In her Aging With Geekitude series, self-professed “recovering technophobe” Erica Manfred writes about her adventures with technology and shares what she’s learned as she navigates the not-so-scary waters.
I’d been promising myself for years that I would start a blog, but was put off by the hassle. I would have had to set one up on my own website and then learn the software — and then actually keep blogging regularly, preferably a few times a week, to get followers. I know only too well my own tendency to get enthusiastic about a project and then let it slide. And I am not alone. For all the successful bloggers out there who have large followings, there are thousands who start blogs, keep them up for a while and then abandon them. I suspected I would be one of those bloggers, sending my words into the wilderness unread — which didn’t exactly motivate me to start blogging.
And then I found the perfect solution — Facebook. But more about that (and my new blog #FloridaLife) in a minute. First….
A blog is a way to express yourself creatively. It’s an online journal about your life, your thoughts, your travels, your interests, even your grandkids. There are blogs about every topic under the sun.
With a blog, your audience can be anyone from your family to your community to the world, which makes blogging a good way to build a community of people with whom you can have online conversations in your comments section. Some bloggers even get to know their followers offline.
Here’s a good article about why you should blog.
Still, figuring out how to build that community of followers is daunting, and without followers blogging becomes a thankless task.
Facebook to the Rescue!
I’ve been on Facebook for years, and never tire of posting statuses and getting comments. The instant feedback is addictive. I have 1200 friends on Facebook, many of whom follow my posts. Voila! An instant following.
Facebook now has a blogging platform, Notes, which looks a lot like the popular online social-blogging platform designed for writers and readers, Medium. On Notes, you can create a beautiful blog without having to learn a blogging platform, have a website or know much of anything.
The best part is that your friends see your new blog posts in their newsfeeds or on your timeline and can comment on or like them, just as they do on your status updates, providing instant feedback and encouragement.
What Does Notes Have that Regular Facebook Doesn’t?
Not only does your writing look great on Notes, without the clutter that surrounds Facebook posts, the platform also gives you the option to format what you write, adding bold, italics and paragraphs. You can include hyperlinks to other pages or websites, too. Best of all, unlike Facebook posts, you can save your writing as you go along, take a break and continue working on it later without losing what you’ve written. You then publish the blog post when you’re ready. You can also insert a picture at the top, which is a good way to get more attention.
I’ve been writing a series of blog posts with the hashtag #FloridaLife, which I hope to turn into a memoir eventually. I still write regular status updates on Facebook about day to day issues in my life, but I use Notes when I want to write something long. Many of my Notes turn into stories, and some have generated a lot of comments. The positive feedback keeps me going. (Here’s a link to my blog.)
Here’s an example of my Christmas blog. I’ve designated this post “public” so everyone can see it, but for now, most of my posts are just for friends so “friend” me if you want to follow them. If you decide to use Notes, you can choose how widely you want to share your writing, depending on how personal your blog is.
How to Start Blogging on Notes
- Go to your Facebook page
- Navigate over to the More tab on the top right. It’s under your profile photo, to the far right of Timeline, About, Friends and Photos.
- You’ll see a long menu with Notes at the end. You may have to scroll down, since it’s the last item under “groups.”
- When you click on “Notes” you’ll see a + and a pencil icon at the top right. Click on the + and your new blog page will appear.
- You’ll see “Title,” which gives you the option to name your blog posts. I’m blogging about my move to Florida so I’m titling them all #Floridalife, but you can be as creative as you like. Your name and the date you publish your post appear automatically.
- Above Title, there’s an option to add a photo. I usually use photos from my phone that I took to go with the blog post.
- Once you write your post, just hit Publish at the bottom.
- If you want to link someone to your blog, just enter your hashtag after your name in the Facebook search bar (it’s right above your cover picture) and copy the URL in the page that comes up.
Welcome to the club. You are now officially a blogger. If you tag me on your blog I will comment.