My 13-year-old son had to explain algorithms to me. It’s okay, I’m not embarrassed or anything. I am comfortable with the amount of data my brain has deleted over the years in the “math” department. When I stop remembering whether or not I like chocolate and coffee then I’ll be worried but until then I’ll live with the blank spots where the math facts used to be.
He had to explain it to me because I had just read an article about how Facebook works where “Page likes” are concerned. Only recently I was complaining to someone about the low “seen by” numbers coming at me when I would post something on my Facebook “fan” page. I don’t have a ton of people who follow my page but they mean a lot to me. I like them. I’d buy them all donuts if I could. Who knows, maybe I will one day.
Apparently the new algorithm (which is a set of rules or calculations for data processing, just so you know) skews better for large corporate types and not so good for the small, home-grown types such as myself. It sucks because the small, homegrown types such as myself really can’t play ball on the field the big guys use. For a good patch of time, Facebook leveled that playing field, giving us a chance to actually reach people who might not have normally seen our work before but now, the way things have changed, not even my own peeps are seeing my posts on a regular basis and that hurts.
But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about today. This post came to me via Twitter from Angela England, who is all kinds of awesome. In this post, entitled, “Your Facebook Fans do not owe you anything” Angela talks not about the algorithm but about the whole idea of Facebook “fans,” a term with which I have always been uncomfortable. When I started the “fan” page on Facebook it was for this blog, Mrs Metaphor but when my book contract came through (yay!) I realized that what I wanted to work toward in that page was more than just showing blog posts from Mrs Metaphor. I mean, I like sharing thoughts I come across about the writing process, about the changing nature of publishing and sometimes (but not always) about emergency kittens. This post from Angela England hit me in a good place today in the wake of the whole “algorithm” realization. It shifted me back into the place I want to be because to be honest, having a book coming out throws me into a little bit of a panic sometimes. There’s some new pressure to having someone commit to edit, print and distribute this 75k words one has compiled and I don’t want to succumb to that pressure.
Suffice it to say that though I am not pleased with the algorithm stuff on Facebook, I am thankful for the reminder from Angela England about what’s really important where social media and my work are concerned. I’m thankful for that home-grown group of lovely fans who have chosen to “like” and “follow” me both here and on the various social media sites. That’s all. Thank you for being there and being willing to simply walk alongside. You really do mean a lot to me.
I hope I get the chance to buy you all a donut one day. I mean that.