How Social Media (almost) Killed My Blog

Anyone looking over this website for the first time will justifiably come to the conclusion that I have lost interest in blogging. That’s really not true at all. I merely got discouraged.

Part of the “sell” in setting up profiles on social media is to help you “engage” and get your stuff noticed. For me, it had an opposite effect.

I started blogging in 2007 with the launch of Fantasy Debut. It was the third blog I started. The first few had no readers whatsoever, except spammers. But when I launched Fantasy Debut with the release of Lisa Shearin‘s first book, Magic Lost, Trouble Found, little did I know that she would notice immediately. I posted an as-I-read-it review of the opening chapters. She left my very first comment. By the end of that book, I had already attracted several avid readers, some of whom had blogs of their own. Naturally, I checked out their blogs and learned of even more books–and blogs.

The community grew organically from there. Or rather, I joined the already-growing community. A lot of us made our start that year.

For a while–I admit–I got a little carried away. I posted a lot, and when I wasn’t posting, I was reading other reviews, and when I wasn’t doing either of that, I was checking out my blog stats. It was downright narcissistic, and when I realized that, I deleted my link to Google Analytics and focused on content.

I was never a superstar. But my blog had a respectable following, and I could tell how “engaged” people was by the number of comments they left. I moved my site to and renamed it Debuts and Reviews. Thanks to Feedburner, I was able to take most of my readership with me, and the others seemed to follow.

When Twitter became popular, I signed up. I did the same for Facebook. For a while, all went well. Someone once described Twitter to me as a river of posts that I could stick my toe in at any time to see what was going by. Facebook was the same way. Yes, I didn’t see everything, but I did see a wide selection of content from people that I followed, and I read a wide variety of posts. Thanks to retweets and reposts, I do think I saw everything worth seeing. Both sites drove traffic to my site, but, when I did go back to Google Analytics, I noticed that my blog was really no bigger than before.

I retired Debuts and Reviews after The Sevenfold Spell was published, and my readership consequently–as anticipated–declined. I am not blaming Facebook or Twitter for that. I knew it would happen.

But then, along came the new Algorithms.

Behind the scenes, first Facebook and then Twitter started arranging the timelines differently. Two things happened simultaneously–I began seeing the same people over and over in my feed, and fewer people reacted to mine. The bottom fell out of my “engagement”.

Apparently, the Algorithm had decided that I was a bore. Which may be true.

However, I never spent a lot of time engaging on those sites because I was busy engaging on blogs. When I read a post on Twitter or Facebook, I would click through to the website and leave my comment there. Apparently, I ought to have either tweeted a reply, or left a Facebook comment. And maybe I ought to have paid to “boost” my posts. The fact that I never changed my behavior made me an undesirable.

Over on Twitter, I noticed that my feed was littered with retweets from the same few people. I was unwilling to unfriend them, but Twitter apparently rated their feeds very high, maybe due to their status as prolific retweeters.

During the same timespan, Google Reader discontinued itself, and I never found a satisfactory replacement.

Over time, my readership dwindled to a few that I can call long-term friends. They still read all my posts and they come by to comment, which makes me happy.

However, it is very discouraging to post stuff that few people seem to ever see. So I actually did so less and less often.


That’s not the end to this story. I’ve decided to try again. How?

I’m Going Old School!

Google Reader ain’t coming back, so I looked around for an alternative, from which I will be starting from scratch. Therefore, I signed up for and installed Inoreader on my iPad. I added Fantasy Cafe first, sine I knew Kristen was still blogging. I also knew that she still maintained a blogroll (which kindly still lists this blog). From there, I found two other live blogs that I remembered that are still active–Angieville and SciFiChick. Another site I looked at,, doesn’t have an RSS feed. So I subscribed via WordPress.

As for this site, my old Feedburner RSS feed still works, and is still attached to this website. I also have subscribers to this blog via WordPress, and I will look into what else is out there now, since RSS is the Way of the Past–not the Future.


There is some hope for Twitter. I figured out how to restore the original feed by unclicking an option in Settings for Show the Best Tweets First. Kudos to Twitter for providing that option. Boos to Twitter for turning it on without telling me in the first place.

