Making real connections in a social media world

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  How do I make real connections to real people with the chaos and constantly changing social media platforms?

Long lost are the days of keeping and having a thriving blog with an active community of followers.  I’ve met so many amazing creatives throughout the last 10 years (my blog will be 10 in October). We would visit each other’s blogs, leave encouraging words and support and build relationships. I still keep in contact with a handful of these people, but now it is through fleeting little nuggets of info on FB, instagram or twitter. I am completely guilty myself of not visiting blogs anymore. Sadly, many of them have had no posts for a very long time. I myself, have not been able to keep up with my own blog. It’s sad. I miss my friends. I miss those connections!

Are we shooting ourselves in the inter-web foot, by losing these connections looking instead for a simple thumbs up or heart?

I know. It’s hard.  Keeping up with everything will leave you with your head spinning. Truly it will! That is why I am trying to streamline and eliminate the unnecessary. I have to if I want my creative business to truly work. We simply cannot do it all.

Facebook is at the top of my list.  I truly and deeply dislike Facebook.  I have been putting it in the category of ‘necessary evil’ for a really long time.  I know a lot of people really love FB. This is not a slight against you, I promise.  It just doesn’t make sense for creative business owners like me. Here’s why:

1.  It’s a time suck.  If you have your own business, you need never go on to FB.  Lots of valuable time will be wasted there when you should be working on your passion. I never look at my FB feed and I rarely post there. So, please don’t ask me if I saw your post. I didn’t.  Not because I don’t like you. It’s because I don’t have time and I know the trappings of FB. Any posts on my personal feed come from select photos from my Instagram and a few event updates. Mostly, they are food, dog and kid related, because it is one way to connect to my mom, other family members and local friends.

2. Your photos and info are not your own. Everything you put on FB is kept FOREVER in their archives.  All of your photos* belong to them too. Yes, it’s true.  And they know everything about you, that is, all that you are choosing to share and everything they gather from your searches on the internet.  They are mining all of your info and using it for advertisement focused on your individual likes and dislikes. Google does this too and it just really creeps me out. I understand they need to do this to be a profitable business, blah, blah, blah, I just don’t like it.

*Side note about photos and art. Although I am not super worried about my photos and art being on FB, I still feel the need to exercise caution.  Almost all photos I post there are through Instagram (which is also owned my FB, btw) which means they are small and poor quality.   I put my watermark on all artsy photos whenever possible.

3. Not everyone will see your posts.  FB uses an algorithm to calculate who gets to see your posts. This will be happening on Instagram now too.  Did you know this?  For example: I have 2700 followers on my FB biz page. On average, only 300-400 people will see what I post there. That is about 12%.  TWELVE PERCENT! This means, a whole lot of time and energy and very little views. Another time suck.  In order for more of MY followers to see MY work, I have to pay  to “boost” my post views.  I did try it a couple of times. It increased my likes & page views, but there were very few click throughs or purchases.  Which leads me to my final reason….

4. My sales have not increased with the use of FB. As an experiment, I made it a goal to increase my followers on my biz page by 1000 in a year. I went from 1100 to 25oo. How did I do this? I posted a lot. Two-three times a day with lots of inspiring quotes, lots of process pics (showing the progress of an art piece) and a few art sale posts thrown in for good measure. What I realized, was that it wasn’t really increasing my sales. I would get a few sales here and there that came from FB, but nothing that made me want to continue the amount of energy I was spending. Likes are fine and dandy, but they don’t really pay the bills.  I’ve since slowed my posts to 1-2 every few days which is much more manageable when you are trying to create.

Where my sales have increased is through my local efforts.  Doing art shows and meeting real people who can meet me and see my art in person, this is where the magic has been happening.

All this above to say, I am not leaving FB.  Instead you will see a HUGE decrease in efforts on that platform.

As for other platforms?  I’m not keen on Twitter because I’m a visual person.  I’m also investigating MeWe.

What is the golden answer? I’m not sure. For now, Instagram seems like the prime choice, which it actually is for me–except that it is owned by FB and they are desperately trying to monetize it further, which means more changes are coming.

