GSME #11 :: Personal Jesus

social-media-asides

I should apologise for being a couple of days late with the Guide, but as history can show this as being Monday when it is in fact Wednesday, I doubt there’s too much of a fuss to be caused anyway. Health issues have inevitably derailed my progress, but they’re also a powerful means of driving social media. If you didn’t know already, drama generates interest.

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Let’s be honest here: I’d rather not have all this fuss and bother right before one of the most important periods of my life, but the Universe does like to mess with your head at the most inopportune of moments. Therefore, my views last week were exclusively driven by the fact I’ve become my own news story, like it or not. I could choose to read these figures in an number of ways, but at this point I’d just like to think that more people than normal care about my welfare, and that’s where we’ll stop. The better news, if we look at the graph on the right, is that I’m keeping close to exceeding a 2% engagement rate.

How am doing that is part of a structured change to my Tweeting habits.

nervous

This Tweet has a picture, from my phone, of me waiting in the Hospital to see my surgeon on Monday night. If I’d have posted it *without* the picture it would have received less interest, because what the image does is make this less about having a conversation. The image, like it or not, draws you into my story. That’s why SnapChat and Instagram are as immensely useful and compulsive as they undoubtedly are as tools for generating traffic: the brain, in most cases, reacts more favourably to visual stimulus. This means that if I post something with a GIF attached, more people will read it, as is the case with a screenshot or a photograph. Once upon a time mobile download limits might restrict this as useful, but as WiFi becomes de rigeur and mobile devices become portable newspapers and magazines as well as gaming rigs… use more pictures.

surgeon

On the flip side, one well worded, concise and honest tweet is worth an entire blog post.

Picture + personal affirmation, in this case, results in a 9.3% engagement rate, if you didn’t believe me when I said that pictures sell. On the flip side however, being overly personal can turn people off. There’s the individual on my feed for instance who’s almost permanently ragging on their ex-partner for being horrible, and although there is a continued measure of sympathy for the situation, that person does go on Mute when it all gets too much. As is the case with life, balance is everything.

thread

Finally, you don’t need pictures, a personal dilemma or the end of the World to engage an audience. With the right words, a bit of thought and some planning, you can use Twitter to write blog posts, by ‘threading’ a series of tweets together with an appropriate picture at the top. This method of communication is proving increasingly useful for me, and I’ll be making the most of the format going forward. This week, there’s not much else to report really, and with an operation scheduled for the 16th, it will be a little quiet around these parts on Monday anyway.

Time to go practice what we’ve learnt and be ready to start again once all this drama is over.

GSME #9 :: Talk to Me

social-media-asides

This week, it must be said, has the potential to be a game-changer.

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My numbers are down overall for the week, which is due to one thing alone: I didn’t do the work. Instead there’s been a phenomenal amount of back end work, which will continue I fancy for the next four weeks, as I organise and put in place all the parts of the disparate puzzle that will become the Internet of Words. I’ve made the decision to have a separate Twitter account for that ‘brand’, away from what is being done here, because the subject matters are so very different: it is only where the two worlds meet here that the overlap will be noticeable. I’m looking at separate tools for that account’s potential growth, but for now we’ll focus on what happens here in the ext seven days. As you can see, I’ve quietly tipped into another multiple of 100 this morning. What I’m more interested in is the 6% increase in mentions, and the fact I’ve got some idea now of what is effectively doable in terms of long-term engagement.

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The plan therefore this week is to stay above 2% engagement and to try and work towards 3%. Next week I plan to make my own graph of how engagement has panned out in the last ten weeks, as that’s a reasonable time frame to show how effort relates to result. The way to keep that number high is to lay off the unscheduled ranting (which I’m getting progressively better at, it must be said) and focus on content people like: pictures, useful articles, insights on my life. I successfully scheduled from WordPress this morning, and have reactivated Hootsuite after an absence.

I’m paying for it, so I may as well use it, and it is proving already quite useful for showing up the holes in my social media ‘strategy.’ That means that this week’s maintenance task, like it or not, is to go redesign a bunch of effectively dilapidated Google+ pages to make sure that niche is covered come Patreon launch. I also have a Post-It note with ‘Pinterest’ on it for my art projects, plus the visual side of the project which is also going to be featured via Instagram and Flickr.

