Top 10 Things I Learned In My Years On Facebook or How Many “Friends” Can I Lose In One Post?

FYI: There were 3001 when I posted this. LOL

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“Live and learn.”

Conservatively, I estimate I “invested” 1400 hours of my life into Facebook over the past four years which is 500 hours more than it took to produce my book. Let that sink in a moment. I have dwelled on this for some time now. It is because of this significant amount of time that I did not just delete my Facebook account when the final straw arrived. I was close though. For better or worse, there is a legacy we leave behind on Facebook for our “friends”, if not the general public. However, if you posted as I did in a willy-nilly devil-may-care sort of way, you will spend days trying to clean it all up in order to leave a “best of” collection of posts worth scrolling before saying your final farewell. Be prepared for Facebook to “limit” your profile and page(s), a.k.a. putting you in Facebook jail, when you attempt such radical changes.

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1) Some people are not who they claim to be.

I am not talking about authors writing under pen names - which is absolutely necessary to avoid harassment - I am talking about people with multiple online personas. Don’t make the mistake of PROJECTING your level of integrity or values, a.k.a. honesty, discretion, and honour onto people you meet. It will bite you every time.

You can protect yourself by using a free deep web search at: pipl.com.

If aliases appear, search each one. If you know multiple locations where they have lived, search each city by each alias. It could take a while to compile all the data, and you should prepare yourself as the results can be nothing less than staggering. Look for, and even search, relatives, known associates, and phone numbers to confirm the site has not made an error. There are pay sites starting from $2.00 that generate a full report including criminal activities. You might want to consider one of these if you are in deep with someone you met online. May your god be kind with what you find.

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2) Don’t be naïve.

If you look up naïve in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see my picture there. I viewed joining the author communities on social media as an opportunity to connect with bright, engaging, open-minded seekers of wisdom . . . kindred spirits who would share thoughts as pen pals would, only using modern technology. Overall, nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, you will encounter a few worthwhile decent types, but in a game where we count followers in the thousands, they represent a minuscule percentage.

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3) “Haste makes waste.”

I remember being excited about making “friends” on Facebook when I first started out. So excited in fact, I would send friend requests to anyone who had the words author or writer on their profile. Back then, the prevailing theory suggested the key to success was a numbers game; the one with the biggest following would get a publishing deal. People were actually buying followers 10,000 at a time. I didn’t buy into this. I viewed social media as a popularity contest which does not translate into book sales ─ the equivalent to putting flyers in your neighbor’s mailboxes. I have yet to see data which is convincing enough to see it any other way. If I knew better, I would have cultivated relationships with influencers, readers of my genre, publishers, publicists, agents, reviewers, and bloggers ─ all the people I did not have as “friends” but who might have made a difference to the success achieved by my book. Had I known then what I know now, my friends list would look very different than it does today.

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4) Cocaine would have been a better choice.

If you are going to choose an addiction, social media is the worst possible choice. THERE IS NO HIGH, and the more time you spend on social media the less happy you become. Anyone who has read my book, knows I am anti-escapist regardless of whether the high is produced naturally or artificially. Regular cocaine users know the drug has a diminishing return. The high is never as good as the first time they tried it unless they increase the quantity used; and the more they use, the more frequent their cravings become until it affects their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hypocrite. I let my demons out for an occasional stroll, but I pick my poisons carefully to ensure that none take charge of my life. Social media hooks us on being connected and never being alone. It is dangerous because humans must be alone in order to think, learn, and grow. Social media stagnates the mind and, Facebook at least, seems bent on depressing the populace. Endless distractions thwart creativity and productivity. If you: feel obligated to post on social media; look in regularly for comments on posts; have never turned off Messenger or notifications or your device, then you should pick different poisons for a while until you get a handle on the monkey on your back.

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5) I kept my promise.

I used my Facebook profile page as a playground where I could share multiple aspects of my personality. This allowed me a place to vent . . . and vent I did; or more correctly, am continuing to do here in what will become my last post to Facebook. Early on I promised the real me would be on display at all times to my “friends”. The people on my friends list did not get an artificial construct or watered down perfect illusion of who I am. Nope, they got the full Monte, or at least as much Monte as Facebook would allow. My inner bad boy posted what little nudity Facebook community standards would tolerate for two reasons: Firstly, I am a rebel who sees freedoms dying faster than the planet is losing species; and secondly, nothing in the world is more beautiful to me than the female form. I shared my sense of humour as well, even when I knew it might be crossing someone’s line every now and then. I also shared my philosophies, and those from others which resonated within me, in what I now see as a futile effort to awaken the sleeping oblivious sheeple. The proof is in the likes. There were next to none. Recently, I wanted to find out if I was out of Facebook jail so I posted: ‘Somebody, anybody, tell me if you can see me.’ This post got more attention than a year’s worth of meaningful posts, and at the same time, it made a sad statement on the superficiality of the average Facebook user.

