Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Troy

The Results of 30 Days Without Social Media

17 posts in this topic

In the first 27 days of not using social media at all.  My traffic from social media has actually gone up when compared to the prior 27 days.  It is also higher than the traffic from the same 27 days in 2016.  After about 6 months or so I'll write about the impact of not using social media on my business.  My initial conclusion is the increase this just reflects how the impact of my personal activity on social media has been on my websites traffic.

I have to admit I have sometimes I found it hard to ignore the desire to share something on social media that I just posted on this site. I feel like people will not learn about the interesting book or author I just posted.  Intellectually, know this is just the result of 10 years of conditioning to use social media. I know of course over time this urge will diminish.

From an online social perspective, I have y'all :-)  From my family and friends perspective, most are not active on social and those that are, are the ones sharing the minutia from their daily lives--either way I don't feel like I'm missing anything,  

From news and information perspective, I know I'm better off ignoring social media. It has been interesting to see traditional news outlets start to sell themselves on the virtues of providing true journalism and not the fake news you find on social media.  The subscriber base for the NY Times has increased.  It appears the pendulum may be swinging the other way.

Last night (March 26th), 60 Minutes aired a segment which spoke about Fake News.  They demonstrated how websites can buy fake likes and shares, which not only gives people the false impression that articles are important but "tricks" social media into sharing these articles as trending--which greatly increases the organic reach of the entity buying the fake likes.

I put "tricks" in quotes, because I know social media sites can identify the artificially amped up articles, but they have little incentive to remove this fake engagement because it helps the social media platforms too.

 I watch and enjoy the Showtime program Homeland.  One of the threads in the season's series deals with social media and how is used to influence public opinion. This is straight out of the article @Mel Hopkins shared about how social media was used to influence the trump campaign.

 

This is actually not the first time I stopped using Facebook.  About 2.5 years ago I stopped as part of a much larger campaign called, 99 Days without Facebook, which asked the question would you be happier with Facebook.  I hoped to use the campaign to encourage others to join the effort.  I don't think I convinced a single to leave Facebook.  I boycotted Facebook for 37 days.

This boycott is different.  I don't care if any joins me. I'm not even trying to convince anyone to.  I'm relating my experience here for my own benefit as much as anyone else's 

 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still check in to Facebook because people continue to write me there as opposed to my websites, but my time on Facebook has dwindled. My time on Twitter has increased, but I've been able to connect to some heavy hitters and get a lot of information that helps shape my site. Twitter has become much more effective tool, and so has Linkedin. But I'm not writing much there either. I'm primarily using the sites as tools for growth.

My website traffic is growing tremendously now that I focus on the site and creating information for the site. My search has improved and my return visits are up. I'm working on doing something similar for CBP but it's hard to find source content that I'm just as engaged with as I am with sneakers.

Anyway, I figured I'd drop in stop lurking, lol. My lurking is a symptom of being dedicated to the website growth, so I know you understand. Keep fighting!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@CDBurns thanks for popping in. I'm predicting Twitter is on the way out.  They have never made a penny in profit even Trump's tweets isn't making them profitable.

Every semester I poll my students, asking them to name their favorite websites.  This semester I asked them to give me two social media websites. Our out of 53 students only 1, named Twitter  This is a dramatic decrease from previous semesters.

The students did say they used Twitter for breaking news, mainly for the memes.  Snapchat and Instagram are far more popular with my group of college juniors and seniors.

Good to read your website traffic is up!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah Twitter will be purchased by Facebook probably. Snapchat just IPOd so they are obviously hot, but Facebook is launching a Snapchat styled service so that IPO could become worthless. It's interesting to watch. Linkedin is actually a more valuable service as a social media channel than any of the others. The work on my site is really eye opening. The rate of growth is incredible. About 600% over the last 12 months. I'm adding 1500-2000 Unique Visits per month and people are starting to comment on the site.

 I have more stories to tell about Amazon as well. I quit cold turkey. I don't have any kicks up on the platform and I'm making the decision to shut it down completely, but sales on my site aren't picking up although affiliate and ad revenue are picking up. Also Amazon removes the right for me to sell a host of brands once I downgrade my account from professional. It's a catch 22.

They charge 39.99 a month for having nothing on the platform, but if you downgrade they remove your right to sell shoes. With so many people shifting to Amazon for everything, leaving the platform for the next 6 months means that I lose six figures, but I'm determined to fight. For the first time in 7 years I'm applying for jobs. It's sobering. I'm also driving Lyft, lol. 