Needless to say, this morning my brain hurts.

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If I can get all this right, I’m hitting large areas of effectively undiscovered audience with a concerted effort. My CoPromote 500k reach is sitting freshly delivered for April too, and that means that tomorrow there’ll be a post here with some mission goals and a Call to Action, which I hope to repeat on the Facebook page. I’ll consider it a success that I get one person to be interested at present, especially when there’s effectively nothing to promote until June 1st. The key, of course, is to build interest in an engaging and attractive manner.

If I can get everything to mesh together effectively, who knows what I might be capable of achieving.

GSME #2 :: Look at Me

Three weeks in, and my Experiment’s not going badly at all. Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

Last Week’s Standings

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Yesterday was a bust, but I think I can be allowed the odd day ‘off’ now and again, especially as it serves as a decent contrast to what came before. New contests were posted March 1st yet the higher engagement occurs on the days afterwards. My feed takes a while to pick up interest, which has historically always been true:at this point I’d also like to show total numbers for the first 6 days of March, which we’ll also use as a yardstick going forward.

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The -8 is important here for a reason: I removed people last week, and some drama ensued. Going forward, I intend to stick at a 900 follower ‘ceiling’ and won’t be looking at engaging anyone else without a compelling reason for doing so. What I am also seeing is a gradual disappearance of a number of long term followers, who aren’t happy that I’ve diversifying interests. They followed me just for Warcraft, and if I start talking about something else…? I’m used to this reasoning that people give, but the fact does remain that if you initially sell yourself as one thing and then turn into another, some of your followers will genuinely lose interest. This just makes me determined to work harder and see if I can build a more general audience based on output.

That means today I want to talk about increasing engagement: how you get people to read tweets, become interested in you as a ‘brand’ and produce content that isn’t just a recycled set of motivational quotes and you moaning about a bad day. It also means we’ll be setting a  second objective on the ‘To Do’ List: we’re not just aiming for 20k hits a day, now we’re looking for a MINIMUM of 5% engagement on each Tweet published. To make that happen? There’s some work to do, but I have some basic pointers for decent returns going forward:

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Pictures engage more than just words

The problem with a daily stream of content is that sometimes you just don’t have the time (or indeed inclination) to make the effort. The fact remains however that if I spend a minute taking a picture and then post that with text? People are more interested. However, my love of the animated .GIF only does so much to enhance this, as many people who access my content via mobiles have only so much data allowance, and so there should not be a desire to just stick one with every 140 characters. It means less random stream of consciousness posting, consideration of what goes in every tweet, and planning of long-term projects to make the most of the engagement I can get.

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Putting yourself front and centre

The biggest single surge of views + engagement last week, by quite some way, was when I broke anonymity and started selling me as myself, and not a ‘handle.’ The ‘alt’ is a major part of what I am: its on business cards, after all, and when I publish articles going forward I intend for a real name to be on all of them. Doing this inevitably opens me up to all sorts of potential issues, but as I’m a big girl now, the trick is to make sure that what gets used and said will always stand up to criticism. That means that drunk tweeting is a thing of the past (sorry those of you who enjoyed the last bout) but I’ve seen how potentially dangerous THAT can be. It also means you might see more pot-plant throwing going forward. If I’m getting frustrated with online stupidity, instead of sub-tweeting and filling my feed with drama? You’ll get this instead:

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Picking topics that your Audience enjoy

What caused a 17.2% surge of interest late week for me? This picture did:

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You don’t even need actual flesh, often the hint of it is enough to get everybody all riled up, and if you don’t know Sex Sells by now then you clearly have not been paying attention. This is however a pretty dodgy avenue to make a living on going forward… but, having said that, I have a few ideas around the topic, like this post on why you never see male pornbots selling women a good time. In more general terms however this proves that I should and will still be talking Warcraft/gaming, perhaps more than I have been of late, because the majority of my audience are receptive. However, other subjects are not off the table: food, media, photography and fitness all have interest, and I can do all of those now pretty much with my eyes closed.


