SOCIAL MEDIA…it’s evolved into an ironic catch-all from the largely defunct MySpace to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. More accurately it’s all-about-me media. And yes, this is a bit of a rant, a logical one…hopefully.
Never mind the privacy infringements of Facebook (which were apparent way before the current storm), which I have to say as a platform is quite a good discussion forum on some topics, but it’s all just a bit…pointless. Friend counts? – nobody gives a, and if they do, well, they’re either teenagers or have the mind of insecure teenagers. Followers? – again totally irrelevant, like flat-earthers. Twitter is the prime example of that. I’ve seen countless people no one cares about with more followers, in the tens of thousands, than actual famous people and people with far more talent or recognition. There’s just something so tragically, desperately, lame about Random Twitter User having gone to all the effort of accumulating followers, the most glorious of achievements indicating prestige and notoriety… when in real life they’re lucky if they have a pal with a different last name.
When I was sniffing about getting published it came to my attention that Twitter followership is heavily considered when it comes to an unknown author along with other social media ‘influence’. I’d like to see the causal relationship study between followers and talent… I mean I get it, a well known face can attract book buyers and such, but how many people does anyone remember from Twitter that isn’t well known be it from TV/ Youtube the far more influential media outlets. The old catch-22 of famous sells, but how do you get fame? How do you get work experience, when everyone only wants experience?
What’s next is a good illustration I believe (though not a picture, alas I’m no artist). I’ll break down the importance of social media followers in terms of potential book purchases.
Let’s say 1 in 500 followers buys a book:
If AUTHOR A has 10,000 followers they sell 20 books
If AUTHOR B has 30,000 followers they shift 60 books
And if AUTHOR C has 500 followers they sell 1 book
As a general metric in sales they can expect a buyer for every 1000 leaflets through doors for example, or listeners on a radio and so forth, depending on product of course. Even having halved that the expected sales from a relatively unknown self-publisher not even backed by a publishing house is tiny. And there’s really not much difference between one sale and sixty despite the much larger follower numbers I frequently see – many of which are bought, making them utterly pointless anyway. Or they’ve turned into hardcore reciprocal ass kissers swapping follows for follows – again – pointless, there’s no customers there: the garish neon lit store is open but there’s no customers.
The point is, having 30,000 followers over 500 in terms of being a marker for a publisher taking on an author is plain stupid. Writing talent is frequently neglected, and there are many out there trying to get a book onto shelves, but social media will never dictate whether someone has written or writes well. And sales from said followers are not on a level of significance to translate to future sales.
Overall, people are turning off from social media anyway. Not in droves but there’s enough of an attrition rate that the relevance of social media is diminishing for many, at a guess those who’ve experienced them for over a decade and have come to the conclusion it’s generally a waste of time, a time we could be using to actually write, although don’t pin me as a total cynic, I’m as keen on the next cat meme as anyone else.