A Social Media Rant of Troutrageous! Proportions

So I gotta ask a question of my fellow bloggers...I know there's a lot of you out there...  Outside of writing your blog, do you really enjoy the social media part of blogging?


I don't.  And I haven't for some time.

Look, I dig writing a blog.  It started as a place to post pictures of fish and my kid, but turned into a creative outlet.  I work a desk job concocting spreadsheets and negotiating prices all day, so that release is not only welcomed, but needed.

But I'm at a point in my life where I'm really starting to detest Facebook.  I think I'm turning into an (almost) 37 year old curmudgeon.  I honestly believe it's a total time drain and other than maintaining about 40 or so actual "friendships" from afar it's something I could definitely do without.  Plus you'll go blind if you do it too much...

Fortunately(?), I've already all but given up on Twitter.  I once found some value there, but not so much anymore.  Life is so much more than 140 characters.  Those last 3 sentences were 157.

I never really embraced Instagram or Pinterest.  Pictures are cool, but everyone cross promotes their Instagram pics on Facebook.  I don't give a crap about any of the "next gen" social networks out there.  Is Snapchat yet another method one can use to distribute inappropriate pictures of their junk?

For some reason I'm like one of the 7 dudes who sort of enjoys the quirkiness of Google+, but even that is becoming nothing more than a collection of people running around taking pictures of absolutely nothing with their Google Glass cyborg eyewear and cloud-created "Auto Awesome" animated GIFs.  Hey Google+, not every winter picture needs animated snowflakes added to it...

I think the only reason why I actually still do social media (outside of writing the blog) is due to some sick sense of obligation I have to feed content to my roundabout 1000+ Followers, Likers, Circlers, or whatevers.  The sad thing none of us probably want to admit is that if we don't post something new to Facebook (or insert social network of choice), the followers won't miss us at all.  They'll just scroll down to the next picture of their friend's adorable baby or the Russian dash-cam car wreck video or the photo of their friend's half drunken bottle of IPA in their news feed.

But wait a second, one of the first things you're told...or you read...or whatever...as an impressionable blogger is that you should promote your writing to expand your audience.  Everybody consumes content differently, so it's incredibly important to post your crap on Facebook, Twitter, and places like that...  It's a necessary evil, right?

Eh...Google Analytics tells me that over the last 365 days only 8.8% of my blog's visits came from social media referrals.  And half of the 8.8% came from Blogger referrals (i.e. blogrolls), not Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, etc...  So is 4.4% of my traffic all that important, especially if the process of acquiring it isn't all that enjoyable?  Heck, I'm probably doing it wrong anyway.

As I'm re-reading this in closing I'm not exactly sure where I was going with this whole post...but I'm in too deep to just toss it aside.

Look, I still enjoy blogging.  It's fun, and I value all of the friendships I've made along the way.  Perhaps this is just my way of saying that if I'm quite a bit less active on social (other than syndicated blog posts that Facebook will probably not let you see unless I pay them for the honor), it's intentional, but nothing personal.  I'm just making better use of my time.  Maybe even out fishing...


Postscript:
The incredible irony of this post is that it was inspired by a instant message exchange with Jason Tucker on...you guessed it...Facebook.

Comments

  1. Couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for the reinforcement.

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  2. I feel the same way, its a total waste of time. Its like reluctantly pulling into the drivethru at Mcdonalds eyeballing that Double Quarter Pounder with cheese value meal, making the plunge only to totally hate yourself afterwards when your gut is turning upside down as you grip the bowl waiting to unleash hell. (should've went to Panera and got that damn salad). Maybe its time to cut the cord or continue the suffering, I'm torn to.

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    Replies
    1. Double QPCs are the bomb. The fries do you in.

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  3. Mike -
    Definitely agree. In 'blogger school' one is bombarded with the gospel that you have to be 'social' in order to gain traffic and increase your following...I'm not so sure this is really the case in our world, where folks mostly use social media for trophy shots/photo sharing. We did a number of things early on to dry to 'get social' if you will but have realized (like you did) that literally no one will miss us if we are gone. I'm still pretty torn in terms of what to do with social media for our blog, Feather and Fin.