That means, starting today, I’m aiming to make things matter whenever I press ‘Tweet’

Let’s see how well we can do by this time next week 😀

The Great Social Media ‘Experiment’

I’ve been considering for a while what I could do as a regular ‘feature’ to keep this blog ticking over whilst I work on fiction, and for a while the plan was to feature the best Tweets I’d seen over a given week. Except, if I’m honest, this is just another excuse for a News post, and I have that side of things fairly comprehensively covered on the Personal site. However, I want to do more with Social media than I do, because the organic nature of relationships continues to fascinate me. For instance, this morning I made a connection between two people, neither of which either know me or each other, but needed to be united for a common cause. As a result of thinking and connecting the right dots, everyone stands to benefit in the long term. So, it occurs to me that what I need to be doing right now is not dissing the power of social media, but learning to better use it for good.

Therefore, the GSME has begun, and I invite you to join me on the journey 😀

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Right now, the Experiment has only one aim: to see if it is possible to maintain 20k engagements a day by making no effort at all. As you can see by the last 28 days worth of ‘work’ I’m pulling in a shade over 30k already without even considering how to improve. My numbers show a consistent and steady increase in popularity. How can this be possible when my blogs combined are lucky on any given day to garner 500 hits? That’s a good question, and I am going to try and understand (on your and my behalf) exactly what is at play here to make these numbers look as attractive as they undoubtedly are. It gets even better when you look at my ‘front’ page for Twitter interaction:

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I realise I’m quite prolific in the Tweet department (169,133 tweets and counting) but I’m not doing 3k a day, so the first part of this Experiment will be to demystify what some of these numbers really mean: I’m guessing that 3041 is the number of times my user handle gets picked up in a unique place during a 24 hour period. Also, I find it amazing that TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE will have looked at my Profile page in the last month, but it makes me realise that having a decent picture and details in place there might matter more than some would previously believe. Then there’s the all important (and many say vital) followers count which I know is up this month due to the two Contests I’m running being prizes that have generated a lot of interest. That’s how you do this, guys. If you want people to come, incentives do work. However how you then get people to stay is quite another matter entirely, and that’s why I’m here doing this Experiment to begin with.

It also becomes an exercise in translating what is normally dry as fuck and extremely uninteresting information on how the Internet works into something that people will have a passing interest in, and as that’s one of my jobs as a writer, I reckon this whole endeavour might have some mileage. You can expect to see my Experiment posts every Monday starting next week.

Here’s to making sense of stuff most people have no interest in.

Send in the Clowns

Many of you will have no idea of what I’m talking about, but yesterday Facebook made a lot of noise in my part of the world. Activision Blizzard have done a deal with the social media giant to allow players to ‘stream’ playing computer games such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft directly using the Facebook Live API. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what this was until yesterday lunchtime: now I’ve signed up for updates. Now, there are those of you who will know that I refuse point blank to have anything to do with the ‘Friends and Family’ aspect of the platform. In fact, I deleted my personal Facebook some time ago. However, my ‘gaming’ site remains and suddenly looks an awful lot more attractive as an advertising platform for someone like me: more flexibility than You Tube, a better set of abuse controls than Twitch will ever possess. Mostly, it will become an amazing place to sell yourself. 

That alone is the potential that many people will now be considering with something close to mercenary zeal.

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My Twitter feed, yesterday.

It is an indicator of the general barometer of opinion that many people won’t see Facebook as anything else other than a place where you share baby photos or argue about politics. They won’t be able to reconcile ‘streaming live video’ (whether it be of an online MMO, a live event or indeed your Aunt Mabel baking her famous Chocolate Cake) with a platform that makes its money from ads about losing belly fat or ’15 Things you Never knew a Goat could Do.’ With platforms such as Snapchat and WhatsApp being bigger draws than text-based mediums such as Twitter, Facebook will know that to keep themselves in the frame they need to offer the best of both whilst maintaining their ability to market at the same time. By providing gamers a live video stream without any of the start up required in other formats, which often require additional effort or outlay? Frankly, it’s a license to print money. 