Assuming my tweets are not rated “Best”, here’s how to see a greater variety of tweets (including mine!) in your feed:

  • Click the little round icon for your account in the upper right heading bar.
  • Click Account
  • Scroll down to Content
  • Unclick “Show the best Tweets first”

You will NOT regret it. It’s like getting the old Twitter back.


Facebook makes it MUCH harder. You can select people to prioritize so they appear at the top of your feed, but there’s no blanket “Just show everything ordered by time” option.

So I’m still researching it. It may be a lost cause.


I’m reluctant to announce things, because I tend to forget about my newfound commitment and not follow through. But, I’m going to go ahead an announce this. The next step in bringing back my blogging mojo will be to start blogrolling again. what’s blogrolling, you may ask? When I find interesting stuff, I’ll favorite it in Inoreader, and then post about it here, on an as-I-think-of-it basis.

Let’s see how this works out.

15 Thoughts to “How Social Media (almost) Killed My Blog”

  1. I’m not on my desktop but I wonder if you’re still on my blog reader because I hadn’t seen a post from you in forever. I only saw this because it popped up on Facebook.

    This post is especially apropo because I’ve been feeling very much the same way. I even have a post coming up on Wednesday on the very topic of blogs and whether it’s still a good fit for me.

    I’m so glad I saw this on FB. If you’re not on my feed when I get back, I’ll be sure to put it back in manually.

    I miss Google reader. I use Feedly, but it’s a poor substitute. There are some blogs that never feed through Feedly–who knows why.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      I figured others were feeling the same way. I feel alienated by social media, whereas before, I felt that blogging was very community-focused. And as a user, I was in complete control.

      My feed is still active, so I must not be on your feed anymore. I tried to add your feed through Inoreader, but your new website does not seem to be publishing an RSS feed. If you add one, I will subscribe!

      BTW, Inoreader seems very promising! I didn’t like Feedly either.

  2. Welcome back! I’m on Blogger, and I think I can manually add your blog to the “favorites” which show up there.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Thanks! I’ll add your site to Inoreader as well.

  3. I’ve always appreciated the sense of community that grew up around Fantasy Debut' andDebuts and Reviews.’ I discovered your blog right when I was going through a tough time in Real Life, and having a safe place to escape for a while meant a lot to me. I don’t know if I ever thanked you for that, so- thank you.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Wow. No, you never told me that, but thank you. I had no idea. And thank you for continuing to come back!

  4. Found you via Maria Zannini and then come to find you’re a fellow RomVet! 🙂 I swear, I’ll never remember everyone who is in that group. Thank goodness for the roster (and I can check). Now to see if I can add you to my blog feed.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Awesome! That’s another group I need to look up again. Thanks for the reminder! Your blog looks fun and I see some blogs I remember there. More for the feed reader! Welcome!

  5. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    I’m glad you’re trying again, Tia. {smile}

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Thanks, Anne. 🙂

      1. Hi Tia, I came on a recommendation of Maria, though I recognised your name from past activity. I’m a steady but eclectic blogger who’s never worked out or analysed the algorithms of FB or Twitter. I’ll try and find a way of following you.

        1. Tia Nevitt

          Thank you! I checked out your blog and we seem to share some similarity of thought. I’ll look for an RSS feed. Pretty sure all Blogger blogs have them.

          I have been to Wales. My cousins live in Colwyn Bay, and I spent some time with them one summer in the 80s, visiting places like Chester and Llandudno. We ended up taking a train all along the north coast from Holy Head to Liverpool because of a labor dispute that involved the workers on a ferry that we intended to take across the Irish Sea. So we ended up on a ferry out of Liverpool instead, and I got to see a lot more of Wales that we planned.

          Of course, that ferry trip was a nightmare, with all the original passengers, plus all the passengers from Holy Head.

          1. Hi Tia, as I said in my reply on my blog, I haven’t found out how to get an RSS feed. I’ll google and make some enquiries. Colwyn Bay is attractive, the countryside more so. What I found is that an awful lot spoke in Liverpool accents. 🙂 It’s a shame you didn’t have time to explore Liverpool. It’s like a seedy Diagon Alley. Magical but dark.

            1. Tia, I’ve fiddled. Do I have an RSS feed now? Are all three necessary?

            2. Tia Nevitt

              Just now seeing this and your other reply. I’m all set, now–thanks for continuing to stop by!

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