Sunday, 31 January 2016

Migration to Facebook?

I only "do" Facebook in a limited way, occasionally posting check-ins from decent restaurants, or good theatre visits or whatever (the awful restaurants and naff theatre visits I keep to myself!!).
But, although I have a number of wargaming friends on Facebook, I don't do "wargaming stuff" on Facebook (I have my own reasons).

And yet, it seems to me that to a large extent, the online wargaming community has migrated to facebook significantly of late, and that blogs, forums and so on are receiving less attention than previously.
I notice that the number of hits on this blog, for example, has gone up markedly, but the number of comments has reduced (I'm not complaining one iota, and I'm always delighted that anyone comments at all!).
And I notice this trend everywhere.
The thing is, it's easier to press the FB "like" button than it is to express any approval through a comment on a blog.
It's easier to just post a picture on FB than it is to post a blog update, where the unspoken convention is that some amount of text seems more appropriate than just a picture.

Is this the way things will continue to move?
Probably, as manufacturers and retailers of all things wargaming make FB updates to promote upcoming ranges, W-I-P/ workbench photos, and teasers and trailers; and convention organisers update lists of traders, games and other information on upcoming shows.

It's an interesting development.
What is noticeable is that fewer engaged readers means that the incentive for bloggers to post blog updates is reduced, and so on... It's only natural. And it's a vicious (circle)/ catch 22.

And here's a further consequence...
as the level of FB engagement rises, and perhaps the level of Blog and Forum engagement/ activity decreases, will there be a longing for more text content elsewhere... for example, a return to the popularity of monthly magazines for articles and actual reading material (as opposed to looking material).
Just a thought.

I considered this trend long and hard after my previous post which had the lowest number of comments (and lost 4 followers) in the first 48 hours! Perhaps the Gatling gun had shot them! Perhaps these are the most unpopular figures in my collection? Who knows...

Will the blogosphere continue a downward trend until it starts to resemble a bit of a ghost town?

... and that's an excuse for me to post a couple of pictures of the latest developments in my Colonial project. Scratch-built basic adobe buildings. The first of a few...


Time will tell. Whatever happens, I will continue to post here (and not FB) ... whether anyone's looking or not! Well, for a while, anyway.

Meantime, preparations for York are ongoing...
A sample of dialogue from the lounge the other evening:
Me, idly doodling on my York Purchase List, "I'm looking forward to York. I've got a few figures to buy."
Her, with no hint of irony, and only a mild passing interest, "Oh. I thought you would finish painting the ones you've got before buying anymore."

Laughed? I nearly... (add your own phrase of choice here).
She's clearly got a lot to learn.

But then so have I, as my attempt at explanation led to the next 2 hours conversation about her wardrobe and shoes collection! The fact that this backfired somewhat just goes to show exactly how much I still have to learn!!

For those who are going, see you at York!!


  1. I fear that your prediction about FB v. blogs is correct. I am not much of a FB person myself, but only the most popular blogs might survive the slow switch.

    Do not worry much about the loss of followers. All Blogger sites lost followers after Google, in their infinite wisdom, changed their policy towards Friend Connect. In brief, one must be a member of Google before following a Blogger site. I lost three myself.

    Have fun at York!


  2. 20 memeber losses for me! No problem with this, even it if it really unpleasant...And a comment is always much better than a simple 'click' my opinion...anyway, great looking buildings!

  3. I lost a few followers, but as we know it wasn't because of lack of interest rather just google messing with things. I personally do not like facebook for wargames and do even follow other wargames stuff on it as I don't like the format. I'll take a reduction in comments for any amount of likes clicks.


  4. Although I have a FB account I don't 'do' wargaming on it , I think most blogs lost followers because of Google's 'improvements' (!?). I probably have a blog as a sort of diary to keep track of my painting / gaming and have never really promoted it much , think most of the people who follow me have blogs that I in turn follow., Tony

  5. I lost 43 followers on my blog and was a little concerned until someone pointed out what was driving the losses. :)

    I have added FB for Fife & Drum specifically and I already had a DAF FB page that started out as a hobby related page but kind of morphed into hobby plus personal life matters. So I thought that I should have a separate FB to promote the Fife & Drum and Minden figure ranges. The new page doesn't seem to,have the following of the old page, but hopefully my Friends on FB follow over to the new page.

    While there is some commonality across all three sites (FB x 2 and my Der Alte Fritz Journal blog), not all visitors to one site visit the other two sites.

    The blog will continue to be my primary voice, but for technological reasons, often it is easier to post a picture on FB than it is on my blog.


  6. The blogging community is a strong one, and very focussed on our hobby. I treat a 'hit' as though it were a 'like'. Comments are an added bonus. I look at many blogs every day, but do not always leave a comment unless I have something useful to say. It does not mean that I haven't enjoyed the content though.
    What you can do is use both. Post on the blog, then share it to a Facebook page. The share will redirect people to your blog. Odd photos or pithy messages can still be given on Facebook. Win-win.

  7. Thanks for this thoughtful post Phil. I tend to think of FB as a place where friends and family can see occasionally what I'm up to if they wish. Most aren't interested in wargaming so I put the hobby on FB very rarely. I love blogging as a substitute for putting my wargaming into the old club magazine, and the feedback is delightful. It's great that one can go into depth on a subject on a blog, and despite what you have written about "little and often", many readers seem to like a lot of content - words and pictures.
    Ironic what you say about the return of magazines - maybe it'[s time, 4 or 5 years later, for you to revive something like Classic Wargamers Journal?