There will be people already rubbing their hands together in glee.

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Of course, many people assume that ‘logging into Warcraft’ using Facebook means they’ll be no choice in the matter, but assuming that this development is equivalent to what the developer did with Twitter? You’ll never have to worry about the thing unless you make a decision to stream. Unless you make a conscious choice to share your information? Nothing changes. However, such is the distrust of certain sections of the planet with the organisation, it won’t matter how many times you tell players this, they’ll still choose not to believe you. In the end, that’s just a product of the world we live in. My Facebook ‘page’ which is just that, just a piece of stuff attached to an account I never use and won’t post to, full of stuff that has no interest to me whatsoever. That’s not going to change any time soon. I’m not linking my family to this, or asking the people I know who don’t play games to take part.

However, in terms of long-term marketing for (lets say) me writing a book and maybe getting it published? Then I might be interested. I could be pushed into streaming and perhaps the odd Video Blog. The potential is certainly there for the platform.

Now we have to see just how good it is when the Real World gets hold of it.

It’s Oh So Quiet

Oh, social media ^^ 

Today’s post is prompted by someone yesterday, and another person last week, and that tweet from Friday. It’s a response to a question I see people ask more and more when it becomes obvious that curation has become a ‘thing’ for someone’s Social Media feed, and that somebody else who’s effectively been ‘curated’ has worked this out. Speaking as someone who makes liberal use of both mute and unfollow in Twitter clients? Maybe it’s time to explain to people what the fuck goes on in my mind, as a guide to how things work on a larger scale. The fact I even have to do this is testament to how much people now place significance in virtual relationships, and that worried me greatly. No matter, let’s get to it.

The question today?

You clearly have me muted. Why don’t you unfollow me?

Let’s stop the bus right here.
Moment of Theatre? ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.
Thing #1, and this is kind of vital to all of the stuff that follows, is that in most cases you shouldn’t be asking this question in Public to begin with. If it bothers you that much that you’re talking to someone and they *appear* to have stopped communicating with you? Go ask them directly. Last time this happened to me, the person concerned was *very* public, extremely shirty and left of their own accord, because for some people the assumption is simple. If they follow you, you need to be paying attention 24/7. Needless to say? Not how life works. The fact I’d muted him because of that attitude to begin with shows that sometimes, its quite easy to predict that two people will rub each other up the wrong way. You become your own barometer, and as soon as selfish behaviour begins to manifest? You have a choice: walk away, or don’t.
Six hours later? Nope, sorry, had enough ^^
Thing #2 is a little more subtle. There are some people you have no problem having around, but their output is so prolific that you simply want a rest from it. So, from time to time, you just turn them down. That, after all, is what mute really means. In most cases, these people end up as a reflection of what you are as a person, like it or not, and it’s a salutatory lesson on how NOT to Social Media. You don’t put every thought and feeling down. You don’t talk into darkness because you’re alone and needy. Mostly, you just look at the words coming out of your mouth and learn to regulate the flow. For some people this is actually impossible, and when that happens, then you just turn them down. Mostly it doesn’t matter, and in the main they don’t notice. It’s like your parents having sex: yes, they did, maybe they still do, but you don’t need to know when they are. Become an arbiter of your own tolerances, and act accordingly.
I know how many people have me muted. Yes, I’m learning.


Don’t give me that look, I’m the Boss here ^^
Thing #3 you’re not going to like. Not only were you right and yes I have you muted, but you will get removed. No, I’m not going to tell you when, because that only causes more drama. In fact as you read this it has already happened, and I’ve moved on, and only now is it apparent what transpired. Now, when this happens to me (and it does with more regularity than you might think) I can go back through my followers list, work out when it happened and attempt a shoddy and completely pointless post mortem on the reasoning, followed by some hastily-concocted and thinly veiled subtweets which make no sense to anyone but me and probably just confuse more people on my feed to begin with. And that’s when you stop. I shouldn’t have to write an entire blog post on why some random person left you high and dry. This isn’t life, it’s the sanitised and manufactured 21st Century Version of finding out you got thrown out of your Treehouse Comic Club. You’re not nine any more. It doesn’t matter.
Get over it and move on.

