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.

Manning Up and Other Lofty Goals

Here is why I did not say these things but instead wrote them for you. I wrote this so that it could be READ. I believe we retain only 20% of what we hear; 50% of what we read and 80% of what we write. This is why I encourage students to apply themselves in school and develop their note-making skills. My intended target for this article should benefit even though he is having a tough time emotionally.

A teenager that I know was devastated by a girl that ended their seven month relationship. As usual, as it is with many men, he was blind-sided but he did confess that he FELT that there was something wrong. She seemed different for a week leading up to the breakup. He had relationships end before without this level of suffering. It was not the first time that he was involved in a sexual relationship. He believes that this traumatic life event requires answers to achieve closure. (His words.)

Question: So why did this one gut him?

Answer: She became his SIGNIFICANT other.

She HELPED him find an educational path that would lead to his dream career and ENCOURAGED him to pursue it. She TAUGHT him that hard work in school pays off, as she is an honor student with many options heading into university. She GAVE love to him; even if it was for a short time.

She made him grow and strive to be better.

Instead of grieving for your lost relationship, THANK HER for being an important part of your life and walk away with your head held high- cherishing the memories.

This is what a REAL MAN does and IT IS NOT EASY.

It is also a great way to make her question her decision.

You may be tempted later to be vindictive. You may wish to inflict as much pain on her as she created in you. These days, guys post sexy pictures of their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives on the internet. This is an immature response that says that you are not yet a man.

REAL MEN do not do this.

Guys, especially young ones, often do not understand what it is to be a REAL MAN. Some think that because they had SEX they are a man. Most think that because they have reached an AGE where they can quit school, leave home, drive, drink, vote, work and live independently that they are men. Others think that because they PROVIDE they are a man. Many believe that because they are ENGAGED OR MARRIED they are a man. Still others think that because they HAVE A CHILD with a woman that they are a man.

Being a REAL MAN is not these things.

Being a REAL MAN means that you LEARNED about yourself and life as you did these things.

After a few decades of ATTEMPTING to be one myself, I have this to share with you my young Padawan learner.

  • A real man does things that make him loved by many. He realizes HE IS LOVED by many people so the loss of one, no matter how significant, is not the end of his world.
  • A real man recognizes that nothing lasts forever. He is GRATEFUL for the women that chose to spend their time with him and the joy they helped him to experience.
  • A real man is AWARE that life is challenging and meeting those challenges head-on is what gives him his strength.
  • A real man FACES HIS FEARS. He does not hide from them even though he is afraid.
  • A real man develops an INNER STRENGTH that allows him continue his life alone, if need be. He is comfortable and content in his own skin and to be on his own. He does not need others to enjoy life.
  • A real man knows that EVERY DAY IS PRECIOUS and does not waste his days on a temporarily broken heart or the person that damaged it.
  • A real man SEEKS KNOWLEDGE and new experiences because they give us understanding. You are not born a wise man. Wisdom is what you collect in your life’s journey.
  • A real man LISTENS more than he talks. He takes in what others say; absorbs the meaning of their words and asks for clarification before deciding to voice his opinion.
  • A real man does not ESCAPE HIS REALITY through booze, drugs, gambling or gaming. A lifestyle that includes these is counterproductive to all of the above. Escape into music, books, art, sports, travel and films as they are far less damaging and supply opportunities to expand your awareness.
  • A real man knows that HIS WORD MEANS EVERYTHING. If he makes a commitment, he will move heaven and earth to make certain he honours his word. His word is his bond. A handshake is his contract.
  • A real man understands that HIS HAPPINESS IS UP TO HIM. No one can give him happiness or take it away. Happiness is something that comes from within. Happiness is something he chooses to make a part of his everyday life.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as THE AUTHOR’S MISGUIDED ATTEMPTS TO BE A REAL MAN.

Hug someone with a broken heart.

E. A.

 

 

Taboo Subjects: Religion

Politics, Sex and Religion!

An age of enlightenment will have to include these talking points.

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I have written more than my share on the topic of RELIGION.

It is not a favorite subject of mine.

It is discussed in my book as a component of good health that I would prefer to label: A PERSONAL BELIEF SYSTEM.

In Blog 6.2: The Fear Lessons, I expressed my displeasure with the moronic stupidity of American main-stream media and particularly, their complete and total lack of research resulting in a misrepresentation of Muslim beliefs.

I am not a Muslim- just a thorough researcher.

