QUERY TO ONLINE FRIENDS AND FOLLOWERS

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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  107.155.77.170.  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.

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24 thoughts on “QUERY TO ONLINE FRIENDS AND FOLLOWERS

  1. I used to have a rather larger Twitter account, which was useful. In a couple of years on FB, I grew my page to a community of 9,500 people, most of whom were increasingly unable to see my posts due to feed algorithm changes. The fewer people saw my posts (now down to 100-200 per from 9,500 likes), the less it seemed a viable use of me time. I started spending my old FB time reading blogs instead, and have been much happier with focusing my attention here. I think this will be all the more so after the baby arrives! So, that’s my take in a nutshell . . .

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    • If I understand your comment correctly, Deborah, the Twitter account was useful in growing your FB page. Have you closed it, now that you’re focussing on WP blogs instead of FB ? And if not, has it been helpful with WP?

      But most important: When is the due date? You must be very excited! 🙂

      Also thank you so much for your comment. Hearing from people like you, with SMS experience, is a great assist!

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  2. This isn’t the comment you were asking for but just to let you know that I am on Facebook and Twitter and the reason why. The first because that is the only way I know the whereabouts and activities of two of my twelve grandchildren. They live 200 miles away and this is how I have learnt where one is working and the other , which college they are going to attend. I’m on Twitter because my WordPress blogs are linked into Twitter so my friends, family and bloggers ( who are only on Twitter) can read, comment or retweet my ‘Thoughts of a Senior Citizen’ blogs. I find it sad and hurtful that the younger members of my family only wish to communicate with me through these sites. It is a changing world, I know, but will we, in the future, become unable to speak?

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    • The young have always lived in a world somewhat different than the world of the generation(s) before them. What they don’t yet understand is that their somewhat different world is changing too. I’m sure, though, that there will always be a way “to speak” to those willing to listen.

      More specifically, when you say you’re on Twitter so that bloggers who are only on Twitter can read your blogs, who are the “bloggers who are only on Twitter?” One can’t blog anything of substance on Twitter. (The 140 word limit, remember?) Are these the younger members of your family? Or are you reaching people you never knew before, who you otherwise would not have reached?

      Thank you, as always, for your comment, though. I do appreciate hearing from you, about whatever you want to say.

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      • Twitter does indeed only allow 140 characters ( not words) but my WordPress account links automatically with Twitter by posting my URL. People click on it to read the whole blog. I have more strangers following me on Twitter than WordPress. Gill of ‘Whose Shoes’ talks on helping people with dementia in the family. She has just returned from Australia and is shortly to arrive in Kent to host one here. She ‘discovered’ me and commented that she sits down for her elevenses after a stressful morning and thinks my blog cheers her up. I was a bit wary of Twitter but can say I have had really nice comments from people all over the world . My Twitter name is MSpring149 so you can see how it works if you want to. My lovely niece never writes anything on Twitter but signed up to read my blogs.

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      • That would be great though , as it is the same blog you have already read in WordPress, I just meant for you to see how it looks. The good thing about it being on Twitter is that when people read your blog and like it they can retweet it to all of their followers. I have gained followers from all over including China, Switzerland, America and several other places. Hope this helps.

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  3. Knowing you are a lawyer: It is worth understanding the intellectual property policies of all the social media mediums you select. I think Facebook lays claim to have a non exclusive license to all items posted on Facebook. But that is worth verifying for yourself. Aside from the law: I find most social media useless-work and personal included in that sweeping generalization.
    But then again, I blog mostly for pleasure. I’ve been amazed that any people find me at all despite my relative anonymity and lack of marketing effort.

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    • The intellectual property ownership issue is a very important one, and thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. I’m beginning to conclude what I suspected at the outset: that FB is not for me! I suppose the outstanding question is whether a Twitter account would help grow a blog about getting old when — as I learned after posting this piece — 65% of twitterers are under 35? My guess is that you’re right: social media are useless — except for the very lonely or empty-minded. (How’s that for “sweeping generalization?”)

      As for your own blog, it is very likely an illustration of the fact that good writing will find its readers all by itself. I also think that if you collected the best of your musings and poems and gave them a light edit, you might have a little book, or chapbook, to show for it! 🙂

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  4. I have to admit I’m not very savvy on either FB or Twitter. I’m on them as well as Google+ and Goodreads but I’ll admit I don’t really know how to Twitt (there’s a lingo to learn there) and don’t really get FB. I’m only now starting to get the entire blogging scene. I do have a book to teach me, by Kristen Lamb on Social media, titled ‘We’re not alone’. If you figure it out, let me know! 🙂

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    • Well, Taylor — as I noted above, I am beginning to conclude that I don’t need FB or Twitter cluttering up my time. I will look up the Lamb book if I can find a used copy of it, but don’t hold your breath for me to “figure it out.” If there’s effort involved, I very likely won’t be tweeting. By the way, what does Google+ do for you? I didn’t ask about it, because I’m not entirely sure what it is. Has it been helpful with your blog? Or does it have some other merit all its own?

