The Power of Social Media

So there’s this site called Twitter, right? You may have heard of it. Well Bill Gates recommended a book during a thread he posted to the site. Today the book was the top selling title on Amazon. Welp.

I won’t even tell you which book it is. Just go look for yourself. 

No, I Don’t Want That Book

As is all too common on the internet different companies and sites use my browsing history to recommend something else they’re selling. For example, I clicked on some travel ad on Instagram and that same company popped up in a promoted tweet on Twitter. Just ugh.

But I also tweet quire a bit about the presidential race. And as a result I’ve now been seeing promoted tweets from Trump selling signed “limited editions” of The Art of the Deal. First, the book is priced astronomically high. More than $150. Second, I have no desire to read the book. Third, there is no scenario in which I’d support him or his campaign.

I just wish Twitter would get the message. Are there any ads on social media that keep popping up in your feeds no matter how many times you skip over them?

Get Away From Me With Your Stupid Recommendations!

This week Amazon decided to use its Amazon books Twitter account to give out recommendations for Father’s Day. They claimed to give out the recommendations based on the information people gave them. But it’s stupid.

One guy said he’s a fan of sci-fi and they reommended some random sci fi title from that. Another guy said he wants cheap books. They recommended a $0.99 title on Kindle. No. Just no.

Get away from me with that nonsense. Thankfully, they’re done now. I think.

My Year: 2015

I’d initially wanted to write a series of posts this week discussing my favorite things from different categories, but now I’m just going to write one review for everything. Even though I know everyone else already has. But eh. Let’s get started.

Blogging

At the start of 2015 I set some pretty ridiculous goals for the blog that I thought were attainable. They were, but I missed the mark. Here are some side-by-side stats comparing 2014 to 2015.

Posts

282 (2014) – 363 (2015)

Views

30,102 (2014) – 33,469 (2015)

Visitors

12,195 (2014) – 17,097 (2015)

Likes

5,302 (2014) – 8,386 (2015)

Comments

10,159 (2014) – 9,685 (2015)

I’m sure some might look at the numbers and think of how great the year was. It wasn’t. It was okay. About a thousand new followers and it didn’t translate into anything meaningful. No surge in views, comments, or much of anything. But it’s fine. Maybe my content was to blame. I don’t know.

But my original goals for the year were to reach 40,000 site views, to reach 5,000 followers, and to post 25 poems. I didn’t achieve any of those goals. So I won’t set any goals for the blog in 2016. Because it can only be as good as I can make it. And that’s it.

The top three posts published in 2015 were:

Ursula Le Guin is Clueless

Little Free Libraries Have Come Under Fire

On False Claims From Bloggers

Social Media

I’ve all but stopped using other social media. My Facebook app has been deleted but there’s something wrong with my phone and it randomly restarts and re-downloads the app. Not even kidding. I rarely use Twitter. My blog posts go there automatically, but I just don’t tweet hardly at all. I’ve only recently really started using my Instagram account a bit more. But I see people posting multiple terrible photos a day and I’m just baffled. Eh.

Reading

Y’all already know I only read 10 books in 2015. There’s nothing satisfying about that number. I did manage to read some good books, including the best book I’ve ever read. But this has got to stop. From 2010-2012 I read a total of 106 books. Which is nothing compared to some people on WordPress, but at least it’s something. From 2013-2015 I read a total of 32 books. It’s just stupid. What the hell am I even doing? *slaps myself*

BookTube

I know my channel has something like 16 subscribers, but this is probably what I’m most excited about in 2016. Because I’ll be making videos for two different things going on. I’ll still be reading from Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read list, which means videos for each one of those. And I’ll also be making videos for every book I read from my challenge. The first will be coming tomorrow forย The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I finished last night. So if you’re still working on your first book of the year and you’re doing my challenge, you’re officially in the rear view mirror! I WILL set a goal for my channel in 2016. 25 videos. Easy enough. I released seven videos on my channel in 2015. My most viewed was my first video, An Intro to Johnny Reads!. It was also my shortest in length. Welp.

Hometown Teams

What a year for Houston sports. The Rockets had one of the most improbable playoff series wins in history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the LA Clippers and reaching the conference finals for the first time in almost 20 years. The Astros continued their improvement by snagging a playoff spot and having the eventual World Series champions within six outs of elimination. And the Texans just won their third division title in team history. Playoff game this Saturday! Everyone jokes at work that I don’t know anything except sports and books. Not that far from the truth.

Half Price Books

In August I started working at Half Price Books. It”s been great from day one. The people are great to work with and be around (even if they poke fun sometimes) and I’m literally paid to work in a bookstore. Heaven does exist! It’s already been five months and I’m still loving every single day there.

