Why Followers Aren’t Important

For quite some time I was an admin of a page I no longer managed.  It was basically a service to a business I had worked with for years since the people they had taking over were still learning how to manage their page and their admin roles.  As such, I had a unique opportunity to look inside the workings of someone else’s social media strategy to see what works, and, in this case, doesn’t work.

To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention at first, occasionally popping in to look at their posts.  Most were not interesting at all- links without pictures and poor headlines.  They received few if any likes.

But, like anyone who has admin access to a page and has it set up, I regularly received updates on their statistics emailed to me from Facebook, specifically their “like” or follower numbers.  And here is where I saw something that sparked my interest.

FANS

Each and every week they had new fans.  Not just a few, but a LOT.  Considering they were a major player in their particular knowledge base this might not have been strange except for a few little facts.  First, as mentioned above, each post had few if any likes and almost no shares.  They were not creating a lot of traffic from their content.  But hey, maybe they were getting traffic elsewhere.  Completely possible.

No, that’s not what really raised the red flags.  It was the number of new fans.  Each and every week for more than 6 months they had an increase of 100 fans, sometimes it was a few more, but NEVER less and almost always it was EXACTLY 100 fans.

You might be thinking, that’s AWESOME, how do I do that!?  Let me stop you there.  It’s not awesome.  There’s only one way you do that.  You buy it.  You buy fans.

Why NOT?

Great, you think, now you’ve got a huge fan base!  But what value is a like if those fans really don’t care about what you’re doing?  I’ll tell you, not only do they have no value, they actually are COSTING you.  It’s true.

You see, because these paid for fans don’t actually care about your content, they don’t interact with your content.  They don’t click on and read your posts, they don’t like your posts, they don’t share your posts.  And as you have more and more fans who don’t interact with your post the more your reach goes down.

Reach is a metric Facebook uses to see if you’re producing good content that people like.  And well, now that you have a bunch of fans who don’t care what you do, your content is seen as bad content.  You’ve just paid to make sure your content is seen as bad content.

So what does that mean?  It means that all those fans you had who actually liked your content are even less likely to see your stuff.  Why?  Because Facebook is pretty sure your content is garbage.  As a percentage, very few people like or interact with the stuff you’re posting, so why should Facebook show it to anyone?  You’re posting junk.  Of course the fans who actually like you might not think so, but those paid fans do.

You’ve literally ruined your Facebook page by paying for fans.

Another Version

As a note, there’s another version of paying for fans.  You can pay for fans AND get them to comment too!  Great right?  Not so much.  I’ve seen a small nonprofit do this with horrible results.  How could I tell?  A post about a slaughter of a pack of wolves had people posting comments like “this is great!”  You see you’re not paying for people to post good comments or read your articles and, with that, you’ll get nothing but comments like “this is great” or “cool” to absolutely anything you post.  It degrades your community and eventually your real fans will wonder what is going on with your page and why you have fans who don’t seem to care at all about what you’re doing.

The Proof

So check out the graphic below…  The top page is a look at the page in question.  Check out the total reach compared to their total page likes?  See what a small portion of people are looking at their content vs the total number of people who like their page?  Now check out the pages that I manage.  Every single one has reach far beyond the number of people who like the page.  My fans are seeing my content.

If all you care about is how many people like you then why are you on Facebook?  It’s not to sell your product (people aren’t seeing your posts or your product) and it’s not to get your message out to people.

Your goal NEEDS to be getting people to see and CARE about your content.

This isn’t a popularity contest folks.  Trying to be popular is a failure proposition… just check it out below!

 

(Note: Click on the picture to enlarge)

 

Compare Weekly Total Reach to Total Page Likes..Social Media (2)


Metabolism- My experience Part 1

I’ve been meaning to write this up for some time but just haven’t gotten around to it.  Frankly it’s more than a single blog post, it could be a book but time doesn’t allow for that so I’ll start with this.

As many of you may know I’ve spent the last year plus working with a metabolism doctor.  Dr Emily Cooper is both a genius and an incredible scientist.  I’d call her a miracle worker but that would insinuate that what we’re doing isn’t science and frankly, unlike all the other doctors and diets I’ve been on, this is the first science I’ve actually been a part of when it comes to my weight and metabolism.