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6) “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

As an author, I should have divided my time equally between Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook because Goodreads has proven itself to put your books in front of readers, and unlike Facebook, you can reach out to everyone and anyone on twitter. Time is the one thing you can never get more of and it does not allow do-overs. Spend yours wisely.

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7) Nazi hamsters! WTF?

Fuckerberg, and the Nazis in the shadows behind him, are using facebook for data collection on each and every one of us, as are most of the major corporations in Silicon Valley. The difference is Facebook knows far more about us than Google, and possibly even the makers of our devices and the companies that supply operating systems as long as they do not breach their published privacy policies which most have already been caught doing. Facebook considers EVERYTHING you share to be their property. This includes Messenger. Yup, your selfies and home-made porn videos are all sitting in a data farm somewhere and you can never truly delete them. They lured us away from My Space with the promise of something better. A promise which was never kept right from the beginning. Their endless adjustments to the algorithm, have severely limited our outreach to readers while they stayed busy categorizing and compartmentalizing us into something reminiscent of a box filled with hamsters where everyone is climbing all over each other. Good luck. I’m out.

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8) Let’s see Facebook for what it is: a societal manipulation site.

That doesn’t have the same innocuous ring to it as social media site, does it. In my time on Facebook, I have been appalled by posts in my News Feed ranging from animal cruelty to the shooting of an unarmed man by police, with a far too great number of others in between. Were they fake news as with the Trumpeter’s election campaigners who mysteriously showed up only to disappear shortly after the election? We can never know. What is clear however, is we are affected, influenced, and manipulated by what we see and hear in all forms of media. Worst of all, we become desensitized to atrocious human behavior and I believe this is NO ACCIDENT; but where they are intentionally herding the minds of the sheeple. When three billion users worldwide have been programmed to no longer give a shit about life, the world can easily fall into anarchy. On that day, the frightened sheeple will willingly turn over the last of their freedoms for safety. The single biggest difference between other forms of media and Facebook is there are no restrictions placed on what Facebook is allowed to broadcast. Facebook can do what they want with the get-out-of-jail-free-card of being a social media platform not responsible for the content created by users. There is no Editor In Chief to hold accountable for what is thrust before our eyes. Facebook’s new take on morality is not for me. It shouldn’t be for you either.

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9) Some people make it bearable.

If I look at my years on Facebook as I would my life, there are some parallels. I have a few regrets but there was also a great deal of laughter. There were a handful of people who made the time spent on Facebook almost seem worthwhile. I hope they keep in touch. There were also some standouts who stepped up when it really mattered, and they have my deepest gratitude.

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10) Facebook is what you make of it.

If you are just an individual who wants to keep tabs on people you already know in the real world, or if you want to find people you have lost touch with, then have at it while being VERY cautious of what you post or message to people. Keep your circle small and be wary of people you have not met in person when they send you a friend request. If you have the misfortune of being a writer who is following conventional wisdom, a.k.a. forced kicking and screaming into the social media spotlight as I was, then things will be tougher. Absorb and retain the previous 1800 words and I will leave you with the immortal words of my favorite Zen master: ‘Mind what you have learned; save you it can.’ – Yoda.

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Waiting is the Worst!

 

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They say “No news is good news.”

I disagree. Not knowing fosters anxiety even in a guy like me who is wildly over self-examined. You receive a cryptic message about an emergency situation telling you they will get in touch as soon as more information is available. You wait; all the while consciously trying not to think the worst, but as the hours pass you inevitably let your guard down allowing the darkest possible outcomes to play out in your mind.

Times like these test your beliefs. As my handful of readers already know, I am not religiously inclined, and I have attempted to shed almost all beliefs—viewing them as traps which serve no other purpose than to allow us to be manipulated, usually through fear. I no longer fear for myself, but I do fear for others; especially those close to me. After ten hours of checking my phone, I did something that helped to ease my mind which could be labelled in a number of different ways depending on the beliefs of the person applying the label. I looked at the sky and thought:

‘Please, let them be okay.’

Most would call this praying. A far smaller number would say I was putting positive energy into the universe to create a desired outcome. For me, it was merely a mental exercise to firstly accept a situation that was outside of my control, and secondly, a way to master my anxiety once again. I never say there is no God or gods. Instead, I leave room for the possibility. While I would like to think we live in a deterministic universe where we each have free will and where, if we channel our collective energies in a particular direction, we can control destiny or fate. Sadly, thus far at least, there is no absolute proof of this one either. What I find fascinating at times like this is I am willing to give them a go without any belief in them. My “Leave no rock unturned.” approach may be the reason. If it can’t hurt and could help then why not?

