Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

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sierramcconnell
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Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by sierramcconnell » May 9th, 2011, 5:58 pm

I'm feeling sort of left out already, and I've only been blogging for a week.

But it's not just the blog. It's the general feel of "community".

No one follows me. No one reads me. Which is to be expected early on. But no one is replying to anything I say either, anywhere I say it, and I even feel like I'm being ignored in the emails I've sent out and on MSN, where my friend has all but disappeared.

I've had this problem before in LJ-land, and people have told me that I'm too needy, that I have to understand that people are busy and might not have time to answer every single post\comment\email.

But. I'm not being talked to at all. I'm being shunned. Ignored. Swept aside. Left in that snowbank where you hear the whistling of the wind howling at your ears and you wonder if you really should go back to the warm bar with the happy laughter.

They're probably laughing at you anyway.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by maybegenius » May 9th, 2011, 6:23 pm

I think it's pretty natural to feel ignored when you're dipping your toes into the vast sea of the Internet. It's hard to find followers and people who care about what you have to say. Sadly, that's how it is for just about everyone. I think it took me upward of six months to get more than 25 followers on my blog, and even now with 100+ followers, I still have days where I don't get a single comment on a blog post. It's unfortunately the nature of the beast. You compare yourself to other super-popular bloggers and feel inadequate, even though that's not really a fair comparison because they've been doing this for literally years and you've only just started. Still, it can hurt and make you feel like you're sitting at the social reject table.

But the people who told you others are busy and might not always comment are right. It happens. So what can you do about it?

Social media is a two-way street. If you never comment or respond to other people, it's unlikely they'll respond to you. You have to make the effort, too. Try an experiment. If you have a blogroll of blogs you visit every day, take one week and make sure you visit every blog and comment on every update. For one week. I mean, within reason -- if you're following 100 blogs, you're probably not going to have time. But do it for, say, 20 blogs. And not just the super-popular blogs. Comment on blogs with ten followers or fifty followers or a hundred followers. You'll find that some of those people will come visit your blog and comment in kind, just because you showed them you cared.

Post content that will draw other people in. There are three main reasons people will look at and respond to social media: the person is funny/smart/entertaining, the person is giving them information they're looking for, or the person is offering them free stuff. True facts. My marketing knowledge says so :) Decide which of those three niches you can fill, and figure out how to fill it. Although I don't generally recommend the free stuff angle -- you want people to follow you because they like you, not because they're getting a free follow-back or book or whatever out of it.

I know it sucks when you're feeling completely alone and like you're shouting into the void, but patience is a requirement for this kind of thing. You're not going to develop a following in a week, or even a few weeks. Try participating in blogfests or other writer's community. Don't be too salesy. It's okay to say, "Oh wow, funny you brought this up, I just wrote a blog post about it!" But it can annoy people if it seems like you're just trying to get blog hits in everything you post.

Just be genuine. Have fun. Even if you only have two or three followers, talk to them and thank them for following you. It'll come in time! Just stick with it.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Margo » May 9th, 2011, 6:51 pm

Steph nailed just about everything I wanted to say, but I'll jump in for emphasis.

My advice:

-Find about 5 blogs you really like and start reading and commenting regularly. Even better if the topic is similar to yours, because that blogger and other blog readers might find something you said interesting and check out your blog and discover more on the topic they already like. If you build up a rapport with the bloggers you like, maybe they will let you do a guest post on their blog (which usually includes a nice mention of your own blog).

-'Follow' other bloggers. Many of them will follow you back. Then they'll see your posts on their dashboard (if they are with blogspot) and will notice more readily when you have an interesting post.

-Be at peace with the fact that it takes a long time to get your blog legs - to define your blog style, to attract an audience, to build your confidence. Was it Sommer who suggested really not judging how well your blog is doing for at least the first year? Whoever it was, I second that.

-I noted you just started posting about your blog on the "Have A New Blog Post" thread here. You'll pick up some readers that way, definitely. It will just take time.

-Come next April, sign up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The event can be a huuuge boost for your blog traffic.

