The Inherent Evil of the Immediate Share

Let me start by stating a disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form angry, irritated, or upset. This is not a rant. This post is strictly for informational purposes, with the intent of being a precaution to making our fans and general audience angry, irritated, and upset.

Be wary of the Facebook Share button. It is all too easy to look at something, say “Hey, that’s cool, I want to spread the word,” click the Share button, and move along with your day, not realizing that you may be doing yourself, your fellow authors, your company, and the content you’re marketing a hell of a lot of damage.

What do I mean by that?

I’ll use today as an example. SSP has a new anthology coming out, entitled “Monsters vs. Zombies.” One of our lovely staff members, B, put out an awesome teaser today for the anthology. When she shared it initially, she tagged about seven other SSP members (myself included) in the post, as a way of getting our attention, with the expectation that we would share it ourselves.

In the meantime, four other people–we’ll call them W, X, Y, and Z–saw the post, said, “Hey, that’s cool, I want to spread the word!” and with nary a thought, hit the share button.

Let me interject for a moment and say, sharing is good. Sharing is awesome. Sharing is how we market, and we want to market. We want these teasers to be seen. We want them to be spread far and wide, to every corner of the horror reading market. Sharing is not the problem. Except it is.

When you click “Share” on a post that has a number of people tagged in it, those people are notified that they’ve been tagged in a post. They haven’t, really. You didn’t tag them. You just shared the initial post. But because they were initially tagged, and you’re sharing that initial post (doing a basic copy and paste), they get tagged again. And again. And again.

What does that mean and why does it matter? Well, it means a couple of things. First of all, it means that the person initially tagged is notified multiple times by Facebook for the same post. When I checked my notifications earlier, I had the notification telling me B had tagged me in a post and would I like to share it on my Timeline? I then had four other notifications telling me W, X, Y, and Z had tagged me in a post and would I like to share them on my Timeline? If I’d clicked Yes on each of those requests, I’d have then had the exact same post showing up on my Timeline five times, one right after the other.

The minor (and personal) issue with this is that my Timeline now looks messy, and I have to scroll past the same thing a million times on my Timeline. That can be fairly overlooked. The major issue with this is now the same post is showing up five separate times in my feed, and everybody who follows me (all my friends, family, readers, fellow authors, bosses, co-workers, the guy who lives across the street, and my husband’s ex-girlfriend) are going to see the same post FIVE. SEPARATE. TIMES.

And if, by chance, someone I’m friends with on Facebook, let’s say J, happens to also be friends with one of the six other people who were initially tagged and now also have the same post showing up five times in their feed, J is now forced to look at the same post 10 different times in his Facebook feed.

By the 10th time, J is like, “OMG, enough already! I get it. New book coming out. Whoopdie-fucking-do.” And rather than seeing the image and going, “Hey, that’s cool! That looks like something I want to read. And it looks like something my friend K might want to read, too, so I’ll share this around,” now J is like, “What the hell is up with this SSP company? They’re annoying, and I’m not sure I want to give them my business anymore.”

And that’s a major problem. Annoying our audience is the last thing we want to do. We want to share. We don’t want to spam.

So what’s a person to do?

It’s actually pretty easy. If you see an image you want to share, but there are people tagged in it, rather than immediately hitting the Share button, right-click on the image and save it to your computer. Then create a new post by uploading the photo directly into your status bar. If you have people you specifically want to see the post, by all means tag them (try to avoid re-tagging any of the initially tagged people), and then hit post. (Also, for anyone who may potentially be worried about wasting space on their computers, after you share the photo, you can go back and delete the image from your files. You only need it saved to upload it; you’re free to get rid of it after you’ve tossed it back onto the web.)

Now all of your friends and family and bosses and co-workers and husband’s ex-girlfriends will see the image and have the option to say “Hey, that’s cool, I want to spread the word!” and share it themselves. But you will have avoided creating spam in the lives of those initially tagged. And in the life of me. 🙂

So share. Don’t spam. You’ll be happy you did. And so will your readers.

Much love!

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