    Personally, however, I'm scared for our future. Every single time I go out to a restaurant, I see entire families on their phones scrolling through Facebook vs. interacting with eachother. It is sad....and I cringe to think of what else will be out there when my little guys grow up (4yrs and 15 months). That cabin in the remote Maine woods is looking more and more appealing.

    -Spencer

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I definitely hear your last sentiment. There's a time and place for everything electronic, we try our best to keep the the table out of it...although I'm guilty of snapping a quick picture of my food gluttony and posting it somewhere later. Maine sounds spot on. No service.

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  4. Right on Mike ... I'm a blogger and I do absolutely nothing to promote my blog. This is because my blog isn't a commercial enterprise. I write about fly fishing because I enjoy writing and I enjoy fly fishing. And like my fishing - some days I write well and some days not so well, but that's OK because ultimately I'm writing for no one but myself.

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    1. It's strange. I had the same outlook on blogging as you do. Then it changed. I'm not sure why. I figure that removing some of the annoyances might help.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for that. You're one of the 4.4%. I'm not ditching FB completely. Just letting the auto-post tools do their magic. All of the other energy is better spent elsewhere.

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  6. Love blogging. Love writing. Don't have time for the rest.

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    Replies
    1. You've got it more figured out than I do.

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  7. i ditched facebook etc last year in a 'simplify my life moment. Today i just signed up for instagram again, as it, along with the blog were the only two things I really like 'doing'. All the others, in my opinion, are a waste of time. If folks want to interact with you, or are genuinely interested in your stuff, they'll follow your blog.

    Instagram is simple. take a picture post it. I keep mine exclusived to fly tying and beer/whiskey. No personal stuff on there, maybe the odd flower if i see nice one.....

    Get rid of the others, you'll thank yourself for it immediately after.

    Eunan

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    Replies
    1. My Pinterest was hacked today, so that's been cancelled. I'm not sure why I signed up for it in the first place. I will say that I like Instagram as well, I'm just not a cell phone person, so I don't find myself using it much.

      Delete
  8. I think you hit the nail on the head with the word "obligation." Not a huge fan of any of the social media outlets, but I'll always post a link out of obligation. Excellent article as always, Mike.

    Ben

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ben. The "obligation" is strange...especially because it really does not exist. We're all nuts.

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  9. It used to be when someone had something to say only those that turned to the station or channel would hear about it. Now we're all forced to hear what people have to say whether we like it or not. So we're bombarded with just useless crap. Do I really care about a quiz that says which Disney Character you're compared to? Stupid stuff like that kills me. Everyone wants to be important and a huge majority of people want "attention." Facebook feeds into that desire and makes people spend the whole day basically saying "look at me". What I'm doing is cool and entertaining right? Nope. You're just as boring as the rest of us, you just advertise it more.

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    Replies
    1. I'm Baloo the bear...from the Jungle Book...

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  10. My reply was way too long for this comment box. http://www.lowgapcreek.com/2014/02/troutrageous-mike-and-end-of-social.html

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    1. I enjoyed your reply Owl. I like the 100 to 1 or better yet 1000 to 1 comparables.

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  11. I sort of agree. Twitter sucks...never got it, never cared to try to get it. Instagram is probably my favorite because I like seeing pictures of fish, etc. Facebook I enjoy only because it is easier to interact via Facebook than through the blog. Bottom line for me is I don't take any of them seriously. I post a blog when I have something to say, but it is easier to be active on Facebook or Instagram just because I don't have to say as much. I don't know...I guess I would rather be out fishing, hanging out with my kids or playing tennis than doing any of that stuff anyway.

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    1. Word. A lot of this on my side probably comes from the fact that I work in the internet industry and have it crammed down my throat daily the importance of social. But for this crummy blog, what's the point? I prefer your point of view.

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  12. I use Twiter to figure out WTF is happening with the local transit system because I can't understand the overhead announcements and my fellow riders seems to have a better idea, and if nothing else, it makes me feel like we're all in this together. I use Instagram b/c it makes my photos look cool, but they automatically post to FB. If the important things didn't things eventually pop up in the same one or two places, I'd spend my whole day cycling through social media sites, which is what that family Spencer mentioned must be doing.