-Enjoy yourself. It will show.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by sierramcconnell » May 9th, 2011, 7:20 pm

It's not just that. Maybe I'm just lonely. Maybe I just need the guy in 1222 to stop playing games with me with the loud music before I egg his clown face car.

It's just that everyone has deserted me. People I knew are even ignoring me. It's like High School all over again when I got my job and started getting confidence and standing up for myself. They were only my friends because I did my homework. When they realized I wouldn't do that anymore, I stopped having friends.

So it's like...now that I have confidence, I have no friends. I'm not evil. I'm not a bitch (well, I try not to be but with my background its hard to differentiate between honesty and a kick in the balls).

I try to be included in things but I'm like that kid you see in the back, jumping up and down, arms flailing, shouting "pick me" and not being heard because I'm not wearing the right jacket or hat. Everyone sees me, but no one wants to acknowledge that.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by maybegenius » May 10th, 2011, 11:41 am

Sierra, it sounds like you may be having some "real life" difficulties that are affecting the way you react to whether or not people respond to you somewhere. I'll say this: you can't depend on the Internet to be your entire social life. It can certainly make up part of your social life and you can make real and genuine friends via social media, but it shouldn't be your only outlet. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but it may be time to branch out and meet new people (I'm sorry to hear your former "friends" were such jerks, by the way). Try Meetup.com, or join a local writer's group, or another club/organization with people who share your interests. If you can afford it, I might also try counseling. It kind of has a stigma around it, but it can be immensely helpful to someone who needs to get their thoughts out and hear input from another person.

In the mean time, keep doing what you're doing! You'll find the place you fit in eventually :)
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by sierramcconnell » May 10th, 2011, 12:36 pm

I am in therapy. But that won't get me friends. :)

I was in a writer's group. If you've seen that thread, you'll see why I'm not in that group anymore. I'm sorry, I don't play that game anymore.

The friends I had at work are all gone, either they quit or moved or just stopped interacting with me.

There is no way to meet people here.

According to what I have found out in therapy, I have a fight or flight response to meeting people, and when I try to talk to them (even shopkeepers) I tend to need to go to the bathroom right then. This is because I have in the past, lost so many people and familiar places, I'm trying to protect myself from having it happen again.

Unfortunately, yes, it's hard to make friends. It's even harder for me because I've learned they'll just leave anyway, and they don't really care to stay around me despite the many services I offer. It doesn't matter how good a friend I am. I had surgery twice in one month and yet I still went out shopping with my friends because they asked, that weekend. Twice. Yes, I enjoyed myself, but I really should have been in bed.

I have pushed and pushed, and fallen over myself to make them happy, and even gone in to work just because I thought I was going to get to see them that day, only to be yelled at.

In person friends do not work for me. Internet friends are what's safe for me. Can I switch the off. Not that I haven't been mistreated there, too. (Called a CHB and told in an RPG group I was "too in character" and took my moderating job "too seriously".)
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Doug Pardee » May 10th, 2011, 4:25 pm

Specifically about blogging:

I had a blog for about 5 years, from 2003-2008. During that time, I made 556 posts and got 447 comments (exclusive of spam), over 50 of which were my own responses to other comments. Only 103 postings — less than 1 in 5 — got any comments at all. Only 22 postings (about 4%) got 5 comments or more, and only 7 postings got over 10 comments. The postings that got the most comments were ones that weren't really "on-topic" for my blog, but happened to pick up a lot of search-engine hits. In fact, most of my comments were from people who dropped in for just one posting they'd found via a search engine. Nobody except me posted more than 8 comments in the 5 years I ran that blog. And it's not like my blog was totally unknown; at the peak, I had about 200 people following my RSS feeds.

That was back in the heyday of blogging. Today, I'm told, the "cool kids" aren't blogging, they're on FaceBook and Twitter. I'm not one of the cool kids, so I couldn't say if that's really the case or not. I did quit posting on my blog about three years ago, except for a "this blog is dead" posting a year later.

