Should AHN be on Facebook?

August 7 2014

Do any readers have advice on whether this blog should be 'on Facebook', and how to do it? Would it be to AHN's benefit, or just Mr. Zuckerberg's?

Update - thanks for your many comments on this, which I'll put up tomorrow. I should quickly add that I meant to say 'also on Facebook' - the current site would stay as it is.

Update II - some reader views:

I don't mind if the blog is on Facebook as well as the current format, but it were only on Facebook then I would regrettably have to stop reading it as I'm not a member and don't plan to join. Which would be a great shame as it's very interesting and the only blog I read every day. Thanks for publishing it.

I say "YES" to a Facebook page. Your reach will be much broader, especially for the younger generations. The only issue with facebook is that people will use it to debate/comment on material you post, which was an problem for you when you first started your blog (and I'm sure reading them takes too much of your time). There is a way to restrict people from commenting on your posts altogether (see "privacy section"). For the purposes of debates etc you could create a Group aside from a page. To get an idea of what these are, type in "Le Connoisseur" on facebook. It is a very successful Group that often mentions the things you bring to light via your blog. There many debates take place.

I can't find the Connoisseur group (that's what puts me off Facebook, it's impenetrable for those not on it). I don't have any issue with comments, and always enjoy reading those I get. Thanks for sending them in - it makes a great difference knowing that the site is appreciated and generating interest. I don't have a seperate comments section, because I like to incorporate comments in the main post, rather than let them get forgotten on a different area. I try and publish almost all comments (just not the loony ones). By the way, I'm sorry that I don't always get time to reply individually at length.

Perhaps you have a reason for wanting to go on Facebook, and if you should decide to do it please do remain off it as well, as I and many others I know have not joined that site. Many sites have a link to Facebook. I enjoy your postings easily now.

Facebook?  Well, it’s a thought.  Damian Hirst and Jeff Koons are also there so read into that what you will...

Forget Facebook, but do please have automatic tweets of each new post on the blog.

Will see if I can set this up.

From a purely personal point of view (I don't really know about the technical advantages or disadvantages), I wouldn't want AHN to be on Facebook. Although I've been a Facebook member for years, I'm terrible at looking at it, and I can't always access it at work.

Update III - another reader adds:

Facebook has some things to recommend it. If you posted all your stories there, I would see them mingled with the other stuff I subscribe to, which would be convenient. A bit like a much extended Twitter. You might also reach new audiences as, when people commented on your posts, that would show up on their friends' pages too, so there would be a multiplier effect.

The downsides that I can think of are firstly the extra time commitment and secondly the fact that you would inevitably receive comments, which you would not be able to sift through first (though I think you might be able to remove them). I think this would alter the very affable editorial voice you have established on AHN, where you receive private emails and them decide what bits to use, if any. This leaves you in control, and the impression for the reader of the blog is that the central dialogue is with you. Currently, what you do is akin to a radio presenter: you say some things, people respond and you often use those responses to continue the conversation. The whole thing is on your terms. On the other hand, very often on Facebook (as in the comments that are appended to stories on newspaper websites) commenters end up having arguments with each other, often about matters unrelated to the original story. And Facebook publishes most prominently the story that has been most recently commented on, regardless of when that story was first published. The whole website is designed around giving feedback and comments to build a 'community'.

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