Studies into prayer and meditation show the human brain behaves very differently when we partake in these activities, indicating there is “something to them”. Maybe we level up our consciousness, or maybe we just reduce our brain activity to a level where we find clarity; where we can accept that some things are outside of our control, and where we can let go of our irrational fears. After all, it is fear that spawns our worries, and it is the quantity of those worries we created in our head which can lead us into full-blown anxiety.

Some would say my “prayer” was answered.

I will not and cannot allow this label to be applied to my story, for if I do, I would become narrow or closed-minded with a singular viewpoint, and I like to think I have outgrown being that guy.

Why choose black or white when there is so much gray area to be explored?

It took two more hours of waiting, but the news I finally received was not terrible. Did God intervene at my request? Not likely. Did I use my incredible mind powers to have the universe alter our reality? I seriously doubt it. So what did happen then?

Life happened.

Things are not in our control. They never have been throughout recorded history. Everything is temporary, including each of us. The control freaks who rise to power and prominence do so by having a narrow focus. It serves them for a while, but historically, it inevitably leads to their demise because a time ALWAYS comes when they need to consider possibilities outside of their doctrine. We see maniacal despots in the media each day who are single-mindedly hell-bent on creating division and hatred everywhere they can. They only have power over the closed-minded, and this is why they work so hard at recruiting or creating the like-minded.

Avoid choosing a side because neither side can see the other possibilities.

It’s been a rough year, so why should December be any different? However, today’s news was not as bad as some of the outcomes from my anxiety based mental conjuring. For this I am grateful. As we enter the holiday season, I hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and happy. If you fall into this lucky group, please take a moment to realize how lucky you are. Not everyone is as lucky as you. Life really is about luck, and the funny thing about luck is it can change in the blink of an eye.

P.S.

If you know someone who espouses the notion that we make our own luck, remind them that while hard work and focus can help them climb the ladder of success, only a healthy person can cling to the rungs.

Happy Holidays.

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To my lucky American follower(s).

Dinner conversation for know-it-all’s:

Contrary to popular belief, tryptophan induced turkey comas are not a result of turkey containing a greater quantity of the amino acid than other foods, but only our overindulgence at this time of year. You most likely do not go back for seconds when you eat other poultry, nor do smaller birds allow for days of leftovers in sandwiches and soups or stews.

Enjoy your holiday while I wait for Christmas dinner.

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Dear Elites,

You know who you are . . .

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and so do we.

You are the 1%–the morally bereft industrialists, bankers, spiritual leaders, and mega-corp board members who view the world and its people as THINGS to be exploited and controlled. You are not likeable, but we labour not for the 50% we give to you, but for the remainder which allows us a few simple pleasures. You limit what we can know, and yet we still manage to find out more than you would like. YOUR scientists and politicians put on quite a show through YOUR media. They keep many of us spinning, but not all of us. Your arrogance has blinded you to a few simple truths.

We tolerate your presence among us because we crave security and peace of mind in our small work-a-day lives.

We see you destabilizing economies. We see your security states. We see how you cultivate conflicts. We see you attacking our Constitutions. We see you passing laws to benefit only yourselves. We see you feverishly working to divide us. We see you killing. We know you envisage a world without us, but we also know you cannot DO for yourselves. We know about many of your safe havens. Who do you think built them?

You need us . . . or at least some of us.

And herein lies your problem. NONE of your assets are maintenance free. Not a single one. If you examine each of them closely, you will see at least a small crew of work-a-day people who possess specialized skills and knowledge that you do not. Your architects, designers, builders, and landscapers create your dream, but they don’t maintain it. There are the lawn and garden people; the pool, sauna, and hot tub people; the chimney, fireplace, roof, and eves people; the security, cable, satellite, electronics, electrical, plumbing, and appliance people; the driveway, patio, helipad, and tennis court people . . . You get the idea, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

You are surrounded by us and always will be.

We are the working class and you cannot maintain your lavish lifestyles without literally hundreds of us. You are reliant on each of us. We feign friendliness and loyalty, but never assume you can buy all of us. Each of us share a different morality than yours. We still feel sympathy and empathy towards our fellow humans despite your attempts to program these out of us on YOUR social media sites. Yes, we picked up on this too.

You are grossly outnumbered and scared of us. We get that.

Perhaps, it is time you consider how easy it would be for us to get to you if we were to be incensed by the loss of our friends and loved ones. You can vet us all you want–hand picking us–but there will always be one of us near you who is waiting for the right moment.

Sleep well.

Sincerely,

The Huddled Masses.

World Food Day

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While I support all altruistic initiatives, I dislike the politicizing of subjects such as hunger. It is time we addressed the elephant in the room. The West is fat and drunk on immediate gratification.

The UN creates AWARENESS of the EFFECTS without ever talking about the true CAUSE . . . the hording of wealth.

