Facebook, She Just CAN Quit You

Note: This post erroneously made a brief, premature appearance before its scheduled due date. Re-upping it for today.

By Kathryn Lilley

Photo purchased from Shutterstock by KL

Recently the dynamics on commercial social media have become…a tad weird. So about a fortnight ago, after one too many hacking episodes, privacy scares, and nasty encounters with online trolls, I took the plunge and deactivated my Facebook account. I’ll miss the ease of staying in touch with certain folks (and of course I’ll miss “Yoga with Baby Goats” and other video gems), but it was long past time to cut my ties with advertising-supported social media.

I started feeling conflicted about commercial social media as far back as 2013, when I wrote Is Social Media Developing a Personality Disorder?  

Five years later, the answer (for me, anyway) is an emphatic “Yes.”

Here at TKZ we made a firm decision at the outset not to go down the commercial advertising route. It’s wonderful that out little corner of the cyber sphere continues to serve as a little oasis of calm amidst the winds of the social media Furies.

I’ll miss seeing my friends and family on Facebook, of course. (And I’ll really miss my daily dose of baby goats.)

How about you? Is anyone else rethinking their relationship to social media these days?

Postscript: it’s been two weeks since I cut the cord with Facebook; I’ve been surprised by how much I haven’t missed it. I think what Facebook actually provided was simply that endorphin rush one feels as one frequently checks for Likes, posts, and messages. It does feel a bit like kicking a habit, but not nearly as difficult as I’d imagined.


27 thoughts on “Facebook, She Just CAN Quit You

  1. Argh. I would LOVE to cut ties with Facebook, but as a new author, all I hear is platform platform platform. I know there are other options out there, but Facebook and Twitter seem to be the ones publishers look at most.

    I’m a big fan of James Scott Bell’s “How to Make a Living as a Writer” and buy into his theory 100%. Forget social media. Spend your time writing the best books you can and the fan base will follow. Unfortunately, publishers haven’t come around to that way of thinking yet. So for now, I have a presence on Facebook, but would love to see it go away.

    • It’s hard for anyone who’s marketing a brand to cut ties with Facebook, indeed! I seem to recall some authors saying that advertising on Facebook wasn’t worthwhile. (Be interested in hearing from folks about that). But I assume that the involvement with readers via posts and non advertising interactions must have substantial value, and its loss would be hard to replace. Thanks for visiting us today, Tom!

    • Tom, because of what you say, publisher wanting authors “out there,” I advise writers within the walls of the Forbidden City to select ONE platform they actually enjoy, and going at it with a 90/10 split (meaning only 10% of your author time spent there, with 90% staying with your writing!)

  2. If I quit Facebook, I’d never know what my kids were up to. I spend little time there, and it’s always on “my” terms. I look at people interacting with me, share jokes, funny memes, maybe talk about my writing. But I don’t spend more than five minutes on my news feed, and that’s only to see if anyone I know has any news.

    Almost everything happens on my author page. My personal profile is set so only family and close friends –people who will help me move or hide a body–see the posts.

    My blog feeds to my page (along with several other channels), so it’s kind of passive marketing. If it disappeared, I don’t think I’d mind, but my kids might get sick of me emailing them and asking what’s going on.

    • Not to mention texting, lol! I remember the first time I made the mistake of commenting on something on one of my daughters’ pages. I was read the Social Media Riot Act (“henceforth no parent may write something that will embarrass child in front of her cool friends, under penalty of Family Law.” Ever since then I’ve been reading their updates in stealth mode. 😎

  3. I actually like FB and would not get rid of it. Yes, it has it’s annoying parts, definitely. But that’s how I stay in touch with friends and family and I HATE being on the phone so FB is a wonderful alternative. Plus it keeps me in a steady state of Labrador Retriever pictures, which I need. 😎

    Maybe it’s easier for me because that’s the only social media form I use. I ignore Twitter & all the other formats. And since I represent the dark ages (i.e. my phone is just for talk and text) I only check FB is the morning before work and then after work.

    And while I’m not in a position to be marketing my own books, it’s a great place for me to pass the word when I read good books.

    • I got freaked out when I started getting bombarded with ads targeted to every word I posted there. Then came the news that Facebook was tracking every physical movement of Android phone users, and broke (knowingly, despite protestations to the contrary) its own privacy policies. If Facebook is still around, I’ll venture back when there’s a reliable system keeping the data management in check.

      • That is my experience, too, Kathryn. If I research a topic, suddenly FB ad blitzes me about anything mentioned in that research. Downright creepy. A pal says FB, Google, and Amazon know more about us than the NSA and FBI. I’m afraid she may be right.

        As to my Android phone, I feel like I’m lugging Big Brother around in my pocket.

      • It’s possible to turn off personalized advertising, both on Facebook and on Google. I turned it all off when I kept getting ads for books I just bought on Amazon. You can also opt out of personalized ads in both FB and Google. You can also get apps or browser add-ons to block ads. Unfortunately, you often have to go digging for these options, which means the average user won’t even know it can be done.

  4. Kathryn, good for you. You cut the cord and survived. I’m debating doing the same thing… Then again, I’ve had that argument with myself for quite some time. Maybe you’ll start a trend.