It will have to do for now, because it’s pretty, quick, easy, fun and truly a place to share my art and bits of life, without getting constant notifications from FB to boost my post. So, you can follow me over there if you are interest in what I’m up to: @regina_creativekismet

In a magically perfect world, I would bring everyone back to blogging along with an Instagram type platform not owned by FB.

Would love your thoughts on this topic. What platforms do you love the most and what do you think about periscope?

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23 Responses to Making real connections in a social media world

  1. Agree, agree, and agree. And I miss you too. 🙂

  2. Woolies says:

    Yep. Where social media USED to work, I don’t really feel it does anymore. However, when I PAY to boost a post on FB, then I see results. Sometimes. I miss blogs too – had my favorites for years. Used to see good results by advertising there too. As a marketing executive, I really don’t have answers for small businesses like ours. I feel a bit inept. 🙁

  3. Jaime Barks says:

    I miss blogging but it became a burden. And it didn’t have the same community it once did. I actually quietly closed mine down this year. Instead I maintain a portfolio site alone. Much easier but I do miss the connection. Instrgam is my favorite because of the visual aspect. I hate Facebook but I use it a lot for my community organizing stuff. It serves a purpose but it is so hard not to get sucked in.

    • Regina Lord says:

      I used to like blogging, when I didn’t have all these other platforms to worry about. Now it feels a little burdensome, but I still miss it. I felt like I had a voice too, which I have lost. Or at least my pipes are rusty. :p

  4. Jenni says:

    I post to Instagram and let it post to Facebook and twitter. I mostly check for comments, and then go and respond. My website has the Instagram feed, and my old blog, which I keep meaning to write more. Working mostly alone, it IS important for me to communicate, even virtually, with someone other than my dog everyday. I do periodically get customers who talk about what they see, so it is keeping me in some monds out there!
    I do love your posts, on all platforms.

    • Regina Lord says:

      I totally agree about working alone all day. Makes for a greater need to connect. I think figuring out how to connect Instagram to my FB biz page instead of my personal page would help, although I still like to add my watermark to my art which adds several extra steps. Hmmm, still trying to figure it all out. :/

  5. Kate says:

    I am a reader of blogs and a small time buyer of arts and crafts. Over the years I formed ‘relationships’ and attachment with blog writers. They appear not to have done the same with me. When I read their blogs I engaged with them, found out a little about them, I saw the ways they approached their arts which was interesting and so I wanted to support them and did. Those I did buy from, were often those that I ‘liked’ after having got to know them a bit, so they weren’t just random strangers, I genuinely wanted to buy their work because of who made it.

    I miss those bloggers who are no longer there. Bloggers though seem to be quite mercenary (the ones that disappear). Often there is a hoo ha before they go where they have a moan about how they feel blogging doesn’t work for them, where everyone pleads for them to stay and they do until the next time they need the boost from other people. Some people do this regularly and it just seems so attention seeking. Or they just say they are going and do so with barely a sigh, apparently with no feelings of regret or sadness about those broken connections they swore were so important to them. It makes me feel used as a reader to be honest, to just be dropped like that. In some cases it seems even like a betrayal of loyalty. Other bloggers don’t even say goodbye. It is the least they could do. They often have lots of regular readers and commenters and they show by their actions that the only person who matters is themselves. Yet when they were writing their blog they swore how much they loved their readers and were so appreciative. Hmmm right. And yes I do realise how much work a blog is. It’s a choice and a responsibility and perhaps a liability too sometimes. Nevertheless there is an etiquette that should be followed. The support bloggers get (some of them) is just mindboggling compared to those of us who do our thing in the real world without any of the validation or even literal hero worship of some followers (the later reason being a really valid reason why I would not blog in the first place). Some people really do become queen for a day in their field. It is bizarre and alarming. The same degree of positive attention just doesn’t happen in the real world and for some people I am sure it becomes a craving. When I first started reading blogs they were very sharing between other bloggers and their readers. Now, it’s about ownership and sponsorship and branding. All turnoffs for me.

