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February 11, 2011

Fractals Goes Social

If you wanna be read, you gotta be social. I've been meaning to properly support Facebook and Twitter on Fractals of Change for a while, but didn't get around to it until reader @tydanco chided me "why not stick a twitter button at the bottom of your blog so we can retweet it".

So I did. It's down at the bottom of each entry and you can not only tweet but also "like"a post on Facebook. If you click the tweet button, you get to modify a preformatted message which has the title of the post and a tiny URL for it. The tweet becomes part of the timeline of anyone following you on Twitter. If you like a post on Facebook, that get written to your wall so your Facebook friends can see what you like; Facebook may also post the event as news in your friends' news feeds but they are cagey about when they do and don't do this.

Twitter and Facebook also make it possible for people to find out when you post to your blog. It is this capability (plus email subscriptions) which kept my readership alive during the eighteen months I was working as Vermont Chief Recovery Officer and then CTO and only had time to post biweekly. People who used their browser to visit Fractals daily in the days when I did post almost every day quickly got discouraged and stopped coming when they rarely found anything new. But people who subscribe to Fractals via FeedBlitz email or follow me on Twitter or check my status on Facebook know when there is a new post and can read it if it sounds interesting. So, since I was already fooling around with layout, I decided to make it easier for people to use Facebook and Twitter to find out when there's a new post by putting the new stuff circled in yellow at the top of the left sidebar.

Clicking on the Twitter button goes to my @tevslin messages and makes is easy for someone to decide to follow me and get a notification in their own timeline whenever I post. The Facebook capability gives Fractals its own page on that service. People who "like" the blog by clicking on the thumbs up will get notified on Facebook when there are new posts (this post'll be the test. Hope it works). Previously only my Facebook friends saw new posts.

While working on all this, I accidentally discovered how important being social is. Readership has been down for the last month and I had no idea why. Turns out that about a month ago something broke on Twitter so that posts were not automatically becoming tweets and, since it was tweets that posted to Facebook, there was no notification on Facebook either. Looked like I'd gone radio silent. I think I'm now reconnected (again this post is the test).



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