I need advice. Social media advice.
Of the big three — Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In — I am on the last one, but only in an extremely uninvolved sort of way, mainly because a former husband and several former colleagues asked to be connected with me, presumably to enlarge their networks by one more person. Now that I’ve also become a WordPress blogger, WP automatically shoots my posts over there, but I have no idea who on Linked-In sees them, and have not observed in the stats that any visitor ever wandered over here from there.
However, I’m not on Facebook at all, and don’t have a Twitter account. Most of the people I know (including my children, who are serious types in their forties) don’t do Facebook. My grandchildren are too young, having only recently learned to read. And by the time they become older, they and their contemporaries will undoubtedly have abandoned Facebook for something newer and quicker. My neighbor’s twenty-one year old son at Stanford tells his mother SnapChat is now the way to go.
So I’m definitely a social media innocent. On the other hand, I am the kind of noodle who reads her spam folder before clicking “delete permanently.” Okay, I eyeball it. I don’t actually read every word, especially in those very long comments that go on and on about SEO [search engine optimization] or how the spammer can help me improve my stats in other ways.
But occasionally there’s a spam comment sounding human enough that I read it in its entirely, and then begin to wonder who is sending such messages — messages that tell me, and God knows how many other bloggers, how great I am, and how I enrich their coffee breaks every day, and to keep doing the wonderful job I’m doing. (These are usually attached to a post at least four or five weeks old.) What’s the point? These messages don’t seem to be trying to sell a product or a service to anyone who reads my blog. Who is paying them to be so fulsome in their often misspelled and badly punctuated praise? Although I agree that the “comments” in this latter category are also tossable spam, I look at them before disposing of them in the great cyberspace incinerator because they make me ask myself about the degree of misery and need that would drive anyone to spend time mindlessly typing out this drivel for a penny per dozen, or something like that.
I don’t indulge in this spam-gazing nonsense every evening, though. So after skipping one or two evenings, thereby racking up twenty-eight undeleted comments in my spam folder, last night I found one among the twenty-eight which was sui generis. I hadn’t seen anything like it there before. For one thing, it was very short. It was also timely, having been sent on March 11 in connection with “Why There’s No ‘Post’ Today,” which ran on March 9. The message simply asked: “Will you let me distribute this on twitter?” Was this also spam?
It was posted at 11:25 p.m. by a person or entity named Brett Rossi, identified further as: twitter.com/realbrettrossi x Cecil@hotmail.com 126.96.36.199. According to Google, there IS a Brett Rossi. In fact, there are two. One, whose Twitter account is “thebrettrossi,” is an extremely well-endowed 24-year-old blonde porn star (with a colorful tattoo just above her shapely pelvic region) who on Valentine’s Day became engaged to 48-year-old Martin Sheen and subsequently did, or did not, become his fourth wife, depending on what you read. In case you’re concerned for him, she gave up making “adult” movies seven months ago, she was really doing it just to make money to become a nurse, and it didn’t count anyway (according to one breathless-sounding gossip columnist), because she only permitted herself to be filmed with other naked women. [A “lesbian” porn star, cried one headline.]
Fascinating though it was to learn all this, the future or present Mrs. Sheen was not my Brett Rossi. Mine — if I may call her that, at least temporarily — describes herself on her Twitter account as “Lover of life and everything to do with nature. Wife, Mom, Hiker, and Good Cook. Brett Rossi is my name, tweeting is my game.” Her Twitter page — @realbrettrossi — claims 16 Tweets, 146 tweeters she follows, and (if you can believe it) 83.4 K followers. [“K” means “thousand,” right?] Unfortunately, her last tweet was dated February 21, so she’s not a very active tweeting gamer. Most of the 16 tweets have been of newspaper articles and TV station news. She has also tweeted about fashion news, sports, snow, a fashion columnist and a sports figure. I have therefore concluded two things all by myself, just by writing this out for you here:
#1. Brett Rossi’s comment wasn’t spam. She is a real person, with a real Twitter account, and really did want to do something twittery with the piece about my first serious boyfriend’s death which ran on March 9. What she would have done, I do not know.
#2. And never will know. Reaching her reputed 83,400 followers, or 83.4 followers, is tempting. [The former more tempting than the latter, of course.] But suppose she said something I didn’t like about my piece? [I need editorial control!] And just who are these followers? Judging by their “conversations” they seem rather young and rowdy. Would I want them over here where I’m busy getting old? Would they get on with the rest of you, who self-selected yourself as readers, for reasons entirely unconnected with Brett Rossi’s take on my extended girlhood romance, whatever it is? I think not. I will therefore pass on “distribution” by the real Brett Rossi. And if she comes back to this blog to read some more, which I somehow doubt, I am hereby nicely inviting her to explain why she wants her thousands of youthful followers, or her 83.4 of them, to know about me. A really persuasive explanation from her, and perhaps we can do a deal. But only perhaps.
In the meanwhile, dear followers and friends, I still need advice. Brett Rossi aside, what is your view of the merits of Twitter and Facebook in promoting blog readership? I have been thinking about this recently, even before the Rossi conundrum, which only brought it to a head. But I don’t really know what I think. If I opened a Twitter account in the name of The Getting Old Blog, tweeting about each post as it appeared, would that accomplish anything more than continuing to post away right here? And how much extra work would all that tweeting involve? If The Getting Old Blog had its own Facebook page, what would be on it? And what would that achieve? How many of you do have social media accounts? What do you use them for? Are they linked to your blogs? If so, is the link productive in any way?
Don’t be shy. I’d really like to know. See where it says, “Comment” below? Please do tell me what you think. So I can figure out what I think. Many thanks in advance.