    There are legitimate reasons for giving up blogging (in fact it’s always legitimate as it is a choice.) But there are ways to do it.

    I don’t like Facebook. Or google for the reasons you say. I never post on my facebook account or ever use it in anyway. It was opened so I could have a pinterest account. I occasionally read Facebook pages from people I know who have closed their blogs. I have no idea to find other people whose work I would like to see but who I don’t already know. Blogging was a network that lead me to others. Ditto instagram. I look at the pretty pictures of those already known to me but rarely find anyone new. I don’t have an account as no smart phone. I look on my pc at those accounts which I already know of and which aren’t private. So very limiting. I see conversations which are very clicky and people are either in or out. Sometimes the nice bloggers I have been reading expose themselves as not quite so nice on instagram. Either because they ignore people, or because of their responses to people. More than once I have seen people show themselves in a different light to their polite blogging persona. Oh dear. So to my mind, people who stopped blogging who want to sell to me have chewed off their own foot. I simply can no longer find you, or yes go off you. Bloggers always found me now I have to try and find you and mostly I fail.

    When I go on etsy, I always look for a blog. There are hardly any left now. The truth is that if ‘you’ (not the personal you) can’t be bothered then neither will I. I find I hardly see anything new and exciting creatively speaking, that is so different from a couple of years ago. I hardly ever buy from etsy anymore (something else that has gone down the pan). The net result is that I am turning away and turning to myself. As a multi crafter I can indeed do many of the things I used to buy from others. If nothing else, this lack of input has charged my own batteries and encouraged me in my own creativity. I now have the time (not reading blogs on the internet all day!) and the impetuous to just get on with it. Everything has a silver lining!

    • Regina Lord says:

      Thank you so much Kate, for your thought. I agree. It is sad to feel connected to a blogger and then feel left behind. I’ve never had a super huge following, but sometimes I simply don’t know what to say or comment in return. It’s the introvert in me, I guess. But, I too like to feel somehow connected to the artists and makers that I am buying from. Makes the item so much more special. But, as you say, not having the blogs as inspiration can sometimes spur your own magical creativity. Silver lining for sure. 🙂

    • Carmen says:

      I can relate to many of the things you’ve said Kate. I have learned through out the short 4 years on Facebook how many people want to be my virtual “friend”, but not too many “actual” ones. Which sometimes makes me wonder why I should stay on it. I too have a blog and go through periods where I don’t post as much-this past September started working full time so finding time to do anything creative was very hard. Let alone manage a blog. I’ve followed many creative blogs over the years and what I find frustrating is the lack of response when I ask questions or even make a comment(positive ones) to their work. I think-“Why do I bother?”
      So I don’t have an answer to your question, but would like to say how much I enjoy reading your blogs and seeing your beautiful artwork. Thanks for inspiring me.

  6. Angella says:

    I found I started neglecting my blog when I joined FB. I want to leave FB because it sucks up too much time and I am not very self-disciplined. But I have received so much from FB, great artist friends, online support groups, being notified of great e-courses being offered – many of them free, getting a lot of inspiration from the stuff posted by various artists who I am friends with. I just cant see how I can give that all up. 🙁 Its tuff. I hope you figure out a way that works for you Regina.

    • Regina Lord says:

      I am so happy that FB serves a purpose for you. It is great when that happens and it just clicks. I am certainly happy when I see you over there. You are always a ray of sunshine for me with your kindness and support. FB has a whole other weird aspect of learning a little TOO much about friends, family & acquaintances. Things you just would rather not know and would normally not know otherwise, no filter. 🙂 I guess I am just trying to make the best use of my time, while making & keeping connections and also making my business work. Hugs to you!

  7. Michelle says:

    Oh, Regina, I miss the old days of blogging, too! Over the years things just got so busy and it started taking up so much time. It caused a lot of stress and guilt and the longer time passed the harder it was to pick back up. I finally just had to let the blog expire, I couldn’t justify the cost of renewal. But I didn’t really announce anything, because I kind of surprised (and disappointed) myself when I finally chose not to renew the annual fee, and I guess I keep hoping I’ll get my energy back.

