Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Jun 23, 2012

When Friends And Family "Unlike" Your Band's Facebook Page

Haven't proof-read this, and I'm not going to do it today, so I apologize for any grammatical mistake or instance of broken English.

How would you feel to discover that people who you thought were supporters of your band at one point have "unliked" your band's Facebook page? I'm not sure if this is something that every musician experiences or if it's just particular to me, but I won't assume I'm just that special. Either way, I can only talk about how it feels to me. It's a weird experience that triggers mixed emotions, and it depends on each case, but generally I feel a little disappointed, almost like when you unexpectedly find yourself unfriended by someone you like. In both cases, I don't let it bother me, though, I just try not to think about it too much, it's just Facebook, the cyber world, it's not real life. Obviously, I have thought about it enough to write this blog.

I can't really talk for others, but I think that whenever we find out that our friends, family, colleagues, etc, have "unliked" our band, the first thing that pops in our minds is a question: why? I think it's natural wanting to believe that we did something wrong or that they have a valid justification to "unlike" the fruit of so much unpaid hard work that we're so proud of. However, whatever way you want to look at it, it doesn't make sense. I'll come back to this in a little bit.

Back when I started becoming more active with my band's page, and everybody else was doing the same, I had this idea of a music community in which bands would support each other, which would result in a much tighter music scene with a stronger, wider and loyal audience. My idea was simple, I was going to promote the other bands in the scene whenever I could. I would post about their shows and releases, and sometimes I would just say positive things and encourage our fans to listen to them and to go to their Facebook page and Like them. I never discussed this with anyone, I just started doing it hoping that the "favor" would be returned, or more importantly, that this supportive sentiment spread and that other musicians started doing the same with all of the other bands around that they liked. I was hopeful at first, but I was not seeing much done by the other bands besides thanking us. Then I casually mentioned a few times in my band's page status updates, and in personal profile, my idea of a real supportive music community. Nothing. And that was the end of that. Oh well, I tried. We've unsuccessfully tried a few other times by doing similar things, with local and out-of-town bands, and I still think it's a wonderful idea, but maybe we're the only ones who think so.

I've discovered that not everyone understands the concept of support and that many times it's considered a pain in the ass. "Do I really have to Like their page? Ugh". Well, fuck, all the members of my band Like your band's page, not because we all think that your music is necessarily the shit, but because we believe in support. And I've found a similar kind of apathy or support-rejection from the general population, and not only among other musicians. I have some 700 Facebook friends and only 300 Like my band's Page. Among the people who don't Like my band's page are old friends who I've known since I was 15 years old, family, members of bands who have shared the stage with us several times, colleagues, and people from the music press.

I've always tried to run my band's page a little different than most band pages out there. I prefer thinking of our fans as our friends instead. Band Pages are usually silent until they have a show or a release, besides that and pictures of their shows, they don't have much else to say. I'd rather treat our page as a regular profile. We don't just talk about us and what we do, I find that extremely boring and the easiest way to cultivate an apathetic crowd. We share opinions on different topics, ask questions, share videos or music from bands we like, including local and less-known bands, share music related articles and videos and much more. We engage our friends. We don't post a million updates a day, we might do one or two, and every now and then we might post more, but that's really rare. We don't use Facebook event invitations, I find them extremely annoying (I know I don't use them, but I'm not 100% sure the other members don't use them either. I don't believe so), and outside Facebook, we rarely email our mailing list, to a point where I think it could be bad for us, but I think this is accidental. We also don't usually re-post the same content on our personal profiles, it happens sometimes (hey, 400 peopele not reading my band's posts is a lot of people) but it's not the norm, perhaps once every 10 posts. My point is that we're not spamming or doing anything that could annoy people and make them unlike our page, if anything, I think we're a very entertaining page to follow.

Then what's the problem? And why it doesn't make sense to me that certain people end up unliking my band's page, or never Liking it in the first place? I believe the reasons people have are the following:

1. I don't really like their music. Why would I Like their page if I'm not into them? I don't Like Nickelback's page either.
2. Their daily posts annoy me. If I Like a page is to get relevant information about them only, I don't care what they think about SOPA or about a new music app for the iPhone.
3. I'm already Facebook friends with one or more of its members, so I'm sure I'll get all the important information from them.
4. Their singer annoys the shit out of me. I don't unfriend him just to be polite, but I just unsubscribed from all his stupid updates and cat pictures. Why would I want to Like his band?

I understand all those reasons, they kinda make sense, but not really. Why? Well, you see, a bands' Facebook pages of your friends, colleagues, family members, fellow musicians, etc, is no different than your friend's company's Facebook Page. You may never be a client of your photographer friend, or of the one who has a manicure and massage business, but you support them, so you Like their pages. Liking their Pages will benefit them whether you give them any business or not, especially if you decide to take it a step further and provide even more support by Liking or commenting on their status updates/pictures. If you find their posts annoying, which I can understand especially when all they post are promotions and deals and nothing "human", then you simply "hide" their post so you can continue "liking" their page, thus supporting them, without getting annoyed. Even if they make the mistake of re-posting everything on their personal profiles, it is good for them as a business if you Like their page. Since you may Like a page and choose to not see any posts from it and even block any invitations from anyone involved with that page, it really doesn't make sense to withdraw your support, because this could only mean that your reason is number 4 from the previous list. It's really the only explanation that make sense, really, although I KNOW this is not always the case. Many times people simply don't know they can hide all the posts from a person or a page, or how to block event invites, or maybe they never thought Liking a Facebook page when they don't like the products offered on that page could provide any real support.

I don't let it bother me, really. I have continued being friendly to people who have unfriended me, or who have unliked my band's Page. Does it ever cross my mind that these people may not really like me? Yes, of course (and that's the risk we take when we break a cyber relationship), but I just do my best to think this is not the case, and I just forget about it. It's just Facebook, it shouldn't really mean anything. Naturally, I also try to watch more what I say around them, and how could I not? I'd really love to know their real reasons, and if it was something I said, then I'd love to talk about it, perhaps not to make them change their opinion on me, that's already fucked, but to understand what kind of image I project sometimes. Trust me, we all say things that may not sit very well with some people, things that don't mean any wrong to anyone, things that we found humorous and irrelevant, things said using the wrong words or expressions. Only the lurkers can save themselves from these types of miscommunications (online), but who wants to be a lurker? But I may never find out if it was me or not. My suggestion is to not over-think it, it's really easy to obsess a little bit about it, just assume the best, think they aren't aware of the relationship between Likes and support and never take it personal. You could create a very big problem out of thin air, basically, because more often than not, an unfriend or unlike doesn't mean anything at all. I'd also go ahead an unlike their pages too, maybe it may finally click in their heads the significance of their unlike, but if that's not the case, then it's just fair, no? :)

Here, have a cat picture:

No comments: