For some time now, we here at Orson’s have considered deleting our accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, leaving social media altogether. The reasoning has been simple: it can be a dangerous place on which to focus our energy.
That reasoning holds true today. Where we want to focus our energy is on our catalog of books, on forthcoming issues of Orson’s Review, and on the Orson’s Publishing bookstore—the core of Orson’s Publishing.
Supporters of social media could read that and suggest that, without social media, we’ll struggle to reach our audience. Which, considering the scope of social media today, is a common belief. As mentioned in this article by Sarthak Sharma, however, the fact that social media algorithms are no longer written to favor small businesses like ours means that 1) the advertising budget we allow ourselves cannot compete for space with the large fish out there (think Amazon, think Microsoft, think Penguin or Harpers), and 2) the organic posts we make (without using advertising dollars) reaches very few of our audience members; let’s imagine a business with 100 likes on Facebook, and then imagine that business making an organic post about a new product now available in their store—if they’re lucky, five or six of their audience of 100 will see that post, and if they’re even luckier, one of those five or six will actually purchase the product.
Supporters of social media could also suggest that, instead of deleting our accounts, we simply scale back: instead of posting multiple times per week, post just once; don’t try to run anymore ads, focus only on organic posts. Etc.
The truth is that, since our founding in 2016, on multiple occasions, we’ve scaled our social media efforts back. But it hasn’t worked. While doing so, remaining at the back of our minds is the idea that we aren’t doing enough, that our newsfeeds—the digital products we offer to prospective readers—aren’t as impactful as they could be. Additionally, time spent refining our social media output means that a small but mighty team like ours is left without the resources to make the crucial in-person connections needed for small businesses to survive.
So, energy is wasted. The products we care most about are neglected so that attention can be given to a product that brings us few results and very little joy.
Social media’s juice just isn’t worth the squeeze for us. It’s a noisy, noisy place and we’re not really into that. It’s time to move on, and for us to focus on products that do bring us results and joy. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
But, if staying connected to us digitally is something you’re interested in, please consider joining the Orson’s Reading Group. As a member of the Orson’s Reading Group, you’ll receive announcements on new happenings at Orson’s Publishing, as well as receive exclusive deals on Orson’s Publishing products.
We hope to see you there.