By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund
To be honest, I wish I didn't have to write a post like this. But lately I've had a slew of really annoying Facebook interactions and as a result have unfollowed some writers. Lest those writers think I'm calloused or too good to mingle, I thought I'd offer an explanation for my seemingly rude behavior.
First, I should start by saying that I have two Facebook accounts: my Personal Page and my Author Page. Obviously I have my author account as a place to share updates about my books, contests, and other reading related stuff. But my personal account is "public" and so I rarely turn down friend requests there, although creepy requests from strange males with strange names are usually a NO.
One of the main reasons that I accept most friend requests on my Personal Page is that when readers look me up on Facebook, they may run across my Personal Page first and send me a request without realizing that I have an Author Page. And since I like interacting with my readers and want to maintain an open and positive aura, I accept their requests rather than send them a message to go over to my Author Page instead.
Needless to say, having an open policy poses some problems. But then again, I have similar problems on my Author Page too.
What are these problems, you might ask? Basically the summary of the problem is "ad calls." An ad call involves annoying people that call your private phone number and try to sell you a product. Sometimes they're really pushy and the only way you can end the conversation is by hanging up on them.
There are writers on Facebook doing the same thing as the old-fashioned ad call. They look up people with the specific intention of selling their books. Unfollowing one of them on Facebook is a little bit like hanging up on an ad call. You hate to do it and be rude, but when people are pushy in your personal space, what choice do they leave you?
Here are the top 5 things writers do on Facebook that make me "hang up."
1. After accepting their friend request, they post on my timeline leaving a blurb about their book along with a link to an online bookstore.
2. After accepting a friend request, they send me a "personal" message explaining their life situation, what lead them to write their book, and how I might enjoy it. And of course, they leave either a link to an online bookstore or invite me to visit their website and learn more about their book.
3. After accepting a friend request, they tag me and about twenty other strangers in a comment that is–yep, you guessed it–about their book (or indirectly relates to it somehow). And not only do they tag me, but they continue to tag me on future posts.
4. They leave a message on my Author Page saying they "liked" my Facebook Page, and they would be obliged if I would head over and "like" theirs in return.
5. They tell me that my books look good and that they're looking forward to purchasing them. In the meantime, they suggest that I might enjoy purchasing their books too.
I want to point out that obviously, there are some VERY genuine writers that I've met on Facebook. The kinds of behaviors I've mentioned above are the exceptions rather than the rule. Most of the time, most writers get the idea that the effectiveness of ad calls or cold sales pitches died long ago, if they ever were effective.
However, for those who friend new people on Facebook simply to sell books, the "friendship" request feels more like a slap in the face, like you're showing interest in others for what you can gain rather than genuinely connecting.
So if you're offended that I unfriended you, please know that your tactics are offensive too.
What do YOU think? Have you ever had someone friend you on Facebook only to try to ram a product down your throat? How did that make you feel?
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