One of the most important factors in running a large Facebook group is the control of the flow of information. When everyone is talking about everything, then no one is listening.
So it was with a great deal of surprise that my arrival to the group was not greeted with a fanfare and a parade! OK maybe not THAT great a surprise, but instead I got a quiet hello from several very kind people, including Katharine.
Then came the news that I was member 4000! Well that was more like it. Fanfare, trumpets, monkeys and ticker-tape... but again, not for me. It was all directed at Katharine, to her group. There was a LOT of love here, and it seemed to be directed mostly by the membership. They were clearly in love with the place, and with the people who made it what it was (that hasn't changed, BTW).
Here is the difference though. This group, this family, wasn't interested in stroking egos or being sold your book/blog/cure for the common cold. They wanted to know about YOU! To support YOU! So no Self-Promotion (there's a time and a place for that), No Provocations (trolls are quickly and efficiently fed to the Delete Machine) No Profanity (I received a gentle suggestion to avoid the word D*mn, which I was happy to edit out).
There's a list of rules, and if you break them, we will good naturedly point and laugh and suggest you have a look at them. Break them again and we will have a serious chat, or something a little more final. There is not a 'three strikes rule.' This isn't a baseball game. This is a family, and as a family, no matter how much they disagree about the Oxford Comma of Self over Trad publishing, if you hurt one of their own, the wagons are circled and the Admins kick into high gear. Everyone is safe, or no one is.
Then there was the schedule. Schedule? On a Facebook Group? Yup. I don't know if it came from her homeschooling experiences or just being a mom of 5 kids, but Katharine had the whole crew and all of the posts organized into slots, keeping the chaos down to a manageable murmur.
Mondays are New Member Shout Out Day and Blogs Day (links welcome)
Tuesdays is Top Ten Day (You are welcome to contribute your lists of things) and Buddy day (shout out for help with your project)
Wednesday is #Author Happiness - responding to the post is your chance to blast out your message, your book, project, website, pictures of your cats. LINKS WELCOME (but only on the post)
I haven't even begun to talk about the live chats.
What is the net effect? Content is kept focused. People post, and respond, with genuine questions, tips, wow moments. And the family stays strong and focused as it grows.
I will wrap up with today's Drabble by Sheri (Blog Day) Williams
What Katharine did for me: a drabble(Sheri Williams writes a bit of everything. She was the first Admin to be added by Katherine almost three years ago.)
Katharine found me when I had literally just decided I was a writer. She brought me to her fold, her brand new group, and she made me family. Three and a half years later, I am still writing in ten minute increments. I am an admin of the best fb group ever. And I am still a writer. My publishing journey has not been smooth, but Katharine and 10MinNovelists have always been there to help me through. I honestly would not be where I am today without them.