You see, when you go into Dr Coopers office you spend time doing blood work and can actually SEE what is happening in your body, how you’re body is responding to what you’re doing, why things are working (or aren’t as we’ll get to here) and how to fix it (which is her role).  Everyone else just sells you a bunch of pop science nonsense.  Yes, “calories in, calories out” is nonsense.  The scientific community has known that for a very long time but the diet industry makes a lot of money from it (it’s a multibillion dollar industry) and keeps pushing the myth.  After all if that weren’t true and every person’s body were actually different you wouldn’t be able to sell that one size fits all workout or nutritional plan.  In a bit I’ll post a blog that has links to medical articles (eventually) though if you really want to educate yourself just read Emily’s book which you can find here.

So a bit of background without going into it too much.  I went to Emily because I’d gotten to the point where I couldn’t lose weight no matter what I did.  Throughout my past I’d gotten to this point.  Indeed just yesterday I drove past a place where I’d had my metabolism tested years ago.  At the time I was working out 2-3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.  I was being very careful and counting my calories.  Sure, I RARELY ate more than my allotted calories but I wasn’t binging.  What did my test show and what was suggested by the guys at the CrossFit gym (this was at the start of that trend)?  I just needed to work out an hour or two more a day.  An hour or two more a day.  An hour or two more…  You know, like quit my friggin job so I can work out 5 hours a day?!?  I’m sorry, but that’s not normal.  No one should have to do that to lose a few pounds.  And yes, I was overweight… I wasn’t one of those people trying to lose 5 pounds so I could fit into a size 000… I was trying to fit into something smaller than a size 14.

Anyway, years later I had started riding my bike all the time.  Planning for a trip to Europe I couldn’t afford, I determined that it would help me get in shape, lose weight and save money (my gas guzzler was costing me $200-300 a month in gas) to ride my bike everywhere I could.  That meant commuting from February (yes, even in the pouring rain) through October.  That meant carrying all my groceries up a gigantic hill every evening.  That meant climbing Phinney every evening.  And it even meant riding all over the city to get to appointments.  Indeed the only time I’d drive is if I had to carry stuff I couldn’t carry on my bike and I do mean COULDN’T… like 2x4s or cheesemaking supplies for a class I was teaching.  Heck, I even tried to figure out how I could do that since I had hauled the 3 gallons of milk up that huge hill on my bicycle but the pots along with everything else was just too much stuff to fit on the bike.

Anyway, I was also watching what I ate.  I made casseroles and broke them into 400 calorie servings.  I’d eat four of these a day to make 1600 calories and then give myself another 200 ish calories.  When I didn’t lose any weight I began going to the gym after riding my bike home.  And yet still nothing.

It was pretty crazy at that point.  Yet again I was at the “I really can’t do any more” stage.  I couldn’t eat less and still cycle everywhere.  If I tried to do so I literally wouldn’t have the physical energy to get anywhere.  I needed some fuel to get my body to function.  I couldn’t exercise more as there simply wasn’t time in the day.

So I went to Dr Cooper after hearing about her from a friend.  And after the first round of bloodwork we found why I wasn’t losing weight and why what I was doing (a lot of exercise) was actually worse for me.  I had insulin resistance.  Essentially the thing that comes before pre-diabetes.  Exercise was making everything worse because my body already thought I was starving (I could see this with my leptin levels) and the more working out I did the more my body really wanted to hold onto weight… after all I was obviously about to die.  Except that I wasn’t…. I was still quite overweight.

Anyway, flash forward a bit.  I’ve lost quite a bit of weight working with Dr Cooper.  I’ve lost it eating WHATEVER I want.  I mean that.  Cake, cookies, you name it.  I just want less of that than I did (I’ll get to that).  I literally never count calories or think about what I’m going to eat.

More recently however I changed my meds (most insurance programs won’t cover drugs for insulin resistance or pre-diabetes… you have to let it progress to full blown type 2 diabetes before they’ll approve medication.  Gotta love our medical system eh?).  The new meds were… different.

Before I get to the science of what was happening let me tell you what I experienced.  With my old medications several things happened.  First, I stopped wanting to eat a lot of food.  Indeed I went from consuming a ton of food at any sitting to eating very little.  It wasn’t some sort of self-control and I wasn’t stuffed or full really.  I was simply done eating.  It was truly bizarre.

Never before (well, not in a long time) did I have the desire to stop eating before I was really full.  I could mentally tell myself to stop but having my body and my motivation to eat just shut off?  That was completely foreign.  I just didn’t want anymore.  Anyone who knows me knows that now I eat precious little food.  My body knows that I’m overweight (see Leptin) and doesn’t want as much food as it did.  Before it thought I was starving and wanted me to FEED IT.  Now it’s fine with a lot less and really won’t let me eat too much.