==
In truth, the sensible people don’t follow you anyway. They have you on a List, or pick up your stuff via an App. Following is becoming increasingly passe for a large number of professionals who understand that actually, you don’t want people knowing who you’re listening to, because that makes it easier to see who they ‘borrowed’ their ideas from. More importantly, it prevents them from operating without being detected, and in a World where metrics are everything? That’s kind of a big deal. Mostly, I shouldn’t feel the need to write posts like this but I continually do, simply to remind those of you still thinking this is the Playground that although you may still be learning? This is not your clique, or your gang, or any other metaphor you decide to swing at the problem.
People meet, they interact, and then often they simply move on. If you are placing far too much significance on why that happens, you need to look to yourself as the issue before you even try and blame other people.
Often, you are the real problem. Take it from someone who grasps this fact only too well.

The Visitors

Ignore the video, take the song 😀


We’re already into February, and I realise I need a Social Media Policy.
I’ve picked up quite a few people via that there Twitter thing in January, and they fall into two distinct categories. There are those people I assume read The Other Blog and turn up with an actual, genuine interest in what I’m doing… and then there’s everybody else. This includes people wanting to build their follower numbers by following me and the rest of Twitter to see who bites and sticks them back on their list. There’s the You Tubers and Twitchers desperate for followers that they’ll promise you just about ANYTHING to get you added to their total. Except I see through all you ‘personalities’ who are fuelled by algorithms. I will seek you out and remove you. I look for real people curating Feeds, and they are surprisingly easy to find. If I think *at any point* you’re employing Robots to do your dirty work, away you will go.
That means, Rule 1 of the New Policy is simple:  Make me WANT to Follow you.

Often I will follow people for apparently no discernible reason. This is because I did some homework, and the person has given me enough of an online paper trail to justify my initial investigation work as being worthwhile. So, if you follow me and I like the look of what I see, then I’ll open the door for communication, however if nothing comes from this I will walk away quietly (normally when nobody is looking.) I keep quite a tight rein on the stuff that goes in and out of my Feed, mostly because I actively use the format as a writing tool. This has surprised a few people in the past, and I’m now a lot more careful as to what I use in terms of direct interaction with others (via Tweets or quotes.) So, if you have a conversation with me over the medium, and then the same subject turns up in a Blog Post, don’t be surprised, mkay?
Which leads onto Rule 2: My Feed, My Rules.

Says it all.
Wil has it covered, mostly. If you’re gonna turn up and start throwing shade knowing you’ll piss me off, out you go. If you think it’s cool to try and get a rise out of me on summat controversial, you’re having your ass handed to you on the way out to boot. I know how hard and cruel the Internet is, I see it every bloody day, and frankly if you think you’ll get anything out of me to fuel your fire, you are very much mistaken. On the flip side, I’m getting used to offending people with my style. There are clearly those who would like to think reality isn’t their issue and when I wade into situations throwing Real World chaos everywhere, they just get nervous and run away. That’s cool too, I get that. This is both sides of the same coin, after all. I personally don’t see the point most days in pretending that Reality happens to other people. This IS the Future, girls and boys. Like it or loathe it, you will very soon be hard pressed to even pretend to ignore it.

That then finally brings us to Rule 3: I’m not here for the Numbers.

A SEXY CURVE


I’m not here for exponential growth. I may occasionally joke when I hit a 100, or comment on a 1000, but only because I am continually amazed that I watched ever person come in and leave. I don’t ‘do’ this Social Network the ‘right’ way, that much becomes more apparent every day I write. I don’t have a deal with this, and actually as time goes on it becomes progressively easier for me to get a handle on bigger pictures I simply couldn’t grasp before I started dealing with data the way I now do. Twitter is an educational tool, a learning curve all of it’s own, and a peculiar marker for early 21st Century Life. Most importantly for me, it means the people who I really care and love are closer, even if they live thousands of miles away. That apology this morning via DM? MADE MY DAY, it did.

If you want to come play this game with me, there’s only three rules to remember. Any more, and I’d get confused.