We all need friends!
Especially when we classify ourselves as writers! Writing is a lonely ‘profession’ … and the blogosphere (I’m sorry guys, I still hate that word!) has offered us a unique world to interract with common minds around the globe … something which our predecessors could have never dreamed of …
In this way, there are a lot of ways the blogosphere resembles Facebook …
1 People expect you to pay attention
Friendship, whether ‘real’ or virtual, is a two-way street. No one likes to give more than they take, and this rule applies to blogging, as much as it does to Facebook friendship. Everyone notices which friends ‘like’ their statuses, and comment on their photos … Facebook has even been programmed to notice these interactions, and dub these people your real ‘Friends’, separating them from your general popularity count.
Blogging is also to some degree reciprocal. As a blogger, every ‘like’ notification that pops up in your inbox is a minor success, and a comment is the icing on the cake. But you can’t just sit back and lap up the attention. You need to give some back! Start with those who follow your blog, obviously, because it’s only fair. But then diversify. Check out other blogs, especially those similar to your own, because by commenting on other peoples’ blogs, you’re not only showing that you care, and that you’re interested in your readers, but you can also draw in readers who might be interested in the stuff you’re writing … because they are writing it too.
See also – Blog Etiquette
2. Friendships Can be Fleeting
It’s important to remember that one comment doesn’t make a guaranteed reader. And that even a subscription can be revoked. Facebook friendships can be fleeting … that random girl you shared a bunk with in that hostel in Sydney … that person whose name you thought you recognise, and yet even when you stare at his profile intently, you can’t remember ever meeting. The ‘Defriend’ button is easy to hit. And with thousands of blogs out there on every topic imaginable, it’s just as easy to lose your readers.
Just like a Facebook fan, posting status after inane status, it’s easy to lose a blog friend by boring him, or overloading him. Make sure your posts are relevant to the theme or message of your blog. For example, if you market your blog as a blog about writing, try to stick to that. If one post about the logistics of writing a novel drew in the majority of your readers, don’t expect them to be equally effusive about a journal-like entry about your bus trip home.
Hold on to those who count, by staying true to your blog, and writing posts which you feel might interest your most loyal followers.
3. Both Media allow you to Showcase yourself
Facebook photos come with a ‘detag’ option. If a picture isn’t flattering, you are able to remove all trace of a link back to yourself. The program allows you to showcase yourself in whatever light you wish to … And it’s worth applying this same logic to blogging. Use your blog like a showcase. Polish your work, think carefully about what you want to write about, and also think carefully about who you are trying to appeal to, and what you want to come of it. Once you have clear answers to these questions, stick to them.
YOU are in control of your Blog Image.
See also Get it Write!
4. The internet world is smaller than you think …
We’ve all been warned about putting too much information about ourselves up on Facebook … from your full date of birth, to your mother’s maiden name … social networking sites provide the perfect forums for identity theft … if only the thief can find his or her way in. Blogs are even more accessible … and with enough dedication, it is more than possible to trawl a blog and work out a significant amount of information about someone. I recently read a comment on a blog post by a girl who worked out her ex-boyfriend was sleeping with her best-friend, simply from reading between the lines of her best friend’s blog. Be careful, when you’re waxing lyrical, that free-flow writing doesn’t spill one too many secrets.
5. Dirty Laundry can be easily aired
Continuing on from the last two posts … whilst Facebook DOES allow you to restrict what information comes out about yourself, and what pictures are linked to your profile … if you’re not diligent, the social networking site can be the perfect opportunity for a spot of laundry-flashing.
Remember that, unless written anonymously, your blog can be very easily linked back to you, and the past may come back to repeat itself. Once you post something on the internet, even if you later delete it, it can still be found. So again, apply a little caution to what you write. Could your sporadic late-night rant come back to haunt you in later years?
However, there is at least one major way in which Blogging is very much NOT like Facebook …
Facebook allows you to control who sees and comments your profile
As a recent post by one of my favourite ‘new read’s Mikaylee Byerman explains in her post ‘I spy with my little eye … A Blog Stalker?!‘ it can be very easy to get unwanted attention … and in reality, unless you have access to every possible IP address someone might use, it’s extremely difficult to prevent someone from reading and posting comments on a public blog.
At least Facebook allows you to choose your friends, and to firmly block anyone unsavory from even knowing you ‘exist’!
On that note … I hand you the floor … please be kind … else I might have to work out how to ‘de-friend’ you 😉