Ten points to consider regarding the latest social media push. A new social media site, Mewe, is at least giving us options.
Facebook censorship has become ridiculous. Authors and others are being banned for days and weeks at a time, often due to content violations which aren’t actually violations. One member was flagged for “nudity” for posting a picture of a cat, thanks to largely automated content review processes triggering “false positives.” Appealing or getting errors corrected is next to impossible, and even if successful, you still can’t use your account while they are “taking another look.”
Speaking of nudity, some people don’t mind it. Others don’t prefer it in their newsfeeds. But why not let them decide for themselves? Mewe allows this. FacebooKK, on the other hand, proactively polices content even if nobody has objected to it.
The war on pen names. FacebooKK is notorious for its “real name” policy. As authors, we use pseudonyms to protect privacy. Perhaps if we’re writing risqué erotica, we don’t want Grandma or the PTA Chairman or Junior’s Sunday School teacher to know about it. Facebook will force you to use your legal name. On Mewe, you can feel free to sign up under your pen name as long as you’re not deliberately impersonating or committing fraud. And there’s no annoying “please upload a photo of yourself” and/or demands for multiple forms of identification.
“Friends”? Yeah, right. A simple matter of terminology: on FacebooKK, your social media connections are categorized onto a “Friends” list. The problem with this is, an entire generation now has a misguided concept of what a “friend” is. 4000 people on your profile? 25 of them may be family… and maybe a dozen more are “friends” in the true sense of the word. The rest are merely connections… or, “Contacts” as Mewe more accurately categorizes them.
Remember the wisdom from Bob Sugar, “it’s not show friends, it’s show business.”
Your posts being seen. It seems like it should be common sense. If I subscribe to someone’s updates on social media, I should expect to see whatever they post in my news feed. If they’re too talkative and it’s overwhelming, I should mute them or remove them from my feed. Instead, FacebooKK shows posts to a select few according to its algorithms. If you have 1000 followers, ten of them might be shown your post. Unless, of course, you pay to have your post “boosted.” And with their new rules, if you’re guilty of one of the phantom “violations” as mentioned above, you’ll be further penalized with your posts being shown even less. On Mewe, you post it, they see it, unless they elect not to see updates from you.
Bullying. Yes, assholes are everywhere. But FacebooKK is a breeding ground for them, and their wishy-washy, erroneous system of content policy is a tool for abuse. Have a falling-out with another author or blogger? They can turn around and report your post, group or entire account to FacebooKK, for whatever imaginary violation they please. You can then end up being banned or permanently deleted… best case, your account is frozen while they “investigate.” Imagine if your bully decides to do this the day before your book release, when you have half a dozen takeovers scheduled. I had another male author who took issue with me inviting a friend of color to a book event, and he let me know about it… by repeatedly reporting my official Page for “nudity” (there was none) until Facebook removed the page. Said author openly bragged that he knew there was no nudity on the page, but would do whatever worked to get my page removed.
Mewe is less prone to such harassment. And, bullies who don’t get desired results will often move on to find someone or something else to obsess over… probably back on FacebooKK.
You’re not a customer. To FacebooKK, you’re not a customer… you’re their product. You, and your “private” data. Enough said.
Group chats. Mewe has group chats. Sure, FacebooKK has them too, but have you ever tried sending a PM to an entire group of Facebook followers? They will spazz and throw a tantrum about how “rude” it is. With Mewe, the chat is just integrated into the group, an automatic feature. Want to talk to your entire fan base? Open a chat window and do it immediately.
It’s not that chatting is bad netiquette… rather, it’s entirely in the presentation. FacebooKK’s version is more intrusive. The same holds true of their “group invites” in which they actually add everyone to the group rather than allowing you to invite.
“It’s been done.” This is the prevalent feel when participating in any release takeover or group party nowadays. We get a list of authors filling out timeslots of a half-hour or so. The author is introduced (more often than not it’s actually her PA and/or it’s a batch of canned, pre-scheduled posts.) The same old games, “two truths and a lie” or “caption this picture” among others. And maybe one or two people participating. (If the author isn’t present, why should a reader be?)
At the beginning, FacebooKK was an exciting place for us as authors and readers. Now, we have the opportunity to explore something new and exciting once more, with Mewe. Because being in this industry means being able to overcome, adapt and improvise. What worked well yesterday might not work at all tomorrow, and we need to stay flexible or stay stagnant.
Let’s face it. FacebooKK is, essentially, high school. Cliques, “you can’t sit with us,” and nearly endless drama. Mindless followers to parrot a ludicrous opinion because they want to “fit in.” Every day it’s something new: who went to Dairy Queen, who did what (or who) at the latest author event, which cover model behaved badly. Who cares?
Aside from the people who act like they never left high school, FacebooKK itself adds to the “feel.” In-school suspension? We’ve got “Facebook jail.” Now, they even want to punish group owners for what other members say in the groups. (Reminds me of the time we all had to write “I will not talk in class” 25 times because two or three people were actually talking.
Writing is a time-honored profession. Mewe gives us a place to collaborate like adults without all the drama.
“But what if it’s a flash-in-the-pan? Like that tsü, or BDSMFriendBook or whatever?” Well… so what? Nothing lasts forever.
Consider an analogy. Some of your coworkers want to meet up for drinks and nachos after work on Friday night, and are meeting up at the pub down the block. Are you going to say “well, maybe we better not… what if that pub closes down two years from now? Like that banquet hall where we held the Christmas party…” Of course not, you’re just going to go with it. Because it’s about the people moreso than the venue.
As authors, you should be focusing on your own website domain, your blog, your newsletter list. Social media presence falls in behind all of that, you just need to be present and “go with it.” Too many authors hang their hats on one specific social media outlet, usually FacebooKK. And when sweeping changes come (or if your account gets locked for any of the circumstances discussed above) it’s devastating.