Recently I had a conversation with someone about our philosophies on Facebook friending. For his purposes, he has no interest in adding to his list anyone he doesn’t know well. People who follow his posts know him and he knows them. They are relatives and friends, some of whom he has known since college or even high school days. I know others who follow the same guidelines when deciding whether to add or reject each new friendship request they receive.
My philosophy is different because when I hired KATHY TEMEAN to create my website in 2009 it was a business venture. I wanted to make more people aware of my books and websites had become an excellent way to do that. While she was at it, Kathy also made a blog, which I did not want but which she insisted I needed — and won — and the blog automatically connected each day’s post to a new Facebook account, which she also set up. Ditto for Twitter. Suddenly, I was in business. My job was to build a group of followers for both the blog and Facebook. All the pond needed was one more frog in the chorus. Right?
I picked on family and friends first. They helped spread the word. I told people about my website and blog wherever I spoke. I paid attention to the “You might know” lists that FB is fond of parading across the screen and invited some of the ones I actually did know or know about. Pretty soon I began getting a modest number of folks requesting to be FB friends and a trickle of people who decided to follow my blog. Quite a few readers signed my website guest book but that function went kaput so I have no way to tell how many visitors I have on the site that got me into all this in the first place.
Today I have 3,500+ followers on Facebook and a little over 3,200 on my blog. Those seem like respective numbers. The largest audience I’ve ever keynoted was 1,800 so these are more than that. However, only something like 400-500 actually follow me. I don’t know, really, what that means because sometimes I get more responses than that to something I’ve posted. I’m sure that most people on one list are on the other but haven’t tried to find out. Each day on FB I wish those with current birthdays a happy birthday. I don’t get to it every day but I hit more than I miss. I know more people than not and become acquainted with strangers around the world through the occasional brief exchanges about this and that. My life is richer because of these notes.
Has my blog served its purpose? I’m not sure, but I think so, at least now and then. Over the years it has led to speaking engagements, book sales, even to a book. JANE YOLEN and I wrote RUM PUM PUM from an idea sparked on the blog. I think Facebook has also been helpful. I can’t prove it, but I’m convinced enough to keep doing it. Besides, I like it and I’d miss everyone if I stopped.
So that’s my philosophy. I rarely try to grow my Facebook list on purpose but am always happy when I receive new requests. Before accepting, I check his/her posts, about, friends, and pictures. I accept about one out of four. Today I have three FB friends celebrating birthdays. One is BRUCE COLVILLE. I don’t know Bruce. We may have been introduced. I remember being in a gathering once where Bruce was in the room and that alone was an experience. I’m glad he’s on my list. I’ll wish him a happy birthday and mean it. Maybe one of these days we’ll be in the same room again. It could happen. Meanwhile, if you’re reading this, thank you for following me.