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Why I Don’t Promote My Blog With Social Media

And why this works for me.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

1) Because I don’t like it. I abhor social media in all its forms. While I use it as a tool — a way to find people knowledgeable about certain topics and to allow others in media with a quick and easy way to find me — it’s not something that I’ve ever found myself enjoying doing.

2) The time input / benefit output is extremely imbalanced to the former. The amount of time it takes to cultivate a social media following extreme and the true benefit of that following FOR THE THE TYPE OF CONTENT THAT I PRODUCE is negligible. How many clicks to I get to my blog? How much do I earn from those clicks? How many hours did it take me to get those clicks? I’ve tested this a few times over the years and it never comes out favorably enough to invest time into social media. That said, if I was in a vertical that was hot on social media or I was selling something my results may have differed. As it is, I would rather be creating content that adds real value to the ecosystem and lasts.

3) If you want traffic from social media you have to pay for it. Facebook and the lot started out on the premise that if we provided free content they would give us free traffic. The companies have since reneged on this deal. If you are promoting a site or page nobody will see it unless you pay for a promotion. This doesn’t add up if your site’s business model is ad revenue (you will pay more for advertising than you can make). However, I probably should have paid to promote my Ghost Cities book on social media more.

4) The algorithms are a secret and are always changing. One day you may be doing well on social media — reeling in the views, subs, and clicks — and the next day you could be banished into irrelevance. There is no way to predict what direction FB, YT, Twitter, and their ilk are going to go in, but what is clear is that they don’t give a shit about the hopes, dreams, and investments of their creator base. They are going to do what it take to make the most money possible, and PLENTY of creators have become collateral damage. How can you invest time or money into such ecosystems?

5) Because I don’t like arguing with people. It seems as if the people who are most attracted to social media are those who really enjoy fighting with people. While I enjoy sharing my opinions and going back and forth with a colleague who’s well-educated on the topics that I cover — that’s one way you learn — I don’t find it worth defending myself against zealots with a cursory knowledge of the discussion that they’ve gleaned from the mainstream news. Also, such discussions tend to go nowhere, and you get the repeated impression that you’re not talking with someone who wants to learn from you but someone who gets off on trying to prove themselves right. I can’t imagine how big of a loser someone needs to be to go around picking fights on Twitter. Do you really have nothing better to be doing with your life?

This leads me to my main critique: the main social media platforms are not the kind of environments that I deem to be positive sources of exchange and communication. They are not making people smarter or more worldly but are simply platforms for zealots trying to force their morality on other people. There is no need to even search for what is the safest social media platform. It reminds me of the way people acted during the Cultural Revolution. There is nothing fertile about it, so I opt out.

This blog does well enough without a social media presence. By traffic numbers, this is still one of the most successful travel themed blogs on the planet… which is a testament to the fact that there are many others out there whose guts wretch at the hint of Facebook.


Filed under: Blogging, Media Analysis

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: Trenton, Maine

16 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Rob May 5, 2019, 3:12 pm

    If this blog was on FB or I had to access it thru FB I’d rarely see it.

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    • Wade Shepard May 5, 2019, 4:36 pm

      Haha, yes, that seems to be a pretty common sentiment among readers here, and I have to say that this is the segment that I’m going for! Although Jack Woods’s FB posts are often hilarious. It was the one thing that would make me look at my feed every once in a while. Perhaps fortunately, FB’s algorithms seems to have de-selected him in favor of people that I don’t really know complaining about politics. I feel better about life when I stay out of that cesspool.

      That said, I didn’t mention this in this post, but there are targeted social media sites, like Reddit and Andy’s HoboTraveler, that are built up around topics (not personality) that are actually pretty good.

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  • Trav May 5, 2019, 5:59 pm

    Yeah, you’re not going to find me on shitbook either. It’s crazy to think of how much time people spend scrolling that crap. Like they’re hypnotized. Zombies or something. Like don’t you have anything better to be doin??????/??

