the type of person who thrives on debate, so our feeds give us posts we’re compelled to argue with.

Yet when all this began, most people enjoyed open discussion, and debates were conducted civilly.

So, what now?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve been growing my mailing list and am keeping my fingers crossed that this will help my marketing efforts.

I’m still going to regularly blog because I enjoy it. I’m going to attempt to be more personal on my social feeds.

But in a world with so many people clamoring for the spotlight, I’m counting my blessings. People have read my books. I generally receive good reviews. I have a publisher. I have an audience. I have more than some and less than others.

So, I need to remind myself of what Theodore Roosevelt one wrote:

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”


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