“I have one piece of advice: if you read a book you love, tell other people about it. Tell them face-to-face. In your groupchat. On social media. Even on Goodreads. Every book is a lottery ticket, but the bezzlers are buying their tickets by the case: every time you tell someone about a book you loved (and even better, why you loved it), you buy a writer another ticket.”

Cory Doctorow

DON’T GO BACK TO THE CRAP

I love this so much from “How Tiny Desk Concerts Became a pop culture phenomenon.”

Folk artist Laura Gibson felt deflated after her 2008 South by Southwest show in Austin, Texas. The Thirsty Nickel bar allowed noisy 6th Street revelers who didn’t purchase tickets to enter, and they had no interest in listening to the soft-spoken artist.

“Mid-set, I was like, ’Why did I drive all the way down to Texas … What am I doing with my life?” Gibson remembered. “I felt like ‘I really just want to go hide somewhere and cry.’”

Two folks from NPR were in attendance and offered Larua to come to their office and perform, and it became the first Tiny Desk Concert.

Laura had to go out and do something and it sucked. Yet she did, plowed through it, and it led to something else.

I think a lot of us had some great fun and success with social media back in the day, but then it sucked.

Laura (I hope) didn’t have to go back to play another shitty venue to keep her career going. She just moved forward, like I see a lot of other artists doing, leaving behind social media.

Yes, we made our connections, had some wins, but “going back to a shitty venue” isn’t how we’ll get to the next level.

(via Kottke)

“When should it be posted? If the event is tomorrow, the answer is not tonight. Most people won’t see it until two days from now – it’s too late. Like when restaurants post their daily specials at 6 pm – great, hope your dinner service was wonderful. I saw it at noon the next day, and it means nothing to me now, I wish I had known about it sooner so I could plan.”

Chelsea Bradley from ‘Your Content is Killing Your Brand

GROWING WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA

This is a response to a comment left by Craig Lewis on what of my Substack Notes:

how do you practically make that move to talking to those closer to you/simply putting out quality content if no-one is seeing/interacting with it?

If you never post on socials etc, no-one ever sees what you do. If you have an audience already, it’s cool to get stuff out to them and they will hopefully do you a good turn and shout about it for you.

But if you’re still building an audience… back to shouting into the void?

Craig Lewis

You’ll need to get 100 new followers on social media to reach 10 of them.

Or you can just get 10 people to subscribe to your email list.

New post for Social Media Escape Club coming on Monday or so.

THREADS DEAD, BABY

Meta says they won’t recommend political content on Threads, and that “users who post political content can check their account status to see whether they’ve posted too much of it to be eligible for recommendation.”

As Nick Heer writes at Pixel Envy:

“Does any topic which has been politicized count? Are all posts about global warming, trans rights, healthcare, and intellectual property law considered political, or just those which advocate for a particular position? If advocacy is demoted, it likely benefits the status quo and creates a conservative bias by definition.”

And while this seems aimed at accounts you don’t follow, I don’t trust Zuck and company to throttle accounts that you do follow.

SELF PROMOTION

Years ago, “self-promotion” meant posting something on a social platform, and most of your followers saw it.

It was great when it worked!

Then came algorithms, and now self-promotion feels like a constant battle.

It’s not you; it’s the system.

You can’t post just once because 90% of your audience won’t see it. This is why I’d always tell people, “Promote your new song a few times a week, at different times of day!”

But then having to post, plan, and schedule starts to feel like screaming into the void.

Oh, and then Instagram says it wants videos. Twitter removes links. Facebook and LinkedIn limit your reach when you include a link. Also, don’t say “link in bio!”

At this point, it’s not even self-promotion – it’s tap dancing, juggling, or card tricks in Times Square, along with 900 million other creative people doing the same.

STOP LOOKING FOR FOLLOWERS AND GET SUBSCRIBERS

How will you get new followers if you’re not on social media?

Someone asked that recently.

They also said they reach about 10% of their followers on Instagram.

Think of the energy required to get 100 new followers on any social media platform. ONE HUNDRED. You need a hit, a nice mention, some serious work.

Then, when you send out your next big post to 100 new followers, just 10 of them will see it.

You now need 1,000 new followers to reach 100 of them.

What about 10 new email subscribers?

These might be people who follow you on Instagram but aren’t on the platform very often. You can DM folks who like a bunch of your posts and send them the link to subscribe.

If you sell stuff online, you can easily contact those people and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter (or add this as an opt-in during checkout).

You could probably email 10 people this week who love your work and send them the link to subscribe.

Heck, this is probably 50 people now if you do all three of those.

Maybe “just” half of those people click the link to sign up.

That’s still 25 people you can reach 100% of the time.

That’s more than twice the number of people you can reach if you get 100 new social media followers.

And it can be done in a few days, with a few emails.

Small effort, lasting results.

INSTAGRAM IS A WEBSITE

I link to a post in my Social Media Escape Club welcome email, asking people to leave a comment about where they’re at with social media.

https://socialmediaescapeclub.substack.com/p/your-relationship-with-social-media/comments

People often say they’ve got a big following on Instagram, they hate Instagram, but they don’t know how to survive without It.

Meta has invested millions of dollars to make you believe this, but it’s not true.

Instagram is a website. People visit this website multiple times a day because it’s filled with interesting things.

Sethw.xyz is a website. People visit it occasionally because they bookmarked it or added it to an RSS reader.

EBay is a website. Netflix is a website. Your bank has a website.

Put as many photos and text on your website as you do on social media.

That’s how people “learn” to come visit your website.

Add a “subscribe to me email list” box.

“Oh, but Seth, no one uses email anymore.”

This is another lie.

Every smartphone ships with an email app already installed.

People who buy records, get direct deposits, apply for jobs, and buy things online all check their email.

Fill your website with cool stuff.

Tell your friends about it in real life, personal emails, and build an email list.

Because someday Instagram will implode or lock you out. Then what?