    Also, for me, the blog was both highly personal and obviously quite public. I wrote about my kids and my life, and when things weren’t going so well for several years there, I felt fake when I’d only post about the cute stuff or the holiday things and not about the incredibly rough issues I was going through. They didn’t just involve me, and since the blog is also a public space, I didn’t feel as if I could write about anything so I chose to write nothing.

    I don’t have an FB or Instagram account (yes, I know, gasp!) but I do know I should email and write, and keep connected with you. I miss you, and think of you every time I drive past Disneyland (which is very very often). Thanks for writing this post, it made me reach out to say hello again. You’re never very far from my thoughts, my friend.

    • Regina Lord says:

      Oh Michelle, I do miss and think of you often too. And your sweet, beautiful girls are getting all grown up. Good for you for not having a FB or Instagram acct. Best to not get all caught up — as you can see, it can be very stressful. I think a lot about blogging about the hard parts of having your own creative biz – not all glitter and paint parties — that is for sure! But, I’m just not that kind of person, even in real life. It’s how I was brought up – not to complain/grin & bear it/etc. Even writing this post was hard. But, sometimes things just boil over. I hope you are well, my friend, and still making wonderfully adorable things. Miss you a ton!

  8. Jenny says:

    It’s like you read my mind!
    I have been struggling with this in a huge way. I am personally pulling waaay back from FB but that also means that my biz page isn’t as active as a result.
    You always have great insight. What you wrote helped me to feel less alone in my thoughts regarding FB, connections, etc.

    Thanks so much! Art on!

    Jenny T.

    • Regina Lord says:

      No, you are definitely not alone. It’s hard to find the right balance on how often to post without spending too much time. 3-4 times a week is what I might strive for. Thanks for your comment & support!

  9. christy says:

    I am so intrigued by Instagram but I do not have an iphone (any cell phone) and so am feeling a bit left out. I agree that FB is a hard one….I have many friends and family that I can only connect with on FB since I do not text and they seem to ignore emails, so I fell I must keep it for messaging alone. But yes, time suck indeed! And oh the privacy issues… we must all monitor our use carefully!

    • Regina Lord says:

      Yes, the privacy issues! Oy!! No cell phone might be a blessing in disguise. I use FB for family too. I don’t think I would ever get to communicate with my aunts and uncles otherwise. With my kids, I worry about all these issues for them as well. Fortunately, my oldest son has shown not interest in FB or having a phone! I hope it lasts. 🙂

      • christy says:

        Kuddos to your son, my almost 12 year old is already asking for one (though she knows the answer won’t be to her liking for quite awhile yet). Meanwhile I try to make real connections for them so very juicy….with us, with friends and with nature. As you do too!

  10. Dakota Nyght says:

    It is so interesting to read your thoughts about social media and blogging… some of them I share, too. I feel like blogging has changed significantly over the years I’ve been writing (in fits and spurts) and I understand but dislike the “sponsored” turn it has taken.

    I’m not sure why I lost track of your blog, actually. (I used to connect with you under the moniker “Creative Chimera,” and participated in a brooch swap a few years ago.) I had a couple of hiatuses after my kids were born but have tried to come back and be a little more consistent since. I refound you through Instagram and was really excited to see your work… it has grown and changed so much!

    Anyway – I love Instagram for the connection that it offers and have found some really lovely ladies. But I agree, Facebook is frustrating and Twitter… meh. Like you, I find it to be a lot of energy output for very little return.

    • Regina Lord says:

      Creative Chimera! Yes, yes, yes ~ I remember you! So nice to reconnect. I love seeing you over on instagram. Now, I will tuck your new name safely in my brain and try to keep it connected to your old name 🙂

      I have been approached a lot about sponsored posts and ads, but want to keep this space free of that. Doesn’t feel right for my space.

      Thank you so much for reconnecting with me!

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