500 “Smith Family Chronicles” FB Fans by Episode 8, or Adios, Series

In case you’re not aware, “The Smith Family Chronicles” is a weekly episodic series I’m writing and producing via the website Xtranormal.com. Here are the episodes of the show I’ve done thus far. (You can also see them here on YouTube, and here on “The Huffington Post.”)

If you’ve seen “The Smith Family Chronicles,” and you like it, I’d like to encourage you to support it by joining/”liking” the show’s Facebook page.

Going into doing “Smith Family,  I knew it would take six to eight episodes before people would really get what I’m doing with it. It’s a weird form; no one’s before seen it used in this fashion; the characters sound like voice-mail message robots; I’m using the show to deal with the most critical kinds of personal issues. So of course anyone would have to see a few episodes of SFC before they could sort of relax into it, and trust that it’s … its own thing. (If interested, you can read more about why I’m doing the series on my post, Oh the Secrets We Keep, the Lies We Tell.)

And I’m deeply gratified at how much people are getting “The Smith Family Chronicles.” The response at first was slow, as expected–and with each episode it’s picked up considerably. I was pleased when “Huffington Post” got behind the series. I was pleased when Xtranormal “liked” SFC on its Facebook page. I’m seriously pleased that (as of this writing) 162 people have “Liked” the SFC Facebook page. So it’s all going as well—and a little better, actually—as I hoped it would.

No one likes purposefully promoting their own work, and I’m no different. But the fact of the matter is that each weekly episode of SFC takes me about thirty-five hours to complete. And that cannot help but mean that in order for me to keep writing and producing the series, it needs an audience large enough to warrant that degree of investment.

By all of which I mean to say that if, by the time, or very soon thereafter, that I’ve published the eighth episode of “The Smith Family Chronicles,” I’ll have to cancel the show if its Facebook page doesn’t have at least five hundred members.

That’s it. Five hundred Facebook fans on or near episode eight, or I’ll need to move on to other work. It’s just like any TV show: if not enough people are watching, it’s adios time for that show.

So. If you like “The Smith Family Chronicles,” join/”like” the show’s Facebook page. Encourage others to do the same. Share the show with others; that’s the main thing. Share episodes from the show on your Facebook page (which of course you can do right off the show’s YouTube channel.) Email your friends and family about it. Blog about it. Tweet about it. Put it up on StubleUpon, or Reddit, or wherever else you can help get the word out about it. Do all that sort of thing. (Oh, also, if you would—and again, only if you like the show and want it to continue, obviously—do a starred review of the series here on its Facebook page. But beware: the stars you choose will stick—but apparently the Facebook “Review” app eats random accompanying word reviews. So, to be safe, do what you see others there have done: choose your stars, and then, beneath that, as a “comment,” write whatever you might have to say about the show. Thank you!)

If you do that sort of thing, and the audience for the show grows, and five hundred people join the show’s Facebook fan page by episode eight, I’ll continue this work, which I love. (Trust me: the SFC plot hasn’t even started.) If not, then zero worries, of course; then I’ll just move on to some of the other wonderful work I’ve got waiting in the wings.

Cool. Dig it. Love it. Good. Onward.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • JAy.

    John,

    I would encourage you to not look only at the Facebook stats, but also the YouTube stats. Your views are trending quite positively, I would say. Considering just that, you appear to have exceeded 500 viewers. (I realize your Facebook count is hoping to show more commitment than just regular viewers.)

    You are seeing some success in the shows I think. That said, I also understand the burden you are putting yourself under to produce these, so I can’t make the decision for you!

    JAy.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    Hey, Jay. It’s no burden at all to do SFC; I love every aspect of the work. I just won’t be able to do more than eight of them unless I know they’re working. And there aren’t a lot of clear measurements of that. I am, as you say, very pleased with the YouTube view count. I’m pleased with every aspect of the entire project. I just didn’t want to get to episode eight, not have enough fans (because, ultimately, that is easily the most objectively tangible measure of impact), shut it down, and THEN tell people what would have been necessary in order to have kept it going. That wouldn’t be fair.

  • Denise

    I personally did not like the SFC and my 11 yr old was watching it with me — he was laughing hysterically as it seemed so phony/robotic like. But we aren’t struggling with gay issues, so perhaps that’s why we didn’t like it. Good luck!

  • Panthera

    John,

    Please don’t forget – many of us won’t have anything to do with facebook – me included.

    You might want to count other sources of feedback.

    Hmm, have you considered talking to http://www.gaychristian.net? I bet they’d love to pick this up.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I did send it to GCN, actually. Nothing. And of course you’re right about the FB thing. It’s only one measure of popularity. But it’s a good one. If this show can’t collect 500 members of that page, that really and truly does mean it doesn’t have a large enough audience for me to continue doing the series. And that’s the bare minimum number. And no worries on it, from my end. As I say, they take up so much time that I’m good either way. I love this series, and will do it as long as there’s a viable audience for it. But if not, then … not. I love lots of stuff that isn’t particularly wildly popular. We all do, yes? So. Right. There we have it. Thanks for the kind words! And it’s not over yet!

      • Panthera

        Oh, well, you only wrote them once? I’ve found it helps to write twice a day, several days in a row and not to expect anything until the third or fourth try.

        It’s not that they aren’t great folks, it’s just that they are, well, I don’t know…but I still have students half my age who can’t manage old technology like emails, never mind the newer ones.

        Keep trying – the audiences are very similar in their needs (in my not so humble opinion) and you have a real gift for the dramatic and for telling the truth.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          I’ve contacted GCN at least three times. Nada. So. But. You know. No worries.

  • Jack

    I’ve just now found the SFC!

    And I’m NOT on Facebook, nor do I have any desire to be.

    PLEASE, resume them. They do indeed sound like a typical Christian family.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank you! I love these videos. The comment means a lot to me. Thanks, Jack!


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