    Please keep on blogging.....and visiting mine.
    Very nice buildings by the way.


  8. I don't think the blogosphere will suffer seriously other than losing some of the "I've just painted this" snapshots. FB is very limited and certainly more suited to 'conversations' and photos. Anything more involved is almost impossible.

    I suppose the deciding factor for a blogger is what he or she uses their blog for. It's a sort of cathartic exercise for me, which results in longish, irregular posts. Others, however, post at least daily and it's likely these are the ones who'll make the jump (at least partially) to FB.

  9. Very interesting thread Phil. I have FB but use it very rarely and though I have joined a few Wargaming Trading Groups do not post my endeavours on it at all. Similar to most comments here I do very much enjoy receiving comments even it is a brief one liner relating the enjoyment someone took from a particular post, photo etc. I was a little concerned this week as well as the drop off my Pyjamas in the Desert blog was close to 10% before someone explained what Google was up to.

    Comments over likes for me too chaps. I am, after all, a traditionalist :^)

  10. Just echo the comments there regarding Facebook. Not a fan and blogger is far more pleasant.

    Those buildings look good too.

  11. Phil,
    Interesting discussion. I use FB for Crann Tara purely because of the ability to touch base with a wider audience and hopefully generate more interest in the range. The number of followers on the blog hasn't increased significantly but traffic has.
    I like my Scotia Albion blog with its small number of followers and use it as a diary, a motivational thing for me to get my finger out on occasions and a place to put hobby thoughts out for comment.
    I've never worried too much about feedback I mainly check how many visits.
    Buildings look good sir and hopefully catch up on Sunday

  12. I was under the impression more people were leaving facebook these days. Might be country-dependent, but there has been quite some bad press about FB in Belgium (where I live), perhaps that biases my perception. Personally, I deactivated my FB account 2 or 3 years ago, after I felt it was becoming too much of a timesink.

    Blogs are much more focused, IMO, and I vastly prefer my reading list of blogs (I use Feedly) over anything like FB or G+.

    BTW, many people also follow blogs using other tools than Google Friend Connect.

  13. I closed my FB account last year (not that I used it for wargaming) and think that it may well have peaked. Blogger seems like the perfect medium for the hobby to me as it is more like a diary that helps to keep me focused on my project. I think I went a whole year without a comment when I started but I do enjoy receiving them. As others have said it is hits that give a true indication of interest (once you have allowed for the spam hits) and I often look at blogs without commenting including yours - I will make more effort!

    Great buildings!

  14. Hi, Phil.

    This thread is very interesting. I don't do FB at all for professional reasons. I agree with you and others above that serious followers of your blog are the most important and most likely to post and contribute to the conversation about our hobby, and to give input that may be useful to you in your projects. I for one will keep watching and commenting when I have something (hopefully) useful to contribute.

    I revel in my Anonymous, though named, status...Jim, I just can't get this working on your DAF blog.

    I am also grateful for any trend that prolongs the life of the printed word in wargaming... so much cosier to curl up with a magazine or book!

    The buildings look great...any chance of a quick "How to" post as they look useful for my Saga Cross & Crescent?

    Best wishes, Rohan.

  15. Hi Phil
    Interesting post so much so I've decided to stop stalking you and actually post
    I love FB for keeping in touch with friends and ex colleagues as well as the several specialist Napoleonic or figure painting groups within it - I have gotten many hard to find uniform details from it linked to pin interest that has a wealth of information on its pages
    The reason it works for me is its a reference resource and it updates with dozens of posts a day , a lot of it is sh*t from the anoraks who need to get out more and actually find some talent - compare that to the average blog in the soldier hobby - because it's often linked to production of something new it's weekly at best and it's a building or a command group - I find blogs frustrating due to lack of constant updates - it's the inherent weakness of the one man band as opposed to FB which is a Community - it's why JR's forum works because it allows all of our single item postings to add up to a worthwhile output
    Bloggers in all areas of the web have an ego - otherwise why do it ? Mother Theresa aside , you have a need to show off or sell something - the same applies to FB and the difference between FB and an individual blog is that on FB it's not your vanity project but you're a cog in a wheel
    None of this is aimed at any individuals - just my observations
    Still love your stuff Phil - except the sheep dipping - you're far too talented for that - bet you end up repainting them !
    Ian Smith

  16. I can understand why manufacturers, many of whom struggle(d) with updating their websites, migrate to Facebook, as it's an easier and quicker way of keeping in touch with customers, although they need to be careful about getting out of sync, e.g. too long a gap before the new product actually appears in their online shop. Same with retailers and show organisers.

    When it comes to posts by individual wargamers, I'm quite happy touring blogland for quarter of an hour every day or two, I'm not looking to be part of a community and I don't need all-day entertainment. I find Facebook too bitty and ephemeral.

    Apart from Google messing around, I suspect the reason the last post generated less of a response than those preceding and following was because 'Wargamer, renowned for his competence, paints gatling and crew really well' is not of itself thought-provoking. Perhaps it is ungracious to enjoy some pictures and not record one's approval, but to be honest one tires of continually typing 'ooh lovely'. Well, I do anyway - ok, I'm a miserable g*t :-)