A dispassionate examination and conclusion
No matter how prolific, majestic, and ALIVE the dinosaurs once were, now we go to visit their remains in Natural History museums all over the world.
I am only speculating here, but my thought is that they would have been surprised that this reality was even an option back when they roamed and ruled the Earth.
Nonetheless, even the mighty aren’t guaranteed to be around forever. Maybe, if the internet existed and they had opposable thumbs and high speed download capabilities, the dinosaurs could have taken a moment to examine the trends and how they could respond to them.
Well- they didn’t, but we do, so I did, and here it is.
The OG Facebook Groups for Vocal Creators
In 2021, when I joined Vocal, it took me about three days to join a Facebook group for Vocal creators. I had questions. I wanted to see what it looked like to have success on the platform. And, let’s be honest, I wanted to check out my competition.
The group I joined is now a private Facebook group known as Saloon for Writers. The group was started by the talented Teisha Leshae and is now Administrated by Antoinette Brey. I was fairly active in the group and learned so very much from Teisha about being an Admin. IT’S HARD.
Especially the way Teisha did it: she had a self-crafted design for daily threads, created her own writing challenges and thematic group cooperative writing prompts. She created polls, asked questions, did the welcome messages near every week. I knew I was in a community.
There were rules, though. Only Vocal creators could join. So I couldn’t have my husband see my posts, or share the comments unless I read them to him.
I also joined the other group that was on Facebook then, The Vocal Creators Lounge. That is still Administrated by Frankie Martinelli and was set up specifically to share and swap posts. There were/are fewer rules and it became a larger group but a much less tight community.
Why Another Facebook Group for Vocal Writers?
I wanted something different in addition to these groups. So I created my own.
Less than two months in to writing on Vocal I decided to become a Vocal+ member and then created a Facebook group for… and here’s why it was different from any other group at that time: it was open to Creators and to Readers.
You can read it in the article linked above (which is my most-read post on Vocal), but the biggest frustration I saw in the other Facebook groups was the lack of feedback on the articles. You see, back then there were NO Reader Insights. There were NO Comments. There were NO Weekly Raise Your Voice Threads on Vocal, there were NO Vocal Creator Chats.
All of those ‘no’s’ were frustrating; the Facebook groups we had filled the need for feedback from other writers. My group meant you could invite your friends and family. They could visit your posts and see the comments you were getting. You could be fully supported… which is why I gave it the name that I did. In fact, among the Facebook groups, it is now referred to most often as Support, as in ‘I saw it in Support’.
There were rules, summed up in once statement: Be Nice~Share~ Comment~Support. Yes, sure, I’ve had my moments with link-bombers, and I’ve done the odd Admin post or two explaining the parameters of niceness, but this is a solid group of supportive folks, and I am proud of the way they interact.
Here’s a post from a day that an Admin rant turned into a Vocal Top Story:
Very, very, very soon I realized that a growing group that was fully open to everyone on the interwebs was a big job. I also realized that people thought I knew more than I did about Vocal- heck some people thought I worked for Vocal (I don’t… yet. Hello @Vocal Creator? LOL) However, a trainer and educator at heart, I gathered answers, making a Guides section in the group with titles such as ‘Promoting Your Posts on Social Media‘, ‘More About Writing‘, ‘Info on the Vocal and Medium platforms‘, and one of the things I’m most proud of: ‘Vocal Cooks Collaborate‘.
The Vocal Cooks Collaborate
When Vocal rolled out the option to subscribe to creators, it gave my thoughts a nudge. Part of the article linked above encourages readers to subscribe and gives step-by-step directions to do so in order not to miss a recipe or article from their favorite cook. What really made it possible was the addition of Quick Edits. Without that tool there would never have been a Vocal Cooks Collaborate, because up until then ALL edits required an email and a wait that could stretch days for a single edit to be completed.
The creators included in the Collaborate, which is a curated index of articles and stories with recipes, were all from the Support group, and the article encouraged reader to visit the profiles of the members with links to their profile, and every recipe was added to the main index article with links back to the original content.
