Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Friends and Fans and Followers

I'm relatively new at this whole social-media thing, and so I don't really know much about getting followers. And, oddly enough, I'm not sure that I should care.

I'm on Facebook, Pinterest, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Twitter. That's pretty much my whole social media presence. Generally speaking, when someone follows me on Facebook, they tend to stick around. Same with Pinterest and SoundCloud. The Facebook followers are mostly personal friends and acquaintances, the Pinterest follower mostly connect with the subject of one of my boards, and the SoundCloud followers are interested in hearing whatever tracks I'm coming up with next.  I have almost no YouTube subscribers, but that's because I haven't done much there of late.

But Twitter is a different story. Oh, yes, the followers I have now are mostly people who have some interest in what I'm posting, how my songs and stories are going, or what's happening in my life. But those are the ones who stick around. Twitter followers comes and go like crazy. Why? Because somewhere in the litany of the social media experts, someone came up with the idea that the way to get followers is to follow others.

But if you're only following someone to get them to follow back, what good is that doing anyone? Most of the new followers I get are people who promise more followers, or sell books on social media, or who give inspirational seminars. Stuff like that. I'm not interested in that, and so I don't follow back.

And, sure enough, a couple of days later, they'll unfollow me. I supposed I should be devastated. Think of those follower numbers I could have built up if I'd just followed back and let my Twitter feed get clogged up with their sales pitches.

What good does that do anyone? I'm not going to buy their products, and is anyone really going to follow them (and buy their products) just because they have more followers? I don't think so.

And if I spend my time trying to get more followers and friends, then I'm not spending the time writing stories and songs, and finally getting out there and making some videos. Because the point of this, really, is to get fans. People who are waiting for my next book, my new song, or to see if I will ever get back to making videos.

And in the end, it's not a numbers game. It's a relationship, a dialogue, between me and the people who are willing to spend a little of their time (and, occasionally, a little money) to hear, watch, or read what I make.

And if, after that, they happen to follow me on social media, they will be welcome.

Them, I might even follow back.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year

Fresh off the calendar, I have a whole new year to play with. Last year, I wrote six new songs and published a book. This year, I'm hoping for more.

For one thing, it's about time I released an album. I won't announce the name quite yet, but I've selected a theme which five of my current songs fit nicely, along with two of the songs that I'm working on. I hope to add three more songs to the mix. There may or may not be a crowd-funding campaign for the album; time will tell.

I also have a few songs that I feel ready to record as singles, and those will be my first songs released for sale.

I also have two books in the works, one the first in a series of stories called The Milliken Diner Mysteries, and the other a non-fiction book with the unlikely title The Earth Is Not Flat.

I'm also planning to get back in front of and behind the video camera, with some little stories, some thoughts on filmmaking and songwriting and, well, anything else that comes to mind. Look for the first video within a week.

I'll also be giving my website a major facelift over the course of the next couple of months.

All-in-all, it's going to be a busy and, I hope, productive year. I hope you'll enjoy the fruits of my labor, which you can find out about right here.