Second, and this is a big one, I didn’t crave sweet stuff.  Let me say that again, I didn’t crave sweet stuff.  For anyone who knows me this is a huge thing.  First, there was never anything that was too sweet before and now, a lot of stuff sounds sickeningly sweet.  Second, while some sweet things sound good, the motivation to eat them or go get them is rarely there.  I’d often choose a mint over ice cream as an after dinner desert now.  That would have never happened before.

To be clear, before I would have almost killed you for something sweet.  No really.  I would get almost shaky wanting sugar.  There’s a very good reason for it.  We’ll get there.

So anyway, my meds changed and a few things happened.  My partner and I go out to eat on occasion (more often than not right now as I’m prepping my house to sell) and I noticed that food I wasn’t able to eat in its entirety I could now.  How the heck am I eating a whole burrito?  What’s more, since I was used to my body telling me to stop when it was done I kinda assumed that I must simply need more food… I must just be more hungry.

And the sugar cravings were back.  Now I was thinking about desert after dinner, concerned about what it would be and making sure there was something in the house whereas before the “something in the house” often went bad before I got around to eating it.  My favorite gelato actually got freezer burn because it just never sounded appealing to me before.

What was going on?!

Of course it was time for my appointment and that meant a blood draw.  Multiple blood draws actually.  Your doctor has not done this for you most likely.  You’ve not been tested for insulin resistance.  To do so you have to have a fasting blood test and then you have to eat and be tested again several more times on a half hour interval.  Usually the test takes about 3 hours with 5+ draws.  It’s worth it (and that’s coming from someone who has veins that are hard to find).

When I went in my symptoms were right there in the blood science.  First, my insulin resistance was back.  That meant that in about an hour after I ate my blood sugar was dipping very low (this is why the typical fasting blood test won’t work… it doesn’t show this hour after sugar dip).  Why was I craving sugar?  Because my body ACTUALLY NEEDED it.  I was crashing after eating… but well after eating at exactly the time I started getting hungry for something sweet.

But why was I eating more too?   Again, the blood told me.  My MSH, which had been better with the older drugs was now gone.  It didn’t show up on the blood test at all.  My appetite was through the roof because the hormone that regulates it didn’t exist in my body.

So now I’m back on the old drugs and working to a different drug that hopefully my insurance will cover.  Eventually I’ll likely be able to get off the prescriptions but it will take a while.  The other option is to not treat the problem and go into full blown diabetes and obesity as so many other Americans do.  All because we refuse to recognize that our hormones affect our cravings for sugar and salt and control our appetites.  We actually think it’s a willpower thing.  Is it that people who don’t have a weight problem feel the need to feel better than others?

Or more likely, having never had an issue with the body’s responses to food they simply can’t understand why someone would overeat or crave sugar.

When my body is functional now it’s so incredibly night and day from what it was.  I honestly rarely think about sugar.  No really.  In fact last week I purchased some M&M’s and I have NO IDEA where I put them.  Some of you know how truly bizarre that is.  Really, where the heck did they go?  The funny thing is that I forgot I bought them.  Forgot.

If you’re craving sweets all the time, if nothing is “too sweet”, if you can eat until you’re stuffed and don’t want to stop until that time it’s not you.  Well, it is but it’s not some character flaw.  It’s not something lacking in your motivation.  It’s very likely something screwed up in your body.

But, you say, “I don’t work out like you did… I just can’t motivate myself.  I don’t want to”.  What do you think motivates you?  Yup, hormones.  Indeed you can make mice lazy by screwing with their hormones too.

People want you to believe that you’re a bad person.  They want you to believe this because it makes them rich and hugely because they don’t understand the more complex science behind metabolism.  There’s a lot of reason for that.  It’s not easy is the big one.  But it’s not you anymore than my cravings for sugar or eating too much was me.  It was a system that was malfunctioning.

We assume our bodies are machines when it comes to weight loss (calories in, calories out) and discount their more complex systems (hormones) when it’s convenient to blame people but we’re more than willing to discount the machine answers (malfunctioning metabolic systems) when the science shows that it’s not a character flaw.  Why do we discount solid scientific evidence simply so we can blame people and push pop science that hasn’t worked and indeed has made us more and more sick for years?  Are we really so mentally ill that we can only feel good about ourselves by holding on to pop science to put others down?  More and more it seems the answer is a resounding yes.