The World Bank offers loans to organizations trying to feed people, but NOT WITHOUT INTEREST. This group could single-handedly solve hunger. They don’t.

The largest religions of the world sit on a pile of money that could immediately cure hunger. They don’t. They do however claim it is a top concern and tell their followers to give more.

Corporatized food stores do not fill the shelves of food banks. They expect their customers to do that AT RETAIL PRICES, and they use their INFLUENCE to keep farmers from donating directly.

So while the AWARENESS created each year since the 1940’s by the UN is a good thing, it also illustrates that 70+ years of TALK hasn’t solved anything. Individuals must do what we can. Organizations won’t.

Are you in your twenties?

90 passion

Have a great day.

I TOTALLY get why people read escapist fiction.

Nonfiction blows sometimes.

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I am a seeker. I read nonfiction to find answers to big questions.

One big question of many that perplex me when it comes to the State of Israel and Jewish people is: Why are 14.2 million people more newsworthy in the West than the other 6.86 billion people of the world? Is there more to this than media control, ownership, or the claimed disproportionate number of Jewish people working in Western media? I don’t know. When I don’t know something, I read, and keep on reading until I find answers. This tiny segment of the world’s population endlessly reminds us of their stories of persecution; some of these stories are based on historically documented facts, while others have so little empirical evidence they border on the mythological. A media spotlight affords a tiny state some protection from transgressors, but in doing so, it can also cast a shadow on any freshly dug graves.

If you want to truly get a handle on a culture, you must dive into their indoctrinations.

The world’s religions mastered indoctrination long ago, so this, I thought, would be a good area to acquire a better grasp of a people without diving into the more volatile areas of politics and economics.

Yesterday’s read began with enthusiasm as I found a book which was touted to be: A Guide to Jewish Wisdom; something that appealed to me on a couple of different levels even though I am not Jewish, and have—putting it mildly—a general dislike of almost all religions for their exploitive,  for-profit business model which excludes aid to anyone who is not a paying customer. Firstly, this book appealed to the researcher inside me as I am usually forced to open dozens of books over several days just to find puzzle pieces which I then have to make notes on and later assemble into something that makes sense. It’s a good day when you find an author who has done all the work for you. Secondly, I have not given Judaism its due, relative to the volume of reading I have done on all of the larger religions. Oh sure I have skimmed the Tanakh and read the greatest hits of the Torah in my fact-finding missions to compare stories from other religions, but I really did not have a “feel” for this group’s beliefs. I really hoped this book on the mystical side of Judaism: Kabbalah, would give me a better understanding of the big picture.

A great many authors should thank their lucky stars I don’t publish reviews or ratings below three stars on a five star scale.

This book dodged a bullet. When we choose a nonfiction book to read, we are encouraged to pay attention to the credentials of the author as though only a credentialed person can put forth a valid thought—or so the publishing world a.k.a. print media would have us believe. The author is a Rabbi and an educational psychologist so I expected a balance of theology with logic and reason. What I got was a heavy dose of mysticism, magic, and the supernatural with a smattering of references to empirical research that, at best, offered a weak endorsement of how the magic worked. The spiritual mumbo jumbo, of course, told the believer how to think and live “correctly”:

‘You must be a giving person.’

In fact, there was an entire paragraph on how to appropriately greet and compensate a Kabbalist or Hassidic rebbe if you were ever fortunate enough to garner their attention.

‘You must not be an egotist.’

And yet the author saw fit to publish a photo of himself with the Dali Lama instead of one where he was feeding or counseling “displaced” Palestinian children.

In fairness, I expect hypocrisy in all books from theologians, however once you strip away the nonsense, there were about fifty pages of good reading where the author succinctly explained: The Ten Sefirot, the meaning of the Star of David, and he interpreted a number of commonly used Jewish religious terms while passing along some insights into Judaic “philosophy”. The book was just 200 pages so I’ll give it a 1.25 star rating.

Every book will give you something.

What did I learn? Nothing Earth shattering, but it would appear that Judaism:

  • Is a very complex belief system which requires significant interpretation.
  • Has a significant number of teachings related to self.
  • Places women closer to men in terms of equality.
  • Has roots in Zoroastrianism.
  • Is open to different planes of existence, science, and multiple universes.
  • Believes they have all the answers.
  • Believes Hebrew is the Holy tongue—necessary to enter a higher reality.
  • Believes their religious men are above the average follower.
  • Believes the Torah contains a hidden spiritual code supported by mathematics.
  • Codify beliefs into law in much the same way Muslims do.

This lacklustre book did however point me at a new target of inquiry. It seems that in the 1700’s a scholastic elite were the only ones with access to Jewish literary works. This wreaks of potential tampering akin to Constantine or King James. I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up once I have chased down this lead.