Here's a fun blog quote:
Woke up this morning to find that I had 483 new trackbacks on the blog. “That’s odd,” I thought, “Perhaps the blogosphere has come to appreciate my true genius. It’s about time.”

It turns out that it is only those who are interested in texas holdem’ and banned word that find my blog of interest.
Publishers Weekly (you've heard of them) run a blog. Their statistics since the beginning of the month: 14 posts, 12 with no comments, 2 with 2 comments each. It's not unusual for them to go a week or more without anyone posting any comment on anything.

What I think I'm trying to say is that a personal blog rarely will create a vibrant social community. It's an outlet for your thoughts, but it's pretty much one-way. You're probably better off finding other people's blogs and commenting there; at least that starts out as a 2-way communication.

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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Cookie » May 10th, 2011, 8:26 pm

I think you are being slightly dramatic.

Not everyone is out to use you or leave you.

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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by sierramcconnell » May 10th, 2011, 9:15 pm

It does sound dramatic, but psychologically, it's how my brain translates what has happened to me over the years. Hence the therapy.

But I do have several cases in which I can argue quite well that it appears that everyone is. And I will argue it, when I'm feeling incredibly deserted, which is one reason I find myself in that trap over and over again. And why something so simple as a little tweet or comment is enough to keep me hanging.

Silence isn't golden to me, it's crushing. Because I have to have at least one person to let me know I'm wanted around. And when I see people feeding off each other, making groups, talking to everyone else (but not me) and being all "look at us, aren't we awesome" it makes me sad. Because I used to be in groups and have friends.

I remember a time...in my college years...when me and the Peach Sisters wrote together. And everyone enjoyed us. But then, it all fell apart because I fell in love with someone who was still in love with their old girlfriend. And so I went away so they could be together. And a year later, she was hit by a drunk driver on Valentine's Day and died. He went insane (literally). So I lost four friends and two loved ones. Two of the friends tried to contact me from time to time but they eventually faded off as well.

It was my fault, you know. Had I not insisted they get back together, it wouldn't have happened because they wouldn't have been making wedding plans. At least, that's what I think. Stupid logic, but it's what my mind keeps reverting back to.

I was also friends with a few people who had an RPG group. They kept telling me to come write with them. Be a mod. I kept saying no. I don't write anymore and I'm not a mod because I was one and the people hated that I made them follow the rules. I'm not friends with any of them anymore, because they hated I was too in character and that I kept making even them follow the rules. They believed they were above the rules and could do anything they wanted. They kicked me out and said I wasn't fun to play with. That I was a cold hearted bitch and that they never wanted to talk to me again.

Do you need more examples?

At the end of high school, my friend Tara, my best friend that I had taken care of for years, turned on me and took every friend I had with her. She had her church boyfriend have pretty much everyone convinced that I was a demon because she told him the secret that I saw things and could do things (the same things she could do). Because I told her what he really was. Turned out he was an abusive husband and he beat the crap out of her all the time. She tried to run to me later and I wouldn't have it. I had no one because of her. So I returned the favor.

So yeah, I'm sorry. It sounds dramatic, but it's also honest. Everyone will turn on me, leave, or be taken away from me. I've been stabbed in the back, black balled, been part of a political scandal, and screwed six ways to Sunday.

I'm a little leary. But it makes good writing fodder.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Cookie » May 10th, 2011, 10:57 pm

To that I say a big fat so what. I know it sounds mean, but that's not how I meant it. What I mean is, everyone goes through those things to some extent. Heck, I've lost many friends over the years for a variety of reasons. I am in debt BECAUSE of one of my best friends (who I am no longer friends with btw). I've been used, abused, left--the first person I ever loved committed suicide, which almost 10 years later, I am still not completely over.

But I guess that's where we differ. I don't care. Of course I cared when those things happened and it's going to take me a really long time to get over some of them, like the suicide, and others slightly less long, like the emotional abuse I suffered through because my pride wouldn't let me leave.