      Thank you for commenting so promptly, though! It’s much appreciated!

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      • I actually like Google+. It seems a little more professional than the other Social Media sites–to me. In an experiment, I posted (on my blog) about tips for authors and then announced that post on Google+ (in a community), I got 109 visitors to my blog that day…but since I haven’t been able to reproduce those result. Plus, I feel that result wasn’t true, authentic visiting. These were people lured into my site looking for a fix to an issue. So, is it good? I leave that up to you.

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      • That’s interesting. Thanks again for the insight. I’m not sure exactly what “community” I fit into, though. Although I write, I don’t think of myself primarily as a “writer.” I might look into finding a community of older people, but often don’t feel nearly as old as the others seem to be, even if I beat them on birthdate! I must be a one-off specimen. Is there a community of those?

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      • Nah. Don’t listen to your number birthdate, go with your heart. It’ll tell you where you belong. There are groups for bloggers and readers and all sorts. You can search for what you like. If you’re interested in Google+ that is.

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  5. Martha Mendelsohn

    Hi Nina,
    Great post as usual.
    My grandkids tell me Instagram is the new new thing. Apparently it consists of photos (often “selfies”) with captions, which means I will not be signing up for this one. For the time being, I have accounts with Twitter and Linked In, both of which I never use, and with Facebook, which I do.
    After a slow start, I have come to enjoy it. It’s a little tedious to have to acknowledge every friend or relative’s b’day, but I enjoy the photos, quotes and comments. Fortunately, only one person I know–Jessamyn Hope, of all people, who used to have such interesting posts!–has resigned or defected or whatever.
    FB would probably be a good platform on which to call attention to your blog. I plan to use FB for shameless self-promotion when my book comes out!

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    • Hi, Martha. Thanks, as usual, for the thumbs up.

      I’ve pretty much concluded that as far as I’m concerned, Twitter would be a time-waster. Besides, just 140 words? Me? With respect to FB, you must have more friends and relatives than I do! And since your FB page is already up and running,I agree it would be a good platform for promoting your YA novel when it comes out. Although you might also consider opening a web page for your book; I think that’s what most published authors do. WordPress perhaps?

      For now, however, I’m going to let TGOB (The Getting Old Blog) speak for itself. I’d have to develop a FB page to acquire enough “friends” to make it a worthwhile promotion device — and that’s a whole other activity I don’t need right now.

      But thanks very much for the comment. They’re always appreciated. Keep reading….and writing! 🙂

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  6. Hi Nina,

    My name Michelle Cortez…my husband Anthony Cortez writes a blog called Strange World with Dr. Mortimer Schnub…it’s a parody/satire/send off of supernatural/paranormal stuff. I do all the editing, posting, and marketing of sorts for it. Anyways, I found your blog because I was looking up Brett Rossi so did a Google search as we received an almost identical comment in our spam folder and I was pondering the exact same things as you! Why would someone do this? What are they getting paid? Aside from that how can we leverage Twitter, Linked and Facebook to bring people to us? Unfortunately I have no answers to your questions or mine. But, I thought you might like the fact that you are not the only one wondering these things and feeling a bit lost when it comes to using these avenues as marketing tools. I send our posts out to these places but not sure how much good it does. If you get any good advice let us know! By the way…what I have read of your blog, including this post…I really like…You have a very witty style which I like and know my husband will too. I’m going to have him come by and read you blog as well. We are now your newest followers. If you like crazy pure comedy stuff stop by our place as well http://strangeworldwithdoctormortschnub.com/

    I’m so glad I found you….I look forward to reading future and past posts from you.

    -Michelle Cortez, the brain behind the brain behind Dr. Mortimer Schnub

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    • Hi Michelle,

      I think I disposed of the “Who is Brett Rossi?” question in this post, although it’s interesting that she’s looking beyond my blog alone for unusual posts to feed her Twitter account. Now that I know she tried to contact you, I would surmise she submitted a similar comment to many other blogs as well. As yet, she hasn’t found any, though. (I just checked her Twitter account again, before replying to you.) As for the other spammers, WordPress has some interesting articles about spam, which if you have the time to find, may answer your questions somewhat. With respond to your other concerns, if you read the responses I received to my Query about leveraging social media to increase blog traffic, you may get some idea of what other bloggers and blog readers think. I can’t add to that.

      But thank you so much for writing, and for deciding to “follow” TGOB (The Getting Old Blog). And thank you for the invitation to come see yours. I’ll be over to have a look in a day or two. 🙂

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  7. annie

    Hi Nina. I use Google+ from time to time to communicate with friends and loved ones . There is more control there than on other social media and that’s why I use it.

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  8. I’m not very computer literate. I have a private Facebook account, but I rarely post anything and it’s not linked to my blog. I started a Twitter account when I started my blog, but all I post is blog entries and to date, I only have one follower. I tend to be quite wordy and can’t express much in only 140 characters so Twitter’s not a good fit for me creatively. I wish I was better at social media, but I’m grateful I don’t share my name with a porn star, lesbian or otherwise!

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