Trip of a Lifetime

My first. I’ve been saving as much of my little bit of money as I can. And I’m rewarding myself by taking the first trip of my life. I’ve been to Disney World. I’ve been to Michigan. But Disney World happened in the 90s and Michigan wasn’t a vacation type trip. But I’ll finally get to experience what it’s like to really travel. And I’ll be able to see the capital city of my country. I think during those four days I’ll be able to learn even more about what it means to be an American. Heck, I might even cry when I see some things. I can’t tell you how excited I am, and how glad I am to have made the decision to go. I’m hoping this becomes my first trip of many trips of a lifetime. Fingers crossed!

Reading Challenge

I said I’m most excited about my BookTube channel, but I’m also very excited about my reading challenge. Mostly because I’ve gotten tons of feedback and support since I first mentioned it a week ago. I have a feeling the post is going to be one of the top two or three posts of THIS year. It’s getting that much traffic. But I’m also excited to see what other people read and say about something I came up with fully on my own. I overhear my co-workers talking about it just about everyday. It’s great because I know others are also talking about it in various places on the Internet.

In a nutshell, I became more and less active on social media. I started working at a bookstore, My loyalty to my hometown teams finally paid off. And I saved up enough money to start my traveling. Sounds like an alright year to me.

Thanks for always coming back, guys. I know I write things you won’t always agree with and I’ll probably push your buttons without even knowing it, but it’s never too serious. And no one is aiming to be disrespectful. This is my little piece of cyberspace, and you’re always welcome.


On this day in 2015 I published Mark Zuckerberg’s “A Year of Books”.

E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect

Horribly.

Let me first say that I have no reason to criticize her. She’s made a career out of writing. One which you and I would both trade for in a heartbeat if we could. Don’t sit there and shake your head because you know I’m right. I also have no reason to care about her writing style, the quality of her writing, or which genre she chooses to write in. Sure I’ve said I won’t ever read her books, but that has nothing to do with her in particular. I have no desire to read any erotic books. Just a preference.

Yesterday when I got home from work I just happened to check the Twitter trends, and before I could even read the top headline I already knew it would be bad. E.L. James has been read by tens of millions, right? But we’re all aware of the heavy criticism her books have received from the start. And we’re all aware that people are at times embarrassed to say they’ve liked or read her work. Which simply makes a Twitter Q&A a very bad idea. Here are some tweets she received.

I’ll admit that she did have some Twitter users come to her defense, but the ratio of people being critical to those who came to her defense was likely 10-, 50-, or maybe even 100-1. Honestly, it could have been even more. It was that bad. Someone somewhere made the decision for her to do this, and that person has probably lost their job.

What do you think of this Twitter Q&A debacle? I think it was a mistake to do it at all. Sure some of the tweets were entirely out of line, but EVERYONE knows the criticism she’s taken for her books. Who did her team think would take advantage of something like this?


On this day in 2014 I published The Bad Review.

 

Writing Pet Peeves #10: Its/It’s

You know, there are a lot of people who misuse words and phrases daily. Just look at Twitter or Facebook. But there are also many people who identify themselves as writers or authors and run a writing blog and misuse those same words all the time.

I don’t particularly care if some random person misuses a word in a Facebook post, on Twitter, or even in a text message. I mean, sure it’s a bit annoying if you are struggling to figure out what they’re trying to say, but it’s not the end of the world. But I do have an issue when I find a blog titled something like “Sarah Michaels – Author” and she doesn’t know when to use its or it’s. And some bloggers I interact with don’t even use the two words correctly. “What is this, amateur hour?” -Ron Burgundy

I’m not even going to give examples of what’s correct and what isn’t because this is something that just about everyone is taught in elementary school at a young age. I find it inexcusable to see people running these writing or author blogs while misusing the simplest words.

What do you think?


On this day in 2014 I published Taking Advice From Other Writers.

 

Have you Ever Done This?

Recently I read a post about the easiest way that you can support one of your favorite authors, but I won’t link to it because the blogger didn’t reply to my comment. Seriously.

Anyway, her entire post was about going into your favorite bookstore, finding the book/author you’d like to help support, and turning their book to face the aisle with its cover out rather than just its spine. She made it sound like this was a huge deal and could help out authors in a significant way. But I disagree.

Let’s say you do this and someone comes along and buys the book. Let’s even assume that they enjoy the book. And then later buy more books by this particular author. We’ll say the author has five more books currently available. So this other person buys a grand total of six books by this author. Whoop. The author makes a grand total of…not much from the sales. You could really stretch this scenario to say that this new reader is going to climb to the top of a mountain and scream that everyone should read this author, or that they’ll tweet about it, or find a way to interview them on their blog. But let’s be real. A typical person in a bookstore simply does not have the ability to drive sales without a significant platform, which most people do not have.

Sure it’s nice of you to turn that book by your favorite author out toward the aisle, but the impact is likely no greater than if you’d have just tweeted that you liked it.

Have you ever gone into your bookstore specifically to do this? I haven’t, mostly because I don’t go into bookstores.