In Blog 6.3: The Fear Lessons. I connect the dots between FEAR MONGERING and RELIGIONS.

In Blog 8: A study in positivity. I make reference to souls and Christmas.

In Blog 10.1: I am salmon. Hear me gurgle? I quoted The Serenity Prayer- some of my favorite words of wisdom of all time. This blog delves into many religious concepts like destiny, Karma and reincarnation.

In Blog 10.2: I am salmon. Hear me gurgle? I make mention of the Dalai Lama- a person that I have tremendous respect for.

In Blog 12: “We are gonna need a bigger boat”. I again reference Karma.

In Blog 14: What really went down in The Garden of Eden? I give my comedic take on pre-history but felt the need to preface it- so as not to offend.

Now, this brings us to the final part of Blog 15.

If memory serves, I went to an Anglican church as a child. I was not happy about it. As a family we would get dressed up each Sunday and WALK to church in the hot sun having to wear a suit. My dress-shirt was usually soaked in sweat by the time we got there. I do not know if this was a religious thing or some weird Barker family thing but I concluded that this was dumb.

I liked old Reverend Harding but would rather be out playing with my friends that did not have to go to church. We had a meeting in his office where I challenged the factuality of the stories that I was being taught but the best that he could come back with was: “Sometimes we have to take things on faith.”

It was not a good enough response then and it is not a good enough response NOW!

Approximately 50% of my writing contains reference to religion. At first glance, the statistical numbers would seem to indicate that I am more SPIRITUAL than I let on.

I write about religion because I am concerned by how it is used to MANIPULATE POPULATIONS around the globe both in backward nations and scariest of all- in the most advanced nations of the world.

Escapism is a human trait it seems.

Alcohol abuse, drug use, sex and religion are all things that MAKE US FEEL BETTER FOR A WHILE- helping us to forget our troubles so that the world does not get the better of us. After a short break from REALITY, most humans can muster the strength to continue to STRIVE for something in a very tough world.

If you FEAR death, it is natural that you would want to SEEK ANSWERS to this great UNKNOWN.

  • All religions claim to have the answers but you must take a leap of FAITH.
  • Most require MONEY to prove that you are truly FAITHFUL.

If you BELIEVE you have an IMMORTAL SOUL that will one day reside in paradise, then the FEAR of dying weighs a little less heavily on your mind and you are COMFORTED.

  • Most religions claim that ONLY THEIR BELIEVERS will be allowed into paradise.
  • These religions will only help their fellow man IF THEY ARE OF THE SAME FAITH.

If you BELIEVE your deeds here on Earth will be JUDGED prior to being allowed entrance into paradise; you may try harder to avoid misdeeds and be a GOOD PERSON.

  • Being a GOOD PERSON has been spun by some religions to include MURDER and SUICIDE.

If you NEED FORGIVENESS, you can be ABSOLVED of your wickedness once a week so that you can live with your CONSCIENCE.

  • FOR A FEE you may go out into the world and screw over your fellow man for another six days- GUILT FREE!

If you NEED UNDERSTANDING, it is SOOTHING to BELIEVE that something greater than mankind is making bad stuff happen for a reason.

  • Humans crave RATIONALITY, LOGIC, ORDER and CONTROL, so when the irrational, illogical and chaotic events happen that are beyond our control we need CLOSURE.

I have researched many various religions and ALL have some GOOD MESSAGES for mankind.

I have leaned on MY PERSONAL BELIEF SYSTEM when life has become overwhelming and MY BELIEFS have allowed me to CONTINUE TO STRIVE.

I, like everyone else, do not have ANY ANSWERS to the big questions nor does ANY HUMAN.

Anyone that claims to, is full of shit!

WHAT I DO KNOW is that THE MAKER never intended for us to:

  • Use FEAR of HIM, HER or IT to MANIPULATE people.
  • Use FEAR of HIM, HER or IT to make a PROFIT.
  • Have a CHOSEN group of people that are somehow better that the rest.
  • Help only people of SIMILAR FAITHS.
  • KILL in HIS, HER OR ITS’ name.
  • PAY MONEY for absolution.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as HOW MANKIND IS ALMOST READY FOR A NEW AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT IF WE CAN SURVIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE IT.

This was no fun again.

I hope that I am done with politics and religion.

Sex on the other hand, I will continue to write about as long as I live.

Have a great week and talk openly about whatever suits you at dinner parties.

E. A.