Was this time-consuming? YES! Was it worth it? Also YES! I encourage you to bookmark it for a one-stop shop of talented writers and yummy food/fiction/talent. And, since this was a roughly 8-month endeavor, I encourage you to pick up the banner and create one yourself!
That Was Then, What About Now?
So much has changed on Vocal within the last two years:
- Subscribing to creators
- Enhanced profile with filters and ability to pin 3 stories
- Reader Insights (OK- I know Mike likes them, but I rarely use them)
- Comments on posts
- A drop down from your icon that shows you Your Subscriptions and Stories You Like
- Notifications (which I think are great!)
- Quick Edit
- Faster approval time for many Vocal+ members
- Prompt Resources
- The weekly interactive threads from Vocal: Raise Your Voice and Vocal Creator Chat
- The please-don’t-forget-about-it Shape the Future of Vocal Challenges thread where you can suggest Challenge topics
With all of these updates, and the promise of more to come, is there still a need for Facebook groups dedicated to Vocal (and/or Medium) writers? Or are these groups the dinosaurs attached to these rapidly developing platforms? Already redundant and dead even though they don’t know it yet?
I’m not willing or ready to move these groups into a museum. There is a space for Facebook (and Discord and/or Mammoth, etc) groups in the world of a creator, including those that use platforms such as Vocal.
In fact, when writing the piece introducing the Support group, I explained that it was being done both to fill the gaps of user experience I was sure would soon be addressed as well as sticking around because it gives… well… a larger sense of community. This is what I wrote back in April 2021:
Some of the comments from Creators that I’ve read in other groups express the frustration they feel regarding the lack of feedback on their posted Vocal.Media articles and stories. Given how responsive the platform has been to Vocal+ and Freemium members my projection is that this will eventually change. In fact, the energy of growth and willingness to act is one of the most exciting aspects of being on the platform. It had a big influence on my decision to become a Vocal+ member.
My hope is that the Vocal Creators Support Group on Facebook both fills the gap until this happens and also becomes an enduring venue for Creators to form bonds, offer encouragement, share best practices, and hone their craft.
Without the various Facebook groups I wouldn’t have:
- attempted to ever write a fiction story
- put into words my memories and feelings of trauma
- learned more about the skills of writing
- learned to ask for and accept public feedback on my writing
- realized that my experience and knowledge has a value to people I’ve never met in person
- begun to leave a written legacy for my daughters
- met talented writers and creators from all over the world. I read, chat, interact, have Zoom calls with, and write collaboratively with people from Canada, US, England, Ireland, Australia, India, Scotland, Asia, Saudi Arabia, and I’m sure many more.
As a Vocal creator I’ll remain active in the various threads Vocal has put in place to elevate the work of other creators, to ask questions and propose solutions, to suggest new Challenges.
As their Admin, I’ll continue to seek out new resources for members of the Support group, answer as many questions as I can, remove as many link-bombers that try to disrupt things, welcome new writers, encourage those that may have hit a slump, celebrate their writing successes, and appreciate them more and more every day.
As a member of more Facebook groups for Vocal (and Medium) writers, I’ve found a tribe to laugh with, mourn with, rejoice with, and grow with.
For anyone still on the fence about becoming a Vocal+ member:
There is a membership cost that can be paid monthly, or pay by the year and save $20. That’s 2 months free!
You do get several benefits over a free membership, some of which are:
- You can enter Vocal’s Challenges and have an opportunity to win cash prizes.
- Get a higher payment per post read.
- To join Vocal+ or upgrade from a free account use my link and go here.
You have so MUCH power as a reader! Did you know all of the ways you can interact with what you read on Vocal?
Leave ‘hearts’ and ‘comments’ on posts you enjoy. This one, for instance! Hint! Hint!
Subscribe to the writers that write the stuff you like. In fact, I’m working on a guide (that will be obsolete a week after I complete it, probably!) to the groups for another article. Subscribe now so you won’t miss it.
Leave a $Tip$ for an article that you enjoyed and/or opened your eyes to something new.
Share the stuff you like on your own social media and you will delight a writer for days!