    I read T! through an RSS reader, but sometimes come here through a FB link. I do feel pretty special when one of my FB posts gets a "like" from Michael Agneta and not T! -- it's like I've made an actual connection on these Internets, and that's pretty cool. I'm no blogger, but I would think there has to be a fairly easy way to automatically push links to those places you don't want to go but feel you "need" to have a presence. Or not. You do this for fun, right?

    Cheers,

    -- Greg

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    1. To answer the question/comment in your second paragraph - yes, my RSS automatically posts to Facebook so I don't physically post any blog posts there. I was just always of the opinion that you had to do a little bit more than just post your links to cultivate an audience on a social network. Something like 50% your content (RSS populated blog posts), 50% unique/promoting others' content. End of day, that other 50% isn't yielding anything, so why bother.

      And Michael Agneta will still be Liking posts. I like FB for personal scenarios. Especailly since I'm displaced from so many friends in the Northeast.

      Delete
  13. Couldnt agree more. I'm 39, so I can be a social media curmudgen a bit easier with those big, extra, 2 years on you! Facebook can be ok, but overall, it feels like people concoct junk or share more than they should... It's a weird universe that is not needed. Yes, I have a Facebook page and twitter acct, but more and more can go days without looking at either. Blog's to me, are more about an individual sharing experiences and ideas. Almost like an unedited editorial on life. If you share interest or want to see how other folks are thinking on a subject, a blog is a neat space to explore. They are a little rough, but always very passion driven or creation driven - and that's cool. Maybe blogosphere will change for me over the years and Ill feel differently, or feel more like I do about social media... But for now... Ill mostly stick to reading blogs, and be ok with not being the cool kid whos super invested in social media...

    Will

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    Replies
    1. Being the cool kid is often overrated anyway. I think I'm going to stick to blogs too.

      Delete
  14. Wow, lots of comments. Posting about social media must strike a nerve with many. I'm going to reply to each comment individually, but I figured I'd comment over some of the themes I saw pop up.

    1. I actually like social media. I don't think I'm quitting Facebook as me, aka Mike. Now that I live in Florida, it's one of the easier ways to keep in touch with folks back in Philly. That said, I'm definitely going to back off as my blog page identity. Social media as "Mike" can be a lot more enjoyable than social media as "T!" The latter is more like a job with little return on investment.

    2. I'm not going to stop posting my posts to Facebook or Twitter. Heck, I never physically posted them there in the first place...my RSS Feed automatically does it for me. So if that's how you find my posts each day, thanks, and it's not going to stop. What I'm not going to continue to do is waste my time posting pictures or making comments or posting anything unique to FB under the "T!" identity. Sadly, I was never a fan of people who only auto-posted their blog posts and never participated in the social media outlet otherwise...I thought them to be carpetbaggers...but I'm going to become one of them, bag in hand.

    3. I have awesome readers. All of you that have commented so far, thanks. As I mentioned, I still enjoy writing the blog...and receiving comments is a hell of a lot more gratifying than a "Like" or "Retweet"

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  15. There was a time when I thought I needed a separate facebook page, twitter account, google+ account for my blog. I thought that I needed those for anyone to even notice my blog. The truth is...I need to focus on my writing and photography and the rest will work it's self out. I do not get much action from facebook/twitter/instagram. Google+ gives me the most, but like all the other social media sites....it is great for a day but then it drops to nothing.

    Out of all the social media sites, I prefer instagram. I do not promote my blog much through that, but love looking at others pictures.

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    Replies
    1. Dude, you need to focus on one URL! Seriously, just joking with you. That's 3 of you preferring Instagram. I probably need to spend more time there...not for this blog's sake, just for enjoyment.

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    2. ......I know. As much as you may have been joking....it is the truth.

