About Bradley's Blog:

A cop, a writer and a whole lot more.

Here you'll find my thoughts on writing, links to my published works, law enforcement musings and other tidbits. Please subscribe to my blog and I encourage you to share anything you find worthy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and mine alone. I am not speaking as a representative of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in any shape or form here. These are not necessarily the opinions of my employer.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Genesis of My Blog


If you spend any amount of time promoting your writing or just about anything else with a Facebook Page--you know, the kind they used to call a Fan Page--you've surely discovered that Facebook has an enormous control over your voice. You've probably spent a lot of time and energy developing a following only to find if you want to actually speak to a large number of your followers, Facebook requires you to spend money to boost your posts and increase the likes at your page.

Over the past few years, I've spent more time and energy growing and engaging my following than I like to admit. Not because I don't like them--I love them; they're why I write. But downtime between manuscript rewrites and a steady day job making so I don't have to write for a living, provided me the luxury of being able to work on developing an Internet presence. It's something important for authors not named Stephen King, especially first-timers. And it has worked.

Most of my Facebook growth has been organic, although I did spend a small amount of money paying for Facebook ads which I thought was productive until I saw this video on the Veritasium Facebook Page. The key to my organic growth was simple: I recruited many of my followers into bringing their friends to the page. I knew my lone voice couldn't do all the heavy lifting to get real growth, but when dozens of people helped recruit others, the growth became exponential. During the high mark, I was getting more than a hundred likes per week. Some people came and went, but the vast majority of them stayed and engaged in the discussions and things going on there. I was filling a large virtual auditorium with people interested in my writing.

At one point, my page was growing so well that a former vice president from one of the world's largest music industry labels contacted me directly and asked for my "secrets." I gave my advice freely, because so many great folks had helped me to grow. I was returning the favor and paying it forward at the same time.

Well over 6000 likes later, I've been proud of the formula I developed and I'm thankful for those who helped me grow. I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to help others grow, but most of all, I'm forever thankful for those who liked my page and are still hanging around, waiting for my debut true crime novel to be published.

The Honeymoon Is Over


Now for the bad news...

Facebook was all too happy to sit back and watch me and hundreds of thousands or even millions of others grow their audiences. They knew their plan was working. They licked their chops knowing that before long, they would have us at their mercy and could hold our voices for ransom. And that's precisely what they've done. Facebook isn't some altruistic social gift from people wanting to see the advancement of humanity. No, they're business. Big business.

They've slowly weaned our audience from our voice. They've employed top-secret algorithms that determine how many people see our posts and when. I used to be able to post an update to my page and nearly every single person who liked the page received the update. That went away and the decrease in post views has been plummeting ever since. Today, less than ten percent of my audience actually sees my posts according to the analytic that Facebook provides.

I experimented once with paying for a post boost. I paid something around $30 dollars for a boost that promised between 5000 and 6000 views in a week's time. A week later, the views were up to around 3700 and the boost expired, not delivering the promised number of views. Of course, there's no real way to contact Facebook. They don't have a friendly customer service dashboard and if you can find a link to pose a question or make a complaint, they only answer correspondence at their choosing. I didn't hear back from them and saw no refund or extension of the boost. The giant said "Shut up and take it" to the little guy.

Here's a thought: even if Facebook had delivered over 5000 views as promised, how would I really know that they kept up their end of the deal? I have no way to measure or audit what they say. They can manipulate any results they choose on their own platform.

Frankly, I've begun to think Facebook has several of these algorithms in place that are based not only on who you are, how much interaction there is, and how much you've paid, but I also think they're throttling the strength of our voices depending on the content of our message and if it's in line with their own ideologies.

I've even tested the theory.

For several months, my post views on Facebook were averaging around nine to ten percent of my audience. I wrote a post that promoted responsible gun ownership and my support of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That lone post in the midst of the others was barely seen by three percent of my audience. The next post I made was back in line with my ordinary posts and it went back up to around nine to ten percent. I've tested it a few other times as well with other material that I suspected might get caught in their algorithms. My theory hasn't failed yet.

I think it's no secret that the shot-callers at Facebook lean left and espouse many Liberal-themed beliefs. And we already know that Facebook's shot-callers see the public as their own guinea pig supply with their social experiments. So me posting something that goes against their charter ideologies apparently gets hung out to dry even more than my normal barely-viewed posts.

My Solution


A few years ago, I bought the domain BradleyNickell.com. I didn't know what I would do with it, but it was inexpensive and easy to let it sit around waiting for an idea. I had already developed the Repeat Offender website on my own and it was a great proving ground. But as time went on, I realized if I intend to write more than just one book, if I intend to explore any other kind of writing, branding it under the Repeat Offender name and website doesn't really fit. I needed another place to do other things.

So, here I am, branding my writing and whatever else I find interesting under my own name. And the biggest benefit I see coming is my eventual complete freedom from Facebook. I plan on making Facebook nothing more than a place where my blog posts go and find added attention.

I want to control the volume of my voice. The entire purpose of my writing is to reach people with messages that might make a difference for them. I want to seek out people who are interested in my writing and there be nothing standing between us. No tax collector dressed in Facebook blue, standing there with his hand out, promising he will remove the gag he himself placed over my mouth.


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