Social Media Strain

We have a website. We write stuff on our website (when we get off of arses).

Look. Facial hair!

AMN1 and I are long time friends; from heady university days when we were fresh faced (yet still beardy) we talked society, music, politics, girls, student life, etc, etc. As you may (or may have not) cottoned on, politics is really the game we play. He did Politics and Sociology, I did Politics and International Relations (And they called it puppy love…). I think that comes out in what we write about. The idea for this website came up in a late night internet discussion and slowly progressed to the state it’s in now. There have been ups and downs, and a lot of typos along the way, but we started off doing fairly well for a couple of amateur writers. AMN1 has another blog which has fallen fallow in these harsh times, which was very political, waaaaayyyy more than this one is. I also used to have a blog, but it was a photography thing and therefore very different to what we do here. But clearly we couldn’t keep it up. An almost year long stop can sometimes be the death knell in an amateur project. We don’t pay for the hosting, we don’t make money out of writing (unless you want to buy a shirt); we have lives that are not actually connected to a computer.

But we are back. As mentioned in a previous post, we have actually been unable to really get down to writing. So it’s good to be back. But it’s tough, man, I’m not going to lie to you. In an effort to boost site traffic and audience in general (because let’s face it, what’s the point in writing to the ether if 1) nothing comes back from the ether, 2) we haven’t made someone consider our views. A dialectic if you will) we have done a number of things that were not really on the cards more than a week ago. We realised early on that a good way to boost readership is through social media. Most of the people I know, you know, and their mothers, have an account somewhere. Though I actually know a bunch of people that don’t and they are annoying, so fuck them right in their face. Our Facebook page is pretty much as old as the site is. We tried to be clever about it and it floundered in the water before drowning it’s predictable death. AMN1 and I tried a very similar approach to a very silly Student Union election a few years ago. But this time it’s different. We have cleaned up our Facebook page and made it a little more relevant to the website (I don’t really like calling this a blog). It brings the punters in. If someone likes an article and shares it maybe two people will read it and read the rest of the site and so on. I’m sure you know how the idea works.

Where I actually live…

We talked about Twitter a year ago. It wasn’t going to be our thing. Neither of us actually use it, let alone know how to use it. But people we both respect use it so it became something we had to look into, and eventually adopt. So far it’s hard to tell whether it will have any lasting repercussions, but what the hell, another advertising platform couldn’t do us any harm. With our new potential audience, the final step in our rehabilitation was the site redesign. It looks pretty good if I may say so, and feedback has been positive so far.

But the question remains: is it worth it? We have spent so many hours this past week staring at computers rejigging things here and there in an effort to make the ‘experience’ of our thoughts a pleasant, if not downright horrifying trip to our corner of the internet. Constantly checking Facebook and Twitter, and grammar (because that’s important) and stats, all the stalking and circles and friends and followers and who we are following and our likes. It’s all a bit weird, and if not to mention a bit stressful. I can’t quite figure out why people do it for fun. We get some enjoyment out of writing our articles but all the rest of it is a bit of a mission. Carving out our little corner of the internet is what we want to do and we will continue to do so, yet I can’t help but question those that do find the time to constantly be updating all their pages and what not. I think we are in danger of being so over-connected that we end up disconnected (we love a good cliche). I’m not going to say our internet life is a waste of time because for some people it’s a great relief that they can connect with others in a way that may not be possible to do in the real world. I have moved all the way around the world and I connect with most people online because I can’t fly everywhere when I want to have a chin wag. In the same breath I am not a particularly social person. I live in an actual jungle, half way up a mountain; there aren’t too many people around anyway.

So what is it that drives social media? And why does it work? I think the most pertinent question is whether or not there will be a tipping point, and if there is, what will be the repercussions?

Comments
One Response to “Social Media Strain”
  1. soph says:

    You’re overthinking it. The web provides an outlet. If one person reads it, that’s an achievement. If that one person recommends it to their friends, and two of them read it, then social networking is doing it’s job. The most hits I’ve ever had was 100, complaining about something topical and feminist. I know my audience!
    Either write for yourself and be happy when you get a couple of hits, or tailor it to your audience.

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