I've always been a loner, I suppose. Sure, I wanted to be in the popular crowd, but at the end of the day I knew it didn't matter. Plus, most days I'd rather spend my time painting/drawing/reading/writing than hanging out with people.

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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by sierramcconnell » May 11th, 2011, 8:29 am

I guess some people are just stronger than others because they have a support system. I don't.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 11th, 2011, 9:45 am

I'm actually writing about this very topic on my blog this week. Tomorrow's post is titled "The Lonely Factor," in fact.

Here's my opinion on the subject - don't expect a lot to happen in the first six months. It doesn't happen for anyone. Readers are over-extended and gunshy about blogs. They need to know a blog is going to be around for the long haul, that a new blog isn't going to end tomorrow because the blogger is too busy to keep it up. Personal blogs - online diaries - have an even harder time. Blogging is something you do regardless of the people who come read you.

I would caution not to use it as a vehicle to something else - like making friends. It can happen, sure. But it's not a guarentee, and if it disappoints you by not fulfilling this secondary goal, it will show in your writing. If you like blogging, just do it regardless of who might be reading. Reach out to people, comment on other blogs, and interact with people regardless of whether they interact back. Eventually you'll click with readers, but it takes time. It takes a lot of time. I've had my blog for a little over a year and only recently do I feel like I've hit my stride.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Cookie » May 11th, 2011, 2:15 pm

I don't think it has to do with support systems so much as how we handle things individually. Would I have reacted the same way to my situations if I had no one? Probably. I am stubborn, determined and my pride refuses to let me fail.

And no, I don't think you are being ignored or left out. I think you do have a support system, you just may not realize it or see it as a support system.

So, step back, take a deep breath, watch a funny movie and eat some vanilla ice cream with nerds.

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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Polenth » May 12th, 2011, 4:31 am

You're taking no comments on a blog post to be a rejection of you as a person. By viewing your blog as a way to solve all your friend issues, you're setting yourself up for failure, because often you won't make friends via your blog.

My advice is to turn comments off for a few months. Keep writing it with the expectation that no one is reading it or going to comment. Once you turn comments back on, it may give you a different perspective on them. Or maybe not, but it's worth a try.
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Re: Not Cool Enough for Social Networking?

Post by Guardian » May 12th, 2011, 5:35 am

You're taking no comments on a blog post to be a rejection of you as a person. By viewing your blog as a way to solve all your friend issues, you're setting yourself up for failure, because often you won't make friends via your blog.
It's not a rejection at all. It's same as "like". Many people sometimes simply lazy to push a single button (I'm also lazy many times. :) ), however they're not lazy to write a letter to show their appreciation. Everyone who is making social networking is presumably experienced this once already.

i.e.: I launched the website of my WIP two years ago. Dozens of people joined to it's facebook group, but I received no true comments at all. Now, I launched the revised website with this new "like" based Facebook fanpage. The result is; only a one and a half dozen (19 to be precise) like, while I got few dozen letters personally where the visitors told they like it and they're curious about it (and the site was visited more than 500 times from throughout the world, while basically only a handful people knew about it's launch, most of them from the U.S. as it wasn't advertised at all as I haven't started the advertisement of it at the moment.). And some people became "friends" via Facebook just because of it (And none of them "liked" or even commented my work via the official channels, rather sent a personal letter or not commented it at all.). So comments, not even likes are capable to present what people are truly thinking about you or your product. People are always acting different, always think different and no comment or like is capable to mirror what they think. Sometimes people are in the "write a comment" mood, sometimes they're not. Sometimes they're in the "like it" mood, sometimes they're not. Sometimes they write you personally instead, sometimes they're staying silent. Sometimes people are visiting forums for years before they're gathering their bravery and making a single comment there (i.e.: I also visit a gaming page regulary, I made an account there back in 2005 or 2006 and I made only four or five comments on their forum, no more. Yet I visit the page in every second or third day since 2003 or 2004.).

The essence is; always care with those who is following you and don't care "how many". If one is following you, care with that one. If hundred is following you, care with that hundred.

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