Prior to launching this project I would have described myself as having a casual relationship with social media. I had a personal Facebook page and Instagram account that I used to connect with friends. I mostly posted pictures of my kids so family and friends who don’t live close could keep up and stay connected.
This project has forced me into sometimes uncomfortable and previously untried territory. I now have not only a personal Facebook and Instagram account, but also a personal Twitter account, a WNH Facebook page, a WNH Instagram account, a WNH Twitter account, a WNH Kickstarter Facebook Event, and a Kickstarter campaign to manage. I’m totally committed at this point.
Through this process, I’ve learned a lot. Some of it is useful and engaging, and some of it makes me feel queasy. Not long after I opened my Twitter account, I talked to a friend who works at Twitter. I was telling him about how I didn’t have that many followers. I thought it would look better if I had more. “You can buy followers if you want to,” he told me. What? You can buy followers? That’s crazy, right?
Turns out you can climb the social media ladder much more quickly if you’re willing to pay. I don’t know why this was surprising. It’s essentially the same with Facebook. If you want people to see your stuff, you have to pay. Pay to boost your post, pay to promote your page to a demographic you’re trying to reach, pay, pay, pay.
Judging by all the messages I’ve received through my Kickstarter page, there is now an entire industry set up to market lists of potential backers and ensure your campaign is successful. This is honestly the most common message I’ve received through the campaign. Another slick looking guy telling me how he’s interested in the project and wants to help me meet my funding goal. Yuck. That’s not what this project is about. I’m not some corporation trying to get people to buy my stuff. I’m making an independent documentary about birth. I want a real network who is genuinely engaged in the topic. Isn’t it still possible to build a grassroots network and have a successful crowd funding campaign without paying Facebook, Twitter, and Joe Backer to do it for me?
The commercialization of social media was inevitable I understand, but I still have to use it to get this message out to as many people as possible. I would love to sit in living rooms and coffee shops, talking to people face-to-face about this project, hearing their stories and getting their perspective. That’s what I did most of this weekend. Unfortunately, I’m limited by space and time. There is only one me and I still have a family and a job. The same can be said of the people I want to talk to. We all have limited time.
Social media, with all it’s headaches and flaws, is a necessary part of networking and PR strategy for almost any endeavor today. So I guess I should post this blog to Facebook and Twitter now. I’ve been told I also need to get on Pintrest and Google plus. Can you feel my excitement?