Facebook Wants To Host Your Blog

Facebook just announced they want to host your blog. Oh great news! Not only do they want to drive news outlets out of business, you can bet the small guys are going to struggle with this as well. They seem to be focussed on the big news operations so far but you know it’s just a question of time before they unroll this feature out to every “page” owner.

It’s called digital sharecropping.

When a creator builds a website on their own, they own the website and all the content.

When a creator builds a property on a site they don’t own (Facebook, Youtube etc) then they’re at the mercy of the property owner.

But this is the way things seem to be going.

And frankly, I don’t see a way forward around this given the power of Facebook and Youtube (and others).

On the surface there are two options

You can 1) stay independent or 2) you can go with the big boys and their dictates.

But I’m thinking of a third option

Or, as I’m going to explore, you might be able to combine the two by publishing your own work on your own site and then republishing it on Facebook with a link to the original published post. This link (including the date stamp) tells Google which is the original and which the copy.

This “may” allow readers to choose (current readers will choose the most convenient – Facebook) but also allow Google to rank your content on the search engines so that non-Facebook searches will continue to deliver traffic.

Advertising on Facebook

Naturally, once Facebook has your content, they will want to charge you to share it to your audience just as they do now with sharing links. “Boost this post” offers will abound.

And in conclusion ladies and gentlemen

This ain’t your grandmother’s Net anymore. It’s owned by the big boyz. This is the same thing that happened when Walmart took out the downtown stores.

And the same thing when the big breweries took out the smaller, when the bigger…

You get the picture I’m sure.

But also consider that smart specialty retailers and craft breweries are thriving.

The challenge now

The challenge now is to create interesting and compelling content that draws people away from these big sites.

To be the craft brewery of the writing and creating world.

Or not.

My decision about Facebook’s content grab

I’ll go with option three above for the near future.

But I’m also considering that content on the Net isn’t a profit centre for me anymore.

Ads on my gardening sites generally pay the hosting costs while ebooks are the profit centre. My fiction sites have a similar function.

Whichever way individual creators go, it’s an interesting world out there.

A Reader Called Me A Fart In A Windstorm

I had a reader email the other day to describe me as a “fart in a windstorm” or of no consequence.

I thought about that for a second or three. Went through a range of emotions and then decided what she thought wasn’t my problem.

My problems are my own — which is a very stoic approach to life. Check out this wonderful website on Stoicism.

And remembering that led me down another few thought trails. One of those trails was a system described by Roger James Hamilton in a free ebook (Amazon link — not affiliate) Read the first section and I believe there’s a link in there to take the quiz to discover your own approach to the world.

My approach to life is a syncretic mix of discovery and new. If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand I have what he calls a “creative” approach to life. It’s not that I am a creative/writer, it’s that I look at the world as a playground and want to explore it.

If you’ve watched the movie UP, you’ll understand the concept of “Squirrel!” If not, see below. All somebody has to do with me is point me to something new, something bright and shiny, say “Squirrel!” and I’m off to play. In Hamilton’s terms, that’s a creative.

This happens to be a perfect attitude for a freelance writer.There’s very little I’m not interested in (at least for a short period of time.)

But to sum up, what any reader thinks of me isn’t my problem. In this case, she owns the delete and unsubscribe button and I trust she used both.

That’s all by way of saying you get to live your own life. You get to take on your own challenges or avoid them. But at the end of the day, your life is a sum of your decisions and attitudes.

My life is full of challenges, lessons and insights.

At the moment, I’m doing one of Joel Runyon’s Impossible Challenges. And I must tell you that water is cold!

I’ve started writing in a new genre and am reading, researching and having way too much fun with it.

I’m continuing researching Alzheimer’s and Fitness topics

And that doesn’t include my normal reading objectives — there’s somewhere around 45 non-fiction books (mostly history) waiting my attention after two months of being on a restricted reading level due to some eye issues. (I’ve just ordered two new non-fiction books — one on current American politics and one on a history of the Ottoman empire.) 
Or the ebooks and websites…
Or…

My attitude to life is that it’s to be learned. And there’s so much to learn — it’s like being a kid in a candy store.

It’s not to stick in one groove.

It’s not to live in a way to gain any reader’s approval.

In short, I’d do this stuff and write about it even if nobody read it. 
That’s my attitude. And that’s my life.

So it doesn’t matter what that reader thought. It doesn’t matter whether she thinks what I do is inconsequential.

What matters is what I think.

What matters is what my attitude is and how I answer the important questions.

And that my friends is all any of us have in the end.

Facebook Just Jumped The Shark


Let me say up front that Facebook is very useful in our small real-world community as it serves as a major way to communicate events and even sell (or give away) items.

But having said that, I should confess I’ve never been a huge fan of Facebook as an author.

And lately, I think it’s jumped the shark in its desire to make money. (At least for me as an author.)

So What is Jumping The Shark?

The beginning of the end. Something is said to have “jumped the shark” when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.

“It’s said to have been coined by Jon Hein who has a web site, jumptheshark.com, and now a book detailing examples, especially as applied to TV shows. It supposedly refers to an episode of the TV show “Happy Days” in which Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skis, which Hein believes was the point at which the series had lost its touch and was beginning to grasp at straws.” Urban Dictionary.

Gardeners Like Videos

I know gardeners tend to like videos so (in a video) I polled my fans on Facebook

(I have just above 5000 Likes and 5000 Followers – or roughly 10,000 readers who may/may not see the video) about gardening questions they may have.

Facebook showed that video post to just over 1000 people (encouraged by 5 shares.)

This means 10% of my “fans” saw the post asking if they had gardening questions. I also note this was a large response by past traffic patterns.

I made two videos answering one gardening question in each.

The Results

  • Video number 1 was shown to 357 people with no shares.
  • Video number 2 was shown to 1505 people with 8 shares driving those numbers. (Note this was almost a record-setting number.)

A low of 3% and a high of 15%

It’s clear the second video views was driven by shares, but even so, it still only reached 15% of my readers.

While I intended to create a series of garden videos, I confess I ran out of steam with the numbers.

To be sure, Facebook dunned the hell out of me to invest in advertising to show the videos more often. Other creators will recognize the line, “Boost this post to reach XX readers for only…”

Facebook Is An Advertising Channel

I remember Brian Clark from the old Copyblogger site writing that Facebook was an advertising channel and not good for anything else (as an author or business.)

I find the hyper-local information about our community helpful but as for developing a fan-base or helping gardeners, I’ll be doing that on my own platforms moving forward.

And treating Facebook as an advertising platform.

The Only Possible Use I Have For Facebook Now

Is to establish a presence for name recognition purposes. I can link to my website author posts and if somebody stumbles over my page – great. And possibly as an advertising platform for my books.

Why “Possibly” An Advertising Platform

Fiction books are usually sold as series. At the moment, authors spend money advertising the first book in the series (often at breakeven or a small loss) hoping readers will buy the first book and then continue buying the others in the series.

As long as the series is profitable as a whole, the loss on the first book caused by advertising is worth the cost.

Gardening ebooks are sold as one-offs. There’s little in the way of a series “cliff-hanger” boost in sales. It is hoped if the first book helps the gardener, they’ll be more likely to buy a second to help solve another problem.

Bottom Line

For me moving forward, Facebook’s utility as an author is clearly an advertising channel and I suspect that’s fine by Facebook.

But, let me pose a question.

If my intent is to sell books, am I better off:

  • paid advertising on Facebook where fans don’t want to be sold to, but entertained or
  • paid advertising on Amazon that’s built for selling books?

Right.

And yes, I’ll likely have more to say on this in the future but for the moment, Facebook is simply one more ad channel for me.