What do I post on which social media? (part I)

I have a reputation to be everywhere on social media. I've often joked that I cannot discover any of the new channels that become popular anymore, because I don't stop anything I start.  And I can't possibly add any more time to something new.   But that's not entirely true since I've created Pinterest but never found a click with the medium so my profiles lies rather neglected there. And since the internet turned mobile in the recent years, there has also come new mobile time available during some lost moments to use social media when you didn't have a PC available before.

So what do I use, why and how?

1) My blog

My blog dates from 2005...the pre-social media area. At that time I was regularly sending lengthy e-mail updates about my life to friends across the Atlantic Ocean. Since I had no clue who was interested and who enjoyed receiving a few pages of stories every x months, I decided to change from info push system to info pull system. My blog would hold the stories about what was going on in my life and friends that were interested could come read when they wanted.

When I type on my blog, I have friends and acquaintances in my mind. These are potentially non-Belgians so sometimes I explain obvious Belgian habits. Obviously I am really flattered to notice that people started to follow my blog that didn't know me at first. My blog has given me some real-life friends. And some strangers that started to follow my blog in the past, have now definitely become acquaintances that feel familiar and that I really hope that they keep coming by. I guess that's what I value most: the recurring visitors in contrast to a high quantity of visitors.

I won't lie: the FB change that doesn't allow me to post automatically posts on my personal profile, has made me loose quite some readers and that bugs me a lot.  It bugs me because those were people I know (since they clicked through from my personal FB profile), people that used to read my blog but who now don't get to see my posts anymore. Seeing those statistics drop, is very frustrating. I don't dare to ask you to like my FB page too often and to interact with the posts so they get more reach. I guess I have to accept that it is what it is, and trust that my closest friends and family still stop by.

I realise that I might get new readers by making some changes: typing in Dutch, blogging less frequently but with more attention to style and content (quality above quantity), choosing less trivial and repetitive topics (eg the xth time we go walking in the weekend).  But somehow I can't make the changes. I love to tell what I've done in the weekend, I love to show pictures from my vacations and children over and over, I love to track what my children said even the non-special things, ... And I love to do all this without much tactics and strategy.
This blog is my diary. It's a record of my life and adapting it in order to acquire a new audience feels wrong. The inspiration would dry, my drive to write would disappear and it wouldn't be mine anymore.
In my mind blogging feels as if I'm talking to some friends I don't see too often and who ask me "hey, how are you doing, what have you been up to? " and I start talking about my last vacation or the silly things my children did that morning which made me smile.

So no, I don't tend to break taboos, politics or controversial topics, I don't blog about some worries or stories that are too personal either.  I love to read them in other blogs, I love the authenticity and courage from others to tackle certain topics in all honesty. I admire their vulnerability.  It's not intention to restrict my blog to a good news show, but despite my alias, this is a public place. I'm too much of a coward. But once again I write my blog as if we cross in the street by coincidence and we haven't seen  each other too long and you ask me how I've been....I  don't start sharing my deepest struggles at that moment either.

So far I have no issues with lack of inspiration. Since it is a sort of diary...well, stories keep coming right? Often I can dedicate a few posts each week on what we've done in the weekend, our vacation trips always give me a few weeks of blog posts and I love to blog about music now and then, share some pictures that I love and recently I enjoy some nostalgic flashbacks. The conversations with my children en count my blessings are monthly recurring topics. And other blogs I read, also give me inspiration as well.

Unlike some other bloggers, I have no ambition to be an influencer. I've read in the mission of some bloggers, that they wish influence their readers to a more green lifestyle, to inspire for vegan recipes, to show how you can travel with children etc.  I have no such intention at all...you can all continue to live your lives as you wish. I only wish to share mine and hope that some of you find my and my family's life interesting enough to come back. I do take into account more and more the fact that some readers might drop into a post from a google search: rather than just stating "we've been to place x and we had a lot of fun", I therefore now add a bit more practical information. If I would truly post a review, then I must find a service or product so exceptional that I would also spontaneously start talking about it at the coffee machine at work. Other information only serves to give the reader sometimes a bit more background in what I do and who I am.

2) Facebook

I'm an early adopter on Facebook.  My account got created on March 28th, 2007 after a few of my former Canadian classmates had sent me invitations for this new website to join. My first status was "Just discovering what Facebook is about" . In a few weeks I had reconnected with a few dozen Canadians and 2 Belgians. At that time users were organised in networks and when I created my account, the Belgian network had 66 users in them!!  In the beginning there was no home page feed yet but we scrolled from page to page to leave a message (there was no messenger) and have entire chats openly on someone's profile. We were also hatching eggs or growing halloween pumpkins that we sent to each other and we were using other crazy trivial apps that were on our profile, which we have fortunately all long forgotten.

Quite quickly I found in FB a good place to share pictures with friends on trips etc...much easier than maintain our own photoalbum website.

The bulk of Belgian connections only came in 2008, which I notice now in the constant "10 years friends anniversary" that Facebook is making for me at this moment.  By the end of 2008 I was also automatically posting my blogposts into my profile.

I have quite a large number of FB friends connections and I do realise that not all of them are close friends. Actually I am quite ok with that and it's just a matter of reality that you can't be close to everyone. But thanks to the FB algorithms, I will not see the trivial "I have a headache today" from acquaintances that I never interact with, but if they have a big life update (marriage, child birth, ...) I'm sure that it will go viral enough to show up and that way I do keep up with the major events in their lives. With closer friends I find that FB strenghtens the communication. Unlike some critics of social media would state, FB is not detrimental of real relationships...it compliments them. FB can trigger offline communication, staying in touch, being up to date etc  but of course you need to know that FB is not the full image of someone's life. Besides that knowledge, I don't understand the criticism that FB is fake or full of negativity or ... It's communication and if it's full of negativity it means you should check the groups and friends you follow. Don't blame the tool for the content you follow?

I chose to share a lot (and I don't accept all friend requests 
for that reason)  and I enjoy the mix that FB is from text, pictures, conversations, ...It's a quick blog, more interactive, more impulsive and very often more effective.  With friends in multiple countries, friends that I only see every x years, Facebook has enabled me to maintain these relationships in a way that would not have worked in the pre-social media era. I can see the difference in the relationships I still have with Canadian friends from more than 20 years ago versus the relationships that my sister still has with her former Canadian friends that had to survive an extra decade via "post" and then e-mail. 

My Facebook use is personal and intended for personal relationships. Therefore it is with sad eyes I notice that some people are not using it or using it less and less active.  The added value only comes from interaction and therefore others need to use the platform as well. It is not a place for news gathering for me, not to do business or be informed from businesses, ... (although I love to maintain the FB pages from several organisations...as it is the easiest way to communicate for a community and get reach even though that reach of pages has diminished). 

Since my 11 year use and the FB "on this day" functionality, it has also become a diary review as I check every morning what I've been up to 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, ... years ago. It's very fun because I have posted so much to see vacation pictures, anecdotes, milestones, parties, reactions to news facts etc all coming back again.


ElsS said…
I kinda started my blog with the same idea: stop sending friends en relatives e-mails about what we did because I didn't know who actually wanted to read the stories about our little girl and also because I wanted to write about other things too. Lack of time somtimes makes it difficult to write much (I would like to do it more often) but I won't quite either as it became a part of me so to speak.

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