How I became my cat’s social media manager, and found a community in the process


I last made an internet friend in middle school, when so few people used AIM that my real-life friends and I traded contact lists and began chatting strangers. One time a boy asked for my number and called my house. I panicked a few seconds in and hung up. We never spoke again.

But I have always been fascinated by online communities, especially connections that begin behind anonymous handles and then morph into real world friendships. From time to time, group pictures from meetups float to the front page of Reddit — person after person who felt strongly enough about their online world to bring it into reality.

I had never felt that intense of a connection with the people I encountered online.

That general stranger-danger opinion of online contacts feels like it has started to lift in recent years with the proliferation of online dating sites. My friends talk…

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Facebook against Click Bait (finally)

Amazing news from Facebook HQ today – they’re taking action against those click-baity Facebook posts with their ‘you won’t believe what happened next’ style copy that nobody seems to like, and yet (currently) everyone seems to ‘like’.

They’re also giving more engagement to posts that share links, as opposed to featuring them alongside images.

Read the full post on Facebook’s blog.

These are both very welcome changes, as for page owners this means a couple of things:

    1. The CONTENT you share is now even more important than the way you craft your posts (though of course the way you craft them will always be important!)

      It’s always frustrated me that the BuzzFeed/Upworthy-style posts of afore-mentioned sites and their imitators – usually with their Random Capitalisation Of Every Word – get so much engagement without actually telling you what’s in said post. Few people on Facebook want to spend valuable time deciphering what a post actually means, so why we have to be coerced into clicking without being told what is being linked to has always struck me as slightly unworthy, even if the content itself is valuable and interesting. You just shouldn’t need to coerce people to read valuable and interesting content. And this update makes that even clearer – make your content count, and your audience should engage.

    2. Which means… it’s all about YOUR AUDIENCE

      It should always be about your audience, of course, but these changes should encourage us to study the people who take the time to engage with our pages in more detail: what sort of content do they respond well to? What brings huge numbers in terms of likes, and what brings more thoughtful comments? And – most importantly – what makes them click (literally and actually)? It becomes less about the generic psychology of what makes people respond (though, again, this will always be important) and more about the specific psychology of the people who like YOUR page. So after they’ve clicked, what percentage convert to a specific action? It’s about the whole journey, not just the chasing of likes and shares that, in the end, give you little reward aside from a slight increase in brand awareness.

So there you go – two of the many reasons I think this update is one of the most significant Facebook have ever announced.

What do you think?