    • I’ve been hearing anecdotally that a significant number of people are deactivating, if not deleting their accounts. When its revealed that seemingly innocuous personality quizzes have been weaponized to harvest personal data for advertising dollars, the system has spun out of control.

      • “When its revealed that seemingly innocuous personality quizzes have been weaponized to harvest personal data for advertising dollars, the system has spun out of control.”

        I couldn’t agree more. There are plenty of venues for authors to use to connect with serious readers. Goodreads is a great alternative. There are many places to connect online these days, and authors must choose the ones that best resonate with them.

        • There’s been a steady hew and cry that Goodreads has morphed into nothing more than a place for Amazon to sell more books instead of an online place for individuals to catalogue their personal libraries and connect with other readers. The latest blow came when Goodreads changed their policies on how to display book covers of various versions. The latest version has risen to the top; you know, the one Amazon is currently using to sell the book on their site? Readers who have print versions from before the Internet no longer see the cover they have on their personal copy. They have to jump through hoops to get their cover to appear. When I visit Goodreads, I have to run an ad blocker. I’m there for all things book related, not to get a chiropractor or buy a dress. The ads made page loads painful.

  5. I’m working on my new website and will not include social media. Yesterday, I removed all of the social media icons and replaced them with this sentence. Follow me here.
    I’ll find other ways to sell my books.

  6. Our family is huge and worldwide. Facebook is how we keep in touch. Also, old friends. I mostly check it in the morning to see whose birthday it is and say “Happy Birthday.”

    Our Marine has been off Facebook ever since he got back in town. When he was overseas he would post cat videos and the occasional selfie to let me know he was still alive.

    We’re all tracked and photographed every second. Facebook is probably the least of our worries.

  7. I can’t speak to marketing for authors specifically, but I can tell you I just joined a local kickboxing/martial arts dojo that caught a LOT of customers from social media, among which was their ads on Facebook.

  8. I have too much fun on Facebook to quit, but it can be a time-suck if we’re not careful. Same goes for Twitter. I’ve met some amazing people in both places.

  9. I’m constantly torn between loving and hating Facebook. We live out in the country, near a small university town, so I see very few people IRL. It’s fun to find out what people I know socially or have known for many years are up to on FB. Nieces and nephews, cousins, young people who grew up with my daughter. I also am able to keep up with publishing news from far flung writer friends.

    Traditional publishers seem to expect authors to be on FB, so I would feel weird giving it up.

    That said…FB doesn’t sell books. I’ve NEVER had a good experience with FB ads. My targets are never met, and when they say a certain amount of $ will help you reach a certain number of people, the result is always well under their minimum. It *is* a good place for readers to have access to their favorite writers, so writers with a big fan base seem to do very well. (Catherine Coulter posts every single day if she’s not traveling, and she frequently interacts with fans there.) I see some writers–not just on FB–posting ONLY about their books, and I think that just pisses people off. I know I scroll on by, wishing I could tell them to LIGHTEN UP.

    I agree with JSB’s advice to pick one social media site and work it. Right now I go back and forth between FB and Instagram. Twitter makes me feel like I’m at an eternal cocktail party, yet haven’t had enough to drink to stop feeling awkward. And as though the person I’m tweeting with is always looking beyond me to see if there’s someone more famous they could be tweeting with!

    • Best description of Twitter ever!! 😂

      I have the same Love/Hate relationship with Facebook but Instagram is my one happy place for social media.

  10. While I have a website, email address, Goodreads author, and Amazon Author Central, the only place I’ve had individual readers reach out to me is FB messenger. What they’ve said is valuable and so I’ll keep up my presence there.

  11. I just spent half an hour clearly unwanted posts off my FB page. But I need it to promote my novels and stay in touch with my friends. Good luck, Kathryn, and keep TKZ posted on how the experiment works.

  12. My thoughts on Facebook are that I use it, knowing what I post or respond to will be tracked. I have an author page but 90% of my interaction is from my personal timeline. I never post anything I don’t want seen, nor do I like or respond to inflammatory rants. I have made very good cyber-friends, developed wonderful reader relationships, and have great fun in the process. As far as advertising, I’d rather see book deals and health or gardening items I have searched for than, say, boob jobs

  13. I’ve found Facebook groups highly valuable for making contacts, as well as keeping in touch with other writers.While I wouldn’t use Facebook as a selling tool, it’s better used as a way of being in contact with readers, writers, family, and friends.

  14. My story subject matters are offbeat and, as my Dad used to say, permanently and temporarily insane.

    Many of the people who give me story ideas, correspondence, suggestions, and feedback are on Facebook.

    Facebook and blogs of a certain kind are my bread and blubber.

  15. I reluctantly joined Facebook at my daughter’s request a few years ago. She lives on the West Coast, I live on the East Coast and she wanted us to share photos, events, etc.
    My photo is not on Facebook, I utilize one of my favorite blooms as my Logo. I don’t post. I just view family. I utilize WordPress as a platform for my writing. I’ll probably keep the Facebook page until I discuss with family. However, today, they send me all kinds of photos by text. I don’t think I really need it any longer.

Comments are closed.