And yes, I know that this is simply my personal experience and to believe that alone would be committing an anecdotal fallacy however with a ton of science behind it and a whole lot of other people having the same experiences we have to question why our current paradigm isn’t working and why I can see the science on my blood tests.  Further we have to really question why no other doctor ever bothered to check some of these basic tests to see if there was something bigger going on and why no one is checking the majority of people out there before telling them to simply eat less and exercise more, especially when that isn’t working and the problem is getting worse, not better.

Dr Cooper has started a foundation to do more research into the work she is doing.  Sadly very few doctors are doing good science around this (though it’s changing… slowly).  You can learn more here:  http://www.diabesityresearchfoundation.org/

There is a section for practitioners.  Send your doctor there assuming they’re up for learning new things.  Not everyone is.  Many already know it all.  If nothing else that’s another thing I love about Emily… she’s always gathering more information and doing more research.  Isn’t that what we should expect from our doctors!?

Finally, I wrote this up very late at night and haven’t had a chance to reread it.  I may change it a bit to make it flow a bit better so if you come back and it’s a bit different forgive me.  If I wait to make it perfect I’ll never get this posted!


Choices

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Here in the US we live in a society of choices.  No matter what you want to do your options are many and we’re told that this is a benefit.  After all, who doesn’t love the ability to choose?

As I go through my too many things I realize that this is how I’ve been living my life as well.  I want to be able to choose what crafty thing I want to do.  I want to get the best, most perfect equipment to do whatever thing I want to do.  And all of that adds up to a lot of stuff.

But the reality is that choices have a big drawback… time.  It takes time to make a choice.  It takes time to research options to find the best possible widget for the job.  And it of course takes time to make the money to buy that best possible widget.

And this was my experience with quilting.  Of course I need a rolling cutter… isn’t that how quilters cut stuff?  And the pad for cutting.  And the other wheels for cutting.  And the (insert endless lists of things here)…

But the reality is that as I invest in more choices I have to learn how to use these things.  And I have to burn time figuring out which thing is the best thing.  And while society does indeed teach us to have the right tool for the job, people have been using the “wrong” tool for many years.

My choices have actually made me less likely to complete a new undertaking because each step requires more work.  Turns out scissors cut fabric just fine for a beginning quilter.  I don’t need more stuff to do it, certainly not when I’ve yet to decide if I actually like doing this type of project.

The same choice options become problematic with other things as well.  Why do I need 20+ pairs of pants?  Is it because I want to spend a lot of time each morning deciding what to wear?  As anyone who knows me will tell you, no, rather obviously I don’t want to spend time doing that.  So then here I am with clothes I never wear that take up space, make it harder to organize the stuff I have and costing me money for things I don’t actually use.

While I’m not suggesting that I live in one pair of pants (though that’s usually what I do anyway most of the time) questioning my “need” for options and choices certainly has me thinking about how I spend my time and money.  If I’m not using it why do I have it?  And more importantly, can I stop myself from buying more of these things so I have choices I don’t want to make anyway?

Options are great when the return on your time invested to make them pays off but making due with a less than optimal item is both a time and money saver.  The real trick is that by making due you eventually figure out if having another option is worth it and and at that point sifting through the options is easier because you know what you need and want.  From this point forward I will make due with the things I have until such a point that I know WHY and WHAT I’d actually like to make a task easier and I’ll wait and examine if that new choice, that new thing, is actually worth the effort.

Picture by Jim Davies


All or Nothing

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“If you’re not happy, changing your circumstance also means changing your attitude.  In “Ruling Your World”, Sakyong Mipham notes, “The most practical way to ensure forward movement on the path of rulership is to train for a short time each day in changing our attitude- just 10 percent.”  We have to be open to the possibility of positive change and then actively work toward it.  I overcame my fears by taking one small actionable step every day.  Eventually, these small steps give us the momentum we need to make the big shifts we want- in our career or our circumstances.  If it seems to happen slowly, that’s okay.  Living simply has taught me how important it is to let go of rigid expectations and to be open to new opportunities- and how a small shift in attitude can literally change your life.”

From You Can Buy Happiness (And it’s Cheap)

 

For a lot of my life I was a perfectionist.  Everything I did had to be done well and completely.  Which of course meant nothing ever really got started and very little ever got completed.  Because really, nothing will ever be perfect so why bother?

But more importantly the idea that any task had to be finished in some specific period of time gave me enough stress that the entire idea was painful to even think about.  Why work on decluttering the basement if I believe it has to be done in one weekend?  Is that what I want to do with an entire weekend?  NO!

Once I let go of those expectations I could instead work a little at the time.  Often that meant that I was more realistic about what I could accomplish in any given time (no, the entire basement won’t take just a weekend).  Often it meant that I didn’t burn myself out trying to accomplish the impossible.