      Delete
  16. Ok, I am in on this conversation, and I agree with you, Mike. I think you touched a nerve. I have been all over hell in the social media circus and back again. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, Google +, etc. I have been using Pinterest lately more than any. I use it as simply a storage space for things that I like, want to do, or somehow related to fly fishing. I enjoy it. Don't have many followers, but, really don't care if I do or not. It is primarily for me. Personally, I could get by without Facebook or Google +, and, have at times. I, too, have seen Facebook take over dinners with my extended family to the point that sometimes I don't enjoy going out. Very, very sad what is becoming of desire of folks to communicate. As you know, I am a Dinosaur in the Blogging world. In one way, shape, form or another, I have been writing fly fishing related blogs for many years now. It was meant as a release for me and a place to store my memories while I still remember them. Along the way, I have been a big fan of commenting on others' blogs and creating a source of community on my blog that allows me to share with all my other readers. I think I have less than Twenty, but hey, I love the heck out of it and won't change that. I can see Facebook, Google + and all the others, except maybe Pinterest, going bye bye soon. At my age, I need to keep breathing, relax, enjoy my family, and fish till the cows come home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mel, you should be doing whatever makes you happy. Heck, we all should. Pin away my friend, pin away.

      Delete
  17. While I totally agree with you, I have to say that having a Windknots page on Facebook up'ed my readership a bunch. If only I didn't feel like I need to live on that page to stay relevant. Heck, I'm just trying to keep up with T!

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    1. I have to say, of all the people that Facebook under the guise of their blog, I think you do it the best. Posting your posts, but sharing and promoting the posts of others probably more, you're the man Howard. Thank you for all of the "shares" over the years. I bet of my 4.4% of traffic coming from social media, your referrals are probably responsible for most of it.

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  18. Enjoying your commentary here, I'm the blogger at Rivertop Rambles, and also the old curmudgeon who remembers a life before the advent of the internet and social media. As such, I have absolutely no interest in maintaining a presence on FB or Twitter and such, and thus sympathize with your misgivings. I am happy to blog for the few who enjoy good writing about outdoor experiences, and am pleased to have plenty of time to fly-fish and hike and enjoy the wild. Granted, I have only 90 followers compared to your 1000, but that's okay with me.

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    1. I think like Mark (Shoreman), you've got it figured out. I'm not dropping social all together, but I'd like to move to a much simpler format.

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  19. FB, with it's controlling ways and limited reach without paying, is rapidly becoming anti-social media. When they say that 453 people saw this post, and yet only 3 liked it and 1 commented, I smell a rat. That said, I did see your post in the feed and here I am, being social.

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    Replies
    1. I smell a rat too. Sounds like we need to go mousin'!

      Delete
  20. i was on facebook but found it was full of big headed people just telling you where they are or what they are buying !!!
    i have a blogger page but its been redundent for about a year. i have restarted it tho and hope to post weekly

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    Replies
    1. Good (semi-frequent) content always builds a good reader base, social or not. Good luck with the re-boot.

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  21. Michael, I could not agree with you more. I basically started the social media circuit for one reason and that was to gain more traffic to my blog which I enjoy very much. It does take a lot of valuable time and if I could I would delete most of my accounts. It is helping but not as well as I had hoped but I will give it some more time.

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    Replies
    1. Not worth giving up on all together. Keep on bloggin' Rick!

      Delete
  22. A bit of social media belly button contemplation going on here...

    I try not to overthink it. If I was blogging as part of my job, things would be different for me.

    Tactical engagement is the best way to describe how I interact with social. I've long given up with trying to keep up with the 7+ media outlets, but since the Instagram feed expires, I'm drawn to keep up with that channel the most.
    Yup, I'm that guy who posts pictures of flies, beer and fewer fish with an ocassional blog post for good measure. I enjoy the social banter that comes from this engagement (mainly because I'm an old fart with no real life anymore ;-))

    I'm glad that you, Mike, and many other bloggers above post useful content that I can use about gear, kayaks, flies, techniques, etc...

    Social media is what it is and will continue to evolve. I see it as a tool to extend and not as an anchor to hold one back.

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    Replies
    1. I'm kind of falling into the Instagram line myself. I'm enjoying that quite a bit more than I used to after giving it another go (after reading all these comments).

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