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  • Trevor May 6, 2019, 4:33 am

    Yup, i don’t use FB though i do have it, to check somestories and links of hostels that i may well promote……. i dont have messenger….. on the premise that chatting gets addictive.. not to mention scroling useless shite….which seems to be the worlds greatest past time these days.

    i just opened a twitter account to see what the score is… again is it worth it? if i create a following… people will get pingged if i post a new story, as long as i tweet it. it could work in the absence of an email feed of new posts..

    but i cant get the bit that others display UNDER the image on twitter…the text and the little link icon… all mine does is open the photo…though i did manage to embed a twitter icon on my site….

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    • Wade Shepard May 6, 2019, 8:35 am

      Yes, it’s good to have the social media accounts. It’s a fast and easy way to keep people informed about where you are and what you’re doing — which can be a valuable generator of opportunities. But it’s all left up to the algorithms who sees you or who doesn’t. The Vagabond Journey Twitter account has over 6,000 followers and I auto-post links to new posts. How many of these posts actually get in front of people? Very, very few. If you’re not a social media diva and putting massive amounts of time into it the systems know this and make you virtually invisible. It’s not like how it used to be. When these platforms first came out they were a viable way to generate traffic and collect an audience. Now you have to pay them for this, which I found isn’t worth it.

      However, for what you seem to be doing — promoting hostels, etc — a big social media presence is a must. It’s all about the numbers, man — you’re playing the influencer game here. Have fun!

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      • Trevor May 6, 2019, 11:31 am

        House loves numbers ,they dont lie.

        my hostel reviews are just a bit of promo to help friends out . my main goal is to provide logistics from getting from A to B in obscure places… always with photos to prove marshrutkas do exist and embassy locations linked to google maps.

        i was seething at one blogger who famously reported that the XXX embassy in XXX was no longer at the publicised address yet failed to reveal the new location. what a prime sized twat.

        my twitter account i can see it being deleted. swept aside and stamped on like i did with insta in the same way u stamp on a cockroach


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        • Wade Shepard May 6, 2019, 12:14 pm

          Haha, yes, stomping it like a cockroach probably feels good. Been tempted to do that myself as well.

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          • Trevor May 6, 2019, 2:11 pm


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          • Trevor May 7, 2019, 10:21 am

            Twitter is creating traffic.. even if all i did was twitter my re post from Minsk from last year. no promo no ## nada… but anymore than twitting the initial post i really cant be arsed

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            • Wade Shepard May 7, 2019, 11:32 am

              How much traffic? If it works, keep doing it. But be aware that the algorithms will test and evaluate how well your posts do, and results tomorrow may not be the same as today … or they may be better. Who knows?

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              • Trevor May 7, 2019, 2:14 pm

                minimal in the grand scheme of things BUT I used insta gram b4 and NO one hit me up without me begging….
                Twitter produced a few over night hits and within minutes of posting Minsk on twitter some one responded.

                cant be bad for a novice twitterer lol

                one day im gonna be a star..

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                • Wade Shepard May 7, 2019, 8:05 pm

                  You’re on your way to influencer-dom!

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                  • Trevor May 8, 2019, 11:58 am

                    ‘specially as i have re posted 2 logistics posts from Belarus onto my new site.

                    all re tweaked, SEOd, the full monty.. hahah oh year and tweeted….

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                    • Wade Shepard May 8, 2019, 1:26 pm


  • Trevor May 12, 2019, 10:18 am

    yup, twitter is flawed…..my first post has 1200impressions, the next only has 200, then 80 etc etc….i tweeted today 4hours ago, and it hasnt been seen..

    this freaking SM bs…. it draws u in and then lets u down….its true… SM is a big casue of depression…..and stats…. others getting 1000s of hits and u struggle to get 5 .fake promisses of re tweets…. just mindless waste of time… real people for better or worse r the way to go

    twitter is gonna get deleted…. i can see it and will write about it…. hahhahah

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    • Wade Shepard May 13, 2019, 11:03 am

      Yes, they will inflate first posts — or the first post if you don’t tweet for a while (it seems) — to gather data on how it performs. Based on this, the algorithms will then determine how many views your next posts will get. The people who are successful at this are either good at it and extremely dedicated, are providing info that people want, have “you rt me and I will rt you agreements” with large numbers of people, or they pay for it. If your vertical was news then Twitter can be useful. But just travel it is really difficult to amass a following — especially if your focus isn’t big market Tourism.

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