This week on my Ms. Creant blog, I show how our social media walls can reveal a great deal about what we are feeling.
FYI: There were 3001 when I posted this. LOL
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
The Huddled Masses.
Any problem-solver will tell you that big problems are made up of a number of smaller more manageable and completely solvable issues.
But the sheer quantity of things causing them to be outraged is what keeps them from getting off their butts to do anything about ANY of these issues. There is a new big problem, reported in their media, which causes them to be outraged almost every day—new threats—new scandals—new protests. . . Their news sources bombard them with new and exciting things to be outraged about to keep them from becoming FOCUSED on any one GOAL.
Let’s look at why being reactive has not moved America towards positive change for over 60 years; while also looking at some of the time-wasting ineffectual reactive responses of outraged, but well-meaning, Americans who simply lacked a clear vision of how to create change.
Almost all of America’s biggest OUTRAGE inducing problems are a result of a government representatives lacking either a conscience or the bravery to stand up to the bankers, agencies, corporations, and other groups who believe themselves to be out of the reach of the taxpayer’s wrath. Keep this in mind when you are asked to choose, nominate, or support a candidate.
Please get off your butts and create change while you still have the freedom to do so.
Most of the other 6.7 billion people on Earth are very concerned about you.
Throughout your entire life, you have been hearing about the futility of bucking the system. ‘You can’t fight City Hall.” are words we all have heard more than once. When we hear things again and again, we start to BELIEVE them. This causes you to accept this as a truism—a truth which is undeniable—so you, like your parents, teachers and role models, knuckle under and go with the flow, seeking what little happiness you can find in your short time here. IT IS BRAINWASHING designed to promote apathy. Conformists will tell you that everything I have ever stated here, or in some other writing, is an oversimplification of the problems which exist in America. In doing this, they further the cause of apathy which is designed to maintain the status quo and to make you BELIEVE that change is too difficult and not worth the grief.
Change is not only achievable but simple if you BELIEVE it is possible.
When the media shows you examples of political activists from all over the world being arrested and wrongfully sentenced to ridiculously long periods of incarceration which do not justly fit their crimes, they are reinforcing the idea that you are better off towing the line. Meanwhile, the same media will, at best, dedicate only a few seconds of coverage from places like Standing Rock which clearly shows huge numbers of peaceful protesters rising up against the broken system. THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IS NOT TO BE ENCOURAGED so they do not show it.
Again, this same media will spend a great deal of time with in-depth coverage of anything that can divide Americans. Fear mongering topics like race and religion are always top stories, followed closely by guns, abortion etc. NEVER DO THEY COVER WHAT AMERICANS NEED TO BE PAYING ATTENTION TO.
It is long overdue for Americans to decide on and BELIEVE in real lasting change.
If this is not your idea of a great nation, then there is something you can do about it, and it will not require a violent overthrow of your government.
Looking for commonality instead of difference is the key to the creation of a new political party which puts the needs of every American before all other concerns.
How to build a new political party quickly:
Fear is created where the seeds of ignorance are sown.
Let’s imagine you are just Joe or Jo Average American. You lead a busy life and may not follow politics or have any interest in becoming involved. You do your civic duty by voting and that is about it. This is completely okay. If you work and pay taxes, you are a model citizen. You watch the news and are worried by what you see happening elsewhere in your country. You probably wonder how long before it hits close to home. Creating this fear in you is the desired response of these news stories. You will willingly go along with any solution that the government claims will keep you and your family safe—including giving up some of your freedoms.
Statistics claim that 40% of Americans go to a house of worship every week, but the numbers vary wildly by state and by the type of religion. For the sake of this point, we are lumping you in with the devout.
So what can an average American do to keep their town safe from the coming anarchy?
The answer is to reinforce your community.
community noun Fellowship, being alike in some way.
Just about everyone living in your community is ALIKE in that you all share the same fears of violence and persecution. You must REACH OUT to everyone in your community that you have been conditioned to fear. Believe me, they have been conditioned to fear you too.
Only through communication can a safe community be created.
Not fearing your neighbors is a beginning.
Friendships imply a modicum of mutually assured security in a community. It has been proven in the Middle East, but the media does not show you stories such as these.
Polarization is difficult to cultivate where truth exists.
America is known as the “home of the brave” so be brave America, and go get to know the neighbors you are being told to fear. The relationships you forge may be your community’s best defense.
This is the new theme for the 2017 blog series.
I hope you like it.
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Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! is a non-fiction book chronicling one man’s somewhat humorous journey to understand women, relationships, life, society and civilization.
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