But the real benefit is that this new way of dealing with tasks is a lot more enjoyable and motivational.

Just this Monday I wanted to weed my yard but I was exhausted from a busy week and weekend and felt like I needed to just nap.  Rather than doing nothing which would have felt a bit ugly (now it’s on tomorrow’s list of things to do) I gave myself an easy target.  One bucket of weeds.  One bucket and then I’m done no matter what (unless I really wanna do more).  That’s easy.  And it was easy to motivate myself to do it.

In the end if my expectations of specific results cause me to never have any results isn’t it time to give up the expectations?

Photo from Amayzun on Flickr


Time

http://www.flickr.com/photos/domesticnoise/8384606246/sizes/m/in/photostream/

As many of you know I tend to have a lot of jobs.  I do quite a bit of contract work and often have as many as 6 different jobs at any given time.  This may seem like it takes every waking minute but as it turns out I have more time to do the things I want to do than many people I know.  There are lots of reasons for this and mostly it’s a function of me being smarter about my time and how I manage my time than I was in the past.

Sometimes this comes down to rules I have for myself.  There aren’t many of these but today’s Ten Things post directly relates to one of them.  I keep everything I need to do in my outlook calendar… no more to do lists (which is a topic for another time).  And with that there is a rule.

If I delay/move a task 3 times I take it off my calendar.

Let’s face it, if I can move it 3 times it’s pretty likely it doesn’t need to be done as I’ve lived thus far without doing it.  It also likely isn’t a priority for my life and time, and isn’t likely to happen no matter how many times I move it.  So why keep fooling myself.  “Do or do not, there is no try.”

In this case I’ve been carrying around cassette tapes forever.  My plan was to go through them, find the ones that I haven’t purchased as digital music and then either list that somewhere or buy them.  But really, why would I want to spend my time doing that?

I’ve lived pretty well without this music for about 10 years now (the amount of time I estimate I’ve not had a cassette player).  And sure, some mixed tapes from the past will be gone forever.  But also gone is a task that has been on the list for so long it’s ludicrous.

Just like those things we keep for that mystical time in the future when we’ll use them, sometimes we keep tasks around for that mystical time in the future when they’ll actually get done.

Photo from domesticnoise


Keep Going

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Well, I haven’t posted for a while but don’t think that means I haven’t been doing the Ten Things Challenge.  Nope, despite a surgery and a nasty cold I still managed to get my ten things for these last few weeks.  Actually in the last few weeks I’ve done far more than ten things.

That said, when I’m not feeling well I allow myself to go for the low hanging fruit… it needs to be done so hey, it counts.  One such thing was the storage container drawer.  I’m guessing like me most people have an odd assortment of lids or containers missing their other half.  Or, like me, many probably keep every plastic container they have ever got from the store.  Yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream.  All of those were living just fine in a drawer too full to close.

Fortunately thanks to a new found desire to have home made food I mostly cleaned out that drawer by using the contents for the freezer.  That made it easy to get rid of the rest.  Cool container but haven’t used it ever?  Gone.  A extra lid for a yogurt container that I’ll get more of anyway?  Gone.  What’s left are containers with all their parts and more importantly, ones I will actually use.  Best yet, I can find what I’m looking for!

The second part of my massive purge actually came from my surgery.  With all the clothes I had upstairs I figured I might have something I could wear in that pile that wouldn’t irritate my surgery wounds.  I didn’t find anything but things quickly went into the goodwill pile.

Fortunately that pile headed off to the Goodwill this week.  Still so much more to go but nice to free up that space for more work.

 

What did you do this week?  Are there any easy to declutter drawers or closets?


What the Hell?

I don’t have that much to report.  Well, nothing other than utter confusion at my past self.  

What the hell were you thinking?

Why am I thinking this?  Because I have clothes from HIGH SCHOOL (yes, I’m yelling here).  I’ve been hauling this crap around for 22+ years.  Because, you know, the clothes I wore in high school are both going to fit again AND because they’re super fashionable now and, you know, forever.

Seriously, as I go through much of the things I’ve not seen for years I have to wonder what attachment made me keep things so obviously useless?  Let’s hope I don’t look back in 20 years while going through my stuff and think the same thing.

What have you found in your stuff that just makes no sense to have kept?

 

(I’m half tempted to post pictures of this stuff… or perhaps pictures from when I wore it… I may need to do a run to the goodwill before I commit this act of insanity!)