author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On the Value of Facebook and New Authors

"The Social Network"

I remember well when “MySpace” was the thing, the place, for young people to visit that disappeared into thin air.  My promotional “package” opened an account for me, which I closed later for lack of interaction and, well, what can I say, the site didn’t work for me.

I found out about Facebook (after everyone else, of course) by turning on my husband’s computer and seeing it.  After asking him about this dating site, (that’s what I thought it was) he did some explaining.  Someone else told me to get on Facebook, it’s the “thing.”  Though skeptical, I jumped in, and with the 900 million users, there I am, “liking” and “posting” with the rest.

When my first book, “Act of Redemption” was published, advice given to me was to definitely get the book on Facebook.  OK, uh….How?  No answer there.  I opened my page, tried to collect a few friends, and got some awful emails and messages from Facebook threatening to shut my page down for spamming.

Spamming?  OK, well, I thought, FB must be right, after all.  It is the company worth billions and if it says inviting five friends to an author page is spamming, so be it.  I didn’t invite FB friends for a long time.  I did extend my presence on Goodreads and Twitter.  I did seek help on FB about what I was doing wrong, and was assured all FB staff were very busy.

Later, I found FB Ads.  Hey, no spamming there!  Pay for your clicks, and no-spam-I!  After trying this for a few months, my sales were almost as dismal as my pocketbook. (from my Ads article..)  And General Motors just dropped their ads?  Maybe there’s some solace that new authors (this new author, anyway) and auto manufacturers can’t get results from FB ads.

After seeing and enjoying the film “The Social Network,” the question stuck in my mind:  “Why is Facebook worth so much?”  We don’t pay to be on FB.  Some people explained  “venture capital,” which my small mind has trouble grasping, other than exposing our information to companies to channel Ads.  Wait, what?  Ads aren’t cool?  Isn’t that right? 

I still didn’t understand.  I asked many business people why FB was worth so much, because, as a consumer, I don’t buy anything directly from FB.  Amazon, yes.  Twitter, yes, with links usually to amazon or smashwords.  But Facebook?  Maybe (probably) I’m just out of the loop.

This past week’s news didn’t make me feel so badly out of the loop.  For reasons I still don’t understand, investors don’t seem to understand what FB is worth either.  Whatever it’s worth, last week wasn’t a great one.

But here’s the real question:  What is Facebook worth?  Meaning, not monetary worth.  That’s still a lot.  After the initial browbeating, I’ve met great people virtually, enjoy networking, and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in decades.  That’s what it’s worth, and there’s no clear sticker to place on the value of the social experience.


  1. This is an excellent post, C.c. I've posted it to G+, Twitter, and Facebook. What is FB worth? That's a good question. I first became a member when my son was leaving for Iraq for a year. He said it would be a way for us to keep in touch. Since he's come back, I've used it in many ways. To promote my blog, to promote others, to post funny pictures or poignant stories, to post picks of my grandchildren, get back in touch with H.S. friends. Though it is a great way to network, I wouldn't cry if it went away. I'd just go to Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. As far as promoting books...I'm torn. I think if a member consistently posts good books, good writing, good blogs (and helps by promoting others), then when I need a little promotion, my "friends" will be there for me. Since I've not published a book yet, the jury is still out!

  2. I'm with you, C.c., still trying to figure FB out in terms of my work. Of course, I have been told I don't spend enough time on FB for it to really pay off" which makes me throw up my hands in dismay! Only so many hours in the day and priorites are what they are. In terms of connecting with old friends and new,though, it has been delightful.

  3. Thanks for the insightful comments all!

  4. Very thought-provoking, C. C., and I really appreciate your balanced approach. As much as I am fascinated by, and enjoy, social media, the frenzy of "the next new thing" is rather appalling. I agree with Karen...I enjoy what Facebook offers, but if it went away, there would be something else.

    I have taken a couple of Facebook webinars that have helped me understand ways to use a Facebook page (as opposed to a personal profile) effectively, but it still takes time and I don't feel as though I've "cracked the nut" yet in terms of doing it right.