Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Regarding Facebook

I've just read PandoDaily's article 'Enough with the entitled whining - Facebook isn't running an advertising charity', forwarded to me and many others, on Facebook, by Tara Gentile.

It's an interesting read, especially in the 'comments' section. It's about Fb reducing the amount of fans who see posts from business pages, and then charging businesses to promote their posts so that a higher percentage of their fans will be reached.

I can understand the concept that Fb is a business and needs to generate revenue, and the obvious thing to do is to charge people who have business pages for what is essentially advertising. As a late starter to Fb, I was surprised that it had business pages and that they were FREE. I thought Fb was just about catching up with friends, but heck, if it's going to offer me a free business page then I'm going to take it! But now the other shoe drops. Many of the larger companies are ticked off because they gained fans through paid adverts in the first place and are now having to pay to ensure that MOST of those fans are kept updated. The smaller businesses are feeling disappointed and shoved out into the cold because they simply can't afford to pay to reach more than the 15% of fans that Fb is allowing them to reach at the moment.

I am one of those smaller businesses. As micro-businesses and self start-ups, I think my fellow tiny businesspeople and I felt we were a part of the community that Fb strived so hard to create. It seemed to want us to be there, we were a welcome part of it's philosophy and there was no notion of it turning out to be a false friend. It nurtured us. It grew and we grew with it.

And then it turned out to be a drug dealer, standing on the same corner every night, saying hello and offering you a pick-me-up because you're it's good friend, and then one day... you're hooked and it's charging you. There's a menacing smirk where once there was a warm smile. It wants it's money or else.

In this case the 'or else' is that you lose your ability to reach your page fans with your posts. And your colleagues, contacts, suppliers, mentors, moral support system, fellow artists, the list goes on. It's not pure sales that we small businesses are after. It's much more than that; it's community.

So, is there an upside to paying for your posts to be promoted? Maybe. As far as I can work out it's not just your own fans the posts will be promoted to, so there's the possibility of picking up some more attention. If your content is good the people who see your posts will share them with their friends - oh, wait, that was already happening. Um...

Okay, so what do we do? Not only has this set our heads spinning, our business page news feeds are totally screwed up as well. Posts sent weeks ago clog up today's feed, updates from mentors and suppliers reach us way too late to respond, we're missing information that we needed to know two weeks ago, for goodness sake! Heaven forbid someone try to tell us something important.

We could let our feet do the talking. Walk away. Leave the comforts of Fb, now that they're not really so comfortable after all. Google+ has a similar set-up, for free, and if there are any charges to be made they're outlined up front. Perhaps one day they'll have an afterthought too, and start charging for something they've always given away for free. Oh, and by 'free' I mean in exchange for us promoting them on our business cards, e-mail signatures, websites, word-of-mouth... anywhere you see the Fb link button or tell people your Fb address.

So I'm keeping Fb for the moment. I'd like to see what happens. But I've started up a G+ account as well, to cover my bets. I like the way it displays pictures. Come on over and say hi.

The article:

My new G+ page:

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Jane Austen Festival, Bath 2012

I am so lucky to live in the very place where this festival is held! Each year people flock from far and wide to attend; to live a Regency life for a week or so, and this year I was able to fully participate too. And I met many of those wonderful, like-minded people! Good stuff.

Photo credits to: Kelly & Neil Lewis, Helen Halley
To start with, I had a stall in the Guildhall ballroom on the opening Saturday of the festival. This year's market was excellent, I thought, the ballroom lined with all kinds of wares - hats, gloves, haberdashery, sewing patterns, original Austen-inspired novels, hairpieces... and mine, of course, with mannequins displaying garments for ladies and gents, knick knacks for sale and my friend Kelly Louise Lewis's jewellery and stationery. The whole place buzzed with excitement. New friends made, old friends re-acquainted, and the first official day in Regency kit.

I was pleased with how my stall was received, and with the feedback I got on my costumes and on the prototypes for the new fabric range I'm developing... yes, you heard right, I'm venturing into the wondrous realms of fabric design! This is my current Big Thing. I've chosen Regency colours for this first collection, pomona green, primrose yellow, puce and such, and the patterns are a lovely stripe, a floral motif and an all-over lace look. Other collections will come a little later, for other periods. I won't reveal everything I've got planned just yet, but you will be the first to know when the range goes live!
Looking in vain for our Poohsticks...
Photo credit to: Lorna McKenzie

Saturday evening saw a group of us dining on venison at the Garrick's Head, then Sunday was the mini promenade, a look around the Holbourne Museum (I'd never been there before, but I'll be going again! It was wonderful!) and a delightful stroll around Sydney Gardens with dear friends. Our attempts at playing 'Poohsticks' were a bit scuppered by the bridge being over a canal rather than a stream... no water flow, so our sticks never made it to the other side of the bridge :D

A group of us visited the Pump Rooms for afternoon tea on the Tuesday, which was a most satisfying experience. Again, this was a place I'd never been before - or not for refreshments, anyway - and I am pleased to say that I would happily go again. While the set teas sound intimidatingly expensive, in reality the price for a pot of tea and a cheese scone were about the same as anywhere else here. And the tea was gorgeous! I had the rose pouchong.

Photo credits to: Virginia Creeper, Lorna McKenzie,
Claire Violet Hanley, & some nice members of the public
 who had my camera thrust upon them!
After a few hilarious rounds of the lovely Regency game 'Graces' in Queen's Square, dinner that evening was the early bird special at Sally Lunn's. A pleasantly tasty meal with great company. I think everyone else in the restaurant that night now has photos with us in our costumes!

Thursday saw James and I attending the 'Noisy Game of Lottery Tickets' Regency games evening at the Jane Austen Centre. Plenty of wine and sweet nibbles (and some song!), lots of laughter (especially from the Aussies and the Wigans), good natured gambling, and our friend Mr. Elliot managed not to lose any items of clothing! Ah well, there's always next year...

Having missed out on tickets for the ball at the Pump Rooms, on Friday James and I had a wonderful meal at La Barrique, near the Theatre Royal, then met up with our revelling friends for an after ball party. Excellent fun!

Tired little bunnies, the weekend was mostly spent sleeping :)

Miss Stephens reigns victorious at Graces; Mr. Westall prepares to cut cake with Mr. Elliot's sword; Mr. Elliot and the Misses Watson marvel over an extraordinary device.
Photo credits to: Virginia Creeper, Lorna McKenzie
It was a really good festival, in my opinion. Everyone I spoke to was enjoying themselves, and that's the whole point, isn't it?

Did any of you attend this festival or another one recently? I'd love to hear all about it!

Take care,

P.S. If you click on the pictures they open into a bigger window xxV

Note: As this was a very social event with people from all over the world, I did not make all the costumes pictured! My ones are: James's Georgian gentleman officers outfit (except for the breeches), Kelly's white Regency dress, my shepherdess outfit, my red and yellow Georgian outfit and all the costumes on the stall.