On April 1st Amazon will either charge me 39.99 or I will downgrade and lose the right to sell shoes. Which would mean that I would have to get invoices from every brand before being able to sell on the platform again. It's crazy.

The beautiful struggle continues.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just discovered looking at my own author profile: https://aalbc.com/authors/home.php?author_name=Troy+Johnson that when I make a blog post it is shared to social media.

I'd forgotten about that don't even remember what mechanism I used to setup to do that.  I'm not gonna worry about it.  I make less than a handful of blog posts a month.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please

On 4/13/2017 at 5:59 PM, Troy said:

I'd forgotten about that don't even remember what mechanism I used to setup to do that.  I'm not gonna worry about it.  I make less than a handful of blog posts a month.

Please bring this feature back!  1 1/2 years later and I'm still working on my AALBC project but that is one of my findings - you are a missing a chunk of forum dwellers by not attaching the discussion forum to social media.  There's an intellectual audience that is simply looking to be social but without an highbrow outlet.  (remember that dude who thought he could match wits and decided we were too 'ignorant" lol) But I digress,

I like using my profile here and it's only second to twitter... in the rough draft of my AALBC strategic study, I think I included how engaging the profile page could be - but in a way, I was talking out of my butt because it was.   I saw what I posted on twitter appeared here back in 2010.  When I refer those who are looking for another social network, they respond "it's nothing but books"...and that is how the front page appears when you first visit the sight.  The discussion forum/profile/blog pages aren't obvious. 

Anyway, I wil soon finish because I want you to have it.  What's keeping me from finishing is  I've been working on my two websites to use as a vehicle for passive income - and what I've learned during my pursuit of growing a valuable website is this:   When I "press" your monthly newsletters on theleadstorydotorg... they experience fast growth and are my highest performing content!  Also theleadstorydotorg is very popular on baidu.com and the visitors seem to be very interested in aalbc. com.  Not the heck sure what the people's republic of china wants with us - but I'm going to keep promoting your site on the leadstory lol

On 3/30/2017 at 10:46 AM, CDBurns said:

Linkedin is actually a more valuable service as a social media channel than any of the others.

Really?  Tell me more!

On 3/30/2017 at 10:46 AM, CDBurns said:

but sales on my site aren't picking up although affiliate

Have you tried depop?  I've been on almost a week and absolutely love this app although I haven't sold jack!  You on the other with new product may kill on this app. https://www.depop.com/mellymelle

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No @Mel Hopkins, I have not tried Depop.  I actually never heard of it until you mentioned it.  I checked out the site and don't have any interest in it.  

I'm sorry to read that the initial reaction of those that you invited was "that it is nothing but books."  I suspect if you probed you'd find there was a different reason because the reality is that the forums were always dominated by non-book conversations.

But to your point, I can and will add discussion forum content to the homepage to reflect the conversations that are taking place on these forums. Maybe some variation of this feed:

 

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Troy said:

I have not tried Depop.  I actually never heard of it until you mentioned it.

That part of the comment was for @CDBurns,  - The board merges the comments even if you quote from other posts.    haven't noticed a way to keep them separate when responding. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also Facebook, earlier in the year, killed the ability to syndicate one's facebooks posts.  They are starting to raise the walls of their walled garden.

With just under 2 billion users, they are have effectively become the Internet.  

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Troy  said " I can and will add discussion forum content to the homepage to reflect the conversations that are taking place on these forums "

 

That is a good idea!  Maybe if you also add "create your own profile and join in the discussion"  this will encourage folks who are looking for a social networking site to participate. 

The discussion forum, encourages transient traffic.  Those visitors aren't necessarily coming to the site because they put in a search term - they're visiting because they have an opinion on the topic and want to express it. If they stay to join the community -even better. 

As for those visitors  who responded "it's just books"  that wasn't a put down.    I've sent "readers" here... they like books.  They just couldn't find the discussion forum.  I've noticed that in the past, you've posted discussion topics on twitter - in fact that's how I met  @VL Towler   she was very vocal in topic - and the link on twitter took the visitors right to the discussion. 

 

3 minutes ago, Troy said:

Also Facebook, earlier in the year, killed the ability to syndicate one's facebooks posts

Well that sucks... I have a facebook page. I have followers (5) not friends.  I send my wordpress blog posts to facebook, twitter google etc. I'm able to syndicate my blog posts that way.  But my website isn't a social networking site like AALBC.   I have subscribers not members (at least not yet.)

