Facebook has gone from a cool hangout with close friends to a family reunion combined with an office Christmas party
Sampon’s view is becoming more prevalent, with statistics to confirm it. DJ Saul calculates that young people aged 13-17 on Facebook have declined -25.3% over the last 3 years, at the same time that the 55 and above age group has grown +80.4% in the last 3 years. It is possible, or even probable if the statistics continue this trend, that within the next ten years Facebook will not be a good venue for YA authors to reach out to their readership. For now however, there are still millions of teen users which makes it a current and relevant form of social media for authors and librarians to connect with that demographic.
Benefits of Facebook:
- Easy to Use
- Huge audience
Disadvantages of Facebook:
- Less creativity available with designing the page
- Declining popularity amongst teens
The example of the four authors listed below are a demonstration of some tips and pointers for a well-run Facebook page, as well as some cautionary advice of what to avoid.
AMAZING YA AUTHORS ROCKING THE FACEBOOK MEDIUM
AMAZING YA AUTHORS WHO COULD IMPROVE THEIR USE OF FACEBOOK
This author, famous for such books as Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, chooses a simple “selfie” as his Facebook profile picture, which makes his page seem more like a teenage friend’s Facebook page than an advertisement for some unreachable celebrity. His posts average anywhere between 1-8 a day, and the posts are never repetitive and annoying.
He also generously uses his fame to share exciting news on other influential young adult authors:
As you can see from the comment under his congratulations to Holly Black, young adult fans love seeing authors as relatable. The self-titled nerdfighters (John Green’s fans) love to see this author exhibit nerdy excitement over the same kinds of things they do as teen readers. John Green’s posts never seem forced, and although he has mentioned before that Facebook is his least favourite medium due to the dwindling amount of young adults, he still uses it to connect the demographic of his readers that are more likely to be on Facebook than Twitter or Tumblr. You go John Green, keep rockin’ that Facebook.
A relatively new author, Rainbow Rowell has already written YA favourites including Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. She is my favourite example of a YA writer using Facebook well, and is connecting with her fans on a very personal level. Her profile picture is also a casual selfie, much like John Green’s, and in the comments she replied to a reader’s question about where she got her glasses. Rowell is a member of many fandoms which shows through her Facebook where she posts about Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Sherlock amongst information about her own writing. Having someone you look up to or admire as a writer freaking out about the same series as you would be SO exciting to young adults. Seeing their favourite author fangirling over other books or shows could also make writing not seem so daunting and distant. Rowell’s posts are not all literary; she also uses her fame to cause awareness, such as when she was raising money for the typhoon victims in the Philippines by having an auction for an early edition of her next book. My favourite part of her Facebook that combines her love of both literature and art, is her constant uploading of fan art.
It is amazing to see the different drawings and paintings of her characters, and to see Rowell praise so many of them. Those artists, many of whom are teens themselves, must feel an even deeper connection to the novels when they receive such acknowledgement and validation from the author.
Rowling is probably the most famous author alive today, thanks to the enduring love so many have for Harry Potter. With millions of fans on Facebook alone and many time constraints, it should be no surprise that her social media presence is minimal. Her Facebook page is run by her staff, with the occasional post from Rowling herself. It is a little jarring to have one post in the third person, and the next in the first person however, which makes it not the best representation of a social media presence.
What an incredibly unexciting post. I love Rowling and Goodreads, and even I find it dry. This is a good example of how over-professional/ corporate writing does not always work best in social media.
The one personal touch Rowling adds to her page is her invested interest in using her platform to cause awareness and fundraising for various causes, such as her own personal charity Lumos (click for video), which seeks to help institutionalized children. J.K Rowling’s Facebook could benefit from a more personal touch, and I believe her teen fans would appreciate it, but it is understandable that she puts her time into other outlets.
Garth Nix, notable author of the Sabriel trilogy, has a mixed presence on Facebook. He has some very interesting content/ giveaways on his page, but the layout is unflattering. The picture shown above is not taken from his Facebook, since his profile picture is tiny, blurry, and private so fans are unable to see it. Nix’s posts are not frequent, the last one being over a month ago on December 14th, 2013. The posts that are there are occasionally repetitive in nature. The one thing that really sets his page apart is the unique giveaways to some of his teen readership as a reward for writing reviews. He designed a bracelet with charms that resemble the magical bells of his most popular YA series:
Nix has a lot of good content on his Facebook, but he needs to focus on frequency, originality of posts, and the attractiveness of the page.