A Social Media Fast

 

selfie

YouTubers have to promote their content and be visible. They have to be present on social media. That’s the common wisdom, anyway, but do we really know this? Is this constant sharing, constant online interaction really necessary? And does it contribute to burnout?

I use Twitter professionally to promote our Socratica SciComm work, and to stay updated by scientists and science communicators. But it’s also a social outlet, connecting with my peers – because, let’s face it, being a YouTuber is a weird job. It’s not like we have coworkers.

No one else but a fellow YouTuber understands the strange details of our jobs (good and bad). When someone leaves a nasty comment on one of our videos (unbelievable, the sorts of creeps math and science videos attract), I can point it out to my online friends and we can support each other. When a friend reaches a subscriber milestone, we can all celebrate together.

In that way, Twitter has served a much larger purpose for me, allowing me to connect with fellow Edutubers (that’s how I met the We Create Edu group) and find some much-needed camaraderie.

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But there has been a slow, steady creep of social media into my life, and like so many others, I’ve found myself scrolling, scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, TikTok – and to what end?

Thankfully I got off of Facebook years ago. And for the next 40 days, I’m giving up the rest of it. I’m not a practicing Catholic, but it’s my family tradition, and the ritual of Lent appeals to my Transcendental nature.  (I usually give up popcorn.)

This year, no more endless scrolling and online dopamine hits. I’ll let you know how it goes.

~KHH

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Should we leave Facebook? What a scam.

If you’re trying to build a brand on Facebook, beware. 

I really wish Veritasium had made this video two years ago. Please watch it before you give Facebook any money:

What this means, basically, is every time you make a post and advertise it to reach a bigger audience (paying good $ to Facebook to do this, btw), it’s pretty common to get fake likes and fake followers. These come from click farms using spammers trying to hide their tracks, or using bots, or, as reported by researchers at McGill University’s school of Computer Science, just taking advantage of loopholes in how Facebook works.

What’s so bad about fake followers, you ask? Let’s say you think you have 80,000 followers and only 10,000 of those are really interested in you. Is that so bad? After all, they’re not hurting anything, right?  Well, the next time you go to post an announcement on your page, or share a video, or try to communicate with your audience in any way, Facebook will only show that post to a subset of your followers.  No surprise there – that’s what they do with all your posts. That was the subject of Derek Muller’s first video about Facebook, before he realized just how bad the problem really was:

So here’s the real kicker: If you have mostly fake followers, they’re the ones who are going to see your exciting new post. Only a small fraction of your real followers will ever hear from you. That’s why, as time goes on, you get less and less of a response from your followers on Facebook. Because most of those people aren’t really your followers.

I can't believe we gave these people $.

I can’t believe we gave these people $.

Of course, if you want to reach more people, you can just give Facebook more money. Which in turn, will result in more fake likes and fake followers.

So now they want MORE $?!

So now they want MORE $?!

So what’s the solution?  We came up with the bright idea of deleting the obvious fakes (people, for instance, who never post but just seem to “like” a lot of things. These are people who work in click farms.) We got down to about 10,000 followers, and now Facebook won’t let us delete any more.  They turned off our “delete followers” function. We’re stuck with what are certainly a bunch of fakes, with a few genuine followers mixed in.

We’re this close to scrapping our Facebook account altogether.

We could start fresh, and NEVER give Facebook another dime in advertising. This means losing all of our genuine followers on Facebook, but at least we wouldn’t be shouting into the wind anymore.

If we were to start over, we can’t use the name Socratica (someone else is using it), and apparently we won’t be able to reuse our current Facebook name, SocraticaStudios.  Any suggestions? SocraticaReturns?  SocraticaStrikesBackSocraticaTheMovie?

KHH

PS Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we’re giving up or giving in. This is just another dumb scam that wastes everyone’s time and money, and we think everyone should know about. If we can save anyone from making this same mistake, it will make us feel a tiny bit better. We won’t waste any more time thinking about the videos we could have made with that money instead of giving it to Facebook for sham advertising.

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