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not take the "It's just books" as a put down, I just don't take the critique at face value.

I write this because on every single page of the site, there is a menu says "Discussion"  There is also a search box on every page which would direct anyone to the forums with a simple query.  Again, finding the forms is not difficult if one put in an ounce of effort--unlesss I'm missing something.  If I am please tell me.

Also, the site gets at least 10 new sign ups a week, but the majority never post.  This is something I really worth pursuing... because it is worth understanding why these people don't post I just don't have the time.  

Still, the forums are simply not as popular as they once were.  I'm sure it is a combination of several factors but I suspect the strongest factor is Facebook. Facebook plays a zero sum game. They literally want to be the only place users ever go when they go on-line.

Aldso people are still reading the pages they are just not commenting.  One page for example that is really popular is the one about the Best Black websites.  It ranks well in search and deserves better presentation I just don't have the time to address it now,  Only 1 out every 2,000 visitors to the pages leaves a comment (not counting myself).

I dunno, what motivates you to post here @Mel Hopkins ?

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

On 5/6/2017 at 10:14 PM, Troy said:

I dunno, what motivates you to post here @Mel Hopkins ?

@Troy ,

There's no echo chamber here...

We are eclectic personalities bringing our homemade dishes to the party.

I can stay away, and when I return there's a whole host of different topics...

But one the best things about posting here is even though we all have our own things going on, I feel if I post something everyone would "get it." I don't have to struggle to be understood.

Edited by Mel Hopkins
add name
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there. As for me, my only reasons for not joining in on this site is that I forget. Yes, I do log into Facebook but usually to see family stuff, and I have only recently begun to "tweet". I am in the process of learning how to market my first book so I am also concentrating on getting speaking engagements and writing new articles and I blog. Yes, my publisher set me up on Amazon which I have no problem with. My book writing project was originally about inspiration, and I happen to be a Black person writing about a Black man. But I did not initially set out to specifically reach Black people. So I have become a part of the White mainstream social marketing media. And once I started trying to connect with Black book stores and what not, I became disappointed. Once I found AALBC I was delighted. But I have found that I have to remind myself that I need to engage with others on this site the same way that I do on my Blog, and on twitter. I want to have a site on AALBC separate from my blog and I intend to work at gaining a presence on AALBC by commenting on more discussions. Thanks for AALBC Troy.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Elva D. Green, that is EXACTLY why this site is here.  I used all caps because you expressed the situation perfectly and that is relatively rare.

Reaching this audience does not come at the expense of reaching readers in the white mainstream, one can reach both audiences.

This site is used as a resource by many schools and libraries.  Now this demographic does not participate in the forums and make their presence known, but I see the traffic from their domains, I see the 1,000s of backlinks from their sites, and they tell me what a resource AALBC.com is for them when I attend or speak at their conferences.

Now I could do a better job of helping authors appreciate these advantages, but I too am resource constrained. 

Part of the problem, I think, is that there is just so much attention paid to social media by the media; one would think sites like AALBC.com don't even exist.

But the media are lazier (or under-resourced) than ever so unless it is on social media it does not exist for them.  Many authors are no different, and don't understand anything outside of social media or Amazon. As a result, they don't maintain a website, a mailing list, take advance of sites like AALBC.com, or do any of the other very basic things an author needs to do online to reach a large auidence.

The net result of this situation is that indies sites find it very difficult to attract traffic.  AALBC.com does FAR better than any site of its kind, that I'm aware of, but if authors do not embrace and utilize resources like AALBC.com are growth is constrained.  Ultimately an author's only option is Facebook and Amazon--who only care about your work insofar as they can profit from it. Which does not serve authors or readers very well at all.

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mel Hopkins LinkedIn allows you to search for a specific company and send a message to that person. There isn't any political banter and if your profile is solid, people will connect to you. It's a great place to seek employment and because of that it is the most efficient form of social media next to blogging. Twitter actually comes in second for me because of the same ability to tag, retweet and connect to a person you are looking to align yourself with. 

With all of that said, the biggest driver of traffic to my website is search. Our job is to literally create so much content that Google includes our content in their search listings. Even with over 3000 social media followers combined I only get about 4% of my overall traffic from social. The majority of my traffic, which has seen a +600% increase since October 2016, is from direct links and search. AALBC is almost = in directing traffic to my sneaker website as both Twitter and Facebook.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@CDBurns, it looks like I missed this comment.  That is a good way to measure the impact of social media; as a function of the fans and followers you've earned versus traffic.

For a noncelebrity, the number of your fans/followers is a function of the effort you put into increasing them it whether it is through paid or active engagement on the platform. The size of your fan base is a good proxy for your engagement (paid and organic) on social media.

Best Metric for Evaluating Social Media Traffic 

If your goal is to acquire traffic from social platforms then what better metric is there?  I wish I had my data.  Google Analytics free information going back that far is just a rough estimate and social media platforms do not provide the number of fans and followers over time at least not going back as far as I need. Of course, the platforms themselves have the data and benefit greatly from it...we, in turn, are at a disadvantage flying blind.

Results of Social Media Boycott After 3.5 Months

Three and a half months into my planned 6-month boycott, I've learned a lot. An increasing number of people use social media as their primary web presence--even if they have their own website.  This means:

  1. Social media is becoming the only way to reach people for whom you don't have contact information.
  2. People who share photos and videos of you often only share this information in social media. To show appreciation requires social media engagement. 
  3. When I research an author, bookstore, or related business, social media is the only often the only place where information is available.
  4. Often I have to resort to social media, because the website is inadequate as the site's information stale or missing altogether. 
  5. People often reach out to me on social media rather than through my website or email. Unless they are highly motivated people use the tools that are most convenient to themselves, which is often social media.

Social Media Use Can't Reasonably be Avoided

Basically, I can't effectively run AALBC.com without logging onto a social media platform for the reasons mention above.  But these platforms are largely limited to Facebook and Twitter. Today Twitter and Facebook make up 93% of all of my social media traffic (13% and 80% respectively).  Five years ago it was 67% (10% for Twitter and 57% for Facebook). Again this growth in share of social media traffic occurred during a period when I've largely abandoned use of these platforms.

Twitter visitors are more engaged with AALBC.com than Facebook visitors.  Twitter users look at more pages and stay on the website longer. But again, Facebook drives much more traffic. Albeit the amount of traffic has not been proportional to the growth in Fan and followers over time.

Facebook and Twitter Dominate, No Use for Snapchat and Instagram

I have discovered no reason for me to use social media platforms like Instagram or Snapshat, despite the fact that these platforms are wildly successful and are increasingly dominating a higher percentage of Internet activity of handheld users. Globally handheld devices have already surpassed desktop devices in terms of the number of users, which is why Google has penalized non-mobile optimized websites. Almost 46% of my traffic, in 2017, came from handheld or tablet devices. Only 5 years ago it was less than 16%.

If someone is aware of a way for me to effectively utilize Snapchat or Instagram to drive traffic to AALBC.com without spending a ton of money or time I'm all ears.  Right now Facebook appears to be the best game in town for driving traffic to AALBC.com. I also have zero interest in using those platforms which poses another challenge.

Traffic is Much Higher, Growth Due Largely to Traffic from Search Engines Resulting from Website Upgrade  

Google Analytics has defined 26 other social media sites that have driven traffic to AALBC.com. rounding out the top 10 are Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, YouTube, Linkedin, Instagram, Disqus, and Reddit. Of these only Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads have shown and growth in the past year; the others are have suffered a sharp decline. 

I can not explain the growth of Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads this year.  I have accounts on all these platforms, but I simply do not use them very much, nor I I plan to.

Today social media traffic is higher than it was 5 years ago, but this is because of social media is a smaller piece of a much larger pie.

Pages views are up over 200% compared to 5 years ago.  This is largely due to the website's redesign.  Of the top 5 most frequently visited web pages 4 did not exist 5 years ago. These 4 pages were only possible because of the website's new database.

Organic Search (someone visiting the site by clicking a link on a search result) is 71.69%% of AALBC.com traffic year to date 2017, Social media is 4.51%

For the same period in 2016 Organic Search and was 64.63% and social media traffic was 8.62%

What am I Gonna Do?

I'll update this shortly...

 

 

 

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...After almost 4 months, I've decided to end my boycott of social media. I definitely won't go back to posting every day, nor will I engage in efforts to increase engagement on these platforms.  

 

Maybe I'll post once a week, in the hopes that someone with an engaged social media audience shares what I've posted.  Others sharing my posts is what has generated all of my social media traffic for the past three years, anyway...

 

Social media is very powerful, too powerful if you ask me.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0