It’s no secret I despise the flawed technology everyone else seems fine with. Even while writing this blog I had to deal with a sketchy Internet connection which wasted the better part of an hour of my life; an hour I cannot get back as with all the hours spent online doing what we authors are told is necessary.
This Sunday I will be pulling the plug on facebook forever; not merely deactivating—not just taking a break—but deleting my account.
Why would an author or writer ever do this when “experts” tell us we should be on social media to create a following which may lead to people reading our blogs who then might decide to buy our books? Should, may, and might are words used by politicians and other con-men to dupe the unsuspecting, the uninformed, and the gullible. I am none of those any longer. I did however willingly join in the lie of social media five years ago, and stayed two years longer than I planned. Perhaps this was out of a false sense of loyalty to relative strangers on the Internet, or it’s possible I’m more of an egotist than I thought. Maybe solitude finally got to me? Nah. I’ll let you know if and when I figure it out.
Many of the people I’m leaving behind were kind and supportive and they have all been thanked for their encouragement along the way.
Some shared my warped sense of humour and we had some laughs. These people will be missed. Just like childhood friends, former co-workers, or old neighbours, they are genuine when they say you will be missed, but they will get busy with their lives and soon forget about you. It is the way of things.
I have been a harsh critic of social media and facebook a.k.a fakebook a.k.a. flakebook in particular, for its practices i.e. privacy, data collection, and mental conditioning algorithms. I realize now my preaching abstinence there was as effective as a priest giving a sermon on morality in a whorehouse.
It felt hypocritical and it’s time to cut the cord.
I hope my remaining facebook friends, who might stumble across this, find the peace and joy I once had and am attempting to get back in touch with again.
Thanks to the SEO work I do when publishing each blog, I will be forever searchable using tags like: easy author, easy writer, and a few others I haven’t thought of yet. When a female reader comes along, I cannot help but crush on them a little. If they are reading my book, I can feel my heart beating in my chest as they give me their impression of my work. Often, they update me as they read—a blow by blow if you will—every encouraging word softly stoking my psyche.
It’s not that I’m an egotist.
Praising a writer is like showing love to an abused animal; they quickly return that love any way they can, and it’s an honest loyal kind of love . . . until the leg humping begins.
As for the extra special ones who took the time to write a favourable review. . . well . . . they could have me with a snap of their fingers.
I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.
Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?
I can do other things.
The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.
What’s the worst that could happen?
It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.
Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.
Where is that art supply store?
I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.
So, you want to take a stand; be a voice of reason; change things. . .
Years ago, I too once thought change was an achievable goal if I reached out to humanity through social media. Now, I mostly share funny or inspirational memes on facebook as well as pretty photos on twitter in an effort to offer triage－a happy place－for the shell-shocked social media veterans limping back from the front lines carrying their injured souls; who arrive in desperate need of some R&R.
The primary objective of social media is to identify and break the spirited in a war of the mind.
So many of my author “friends” have “thrown their hat in the ring” on one or all of the most hotly contested issues facing America, or, to a lesser extent, the UK. When they put their rational viewpoints out there, they will inevitably encounter the opposition who do not give a rat’s ass about reason. It’s not why they lurk. This is their job, and one day we might just find out there is automation behind it all. This is purely speculation on my part, but what follows is not.
Pick your battles.
If you feel you must speak up on an issue, by all means do so, but don’t do it daily. Schedule one day each week to visit the political or societal hellhole of your choosing. Your voice will be heard. You will be happier. Your followers will be far less likely to mute you.
Do not attempt to wage war on multiple fronts.
Today, it would be so easy for me to weigh-in on all the areas I’m passionate about, but I rarely do. The war on women; government corruption; church influencing state; injustice in the legal system; how I was lied to about living at the dawning of the age of Aquarius. . . It’s all bullshit that has been with humanity for, what we told is, our entire recorded history by the patriarchy which has been running the show for 5000 years, give or take.
The world is not unravelling, YOU ARE, and social media kingpins are behind it.
Thank the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, who facebook co-founder Chris Hughes recently slammed in the New York Times:
“Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”
If that isn’t bad enough, he went on to mention:
“… how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders.”
But wait, he had more to say:
“Just last month, Facebook seemingly tried to bury news that it had stored tens of millions of user passwords in plain text format, which thousands of Facebook employees could see.”
“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech. There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people. Facebook engineers write algorithms that select which users’ comments or experiences end up displayed in the News Feeds of friends and family. These rules are proprietary and so complex that many Facebook employees themselves don’t understand them. In 2014, the rules favored curiosity-inducing “clickbait” headlines. In 2016, they enabled the spread of fringe political views and fake news, which made it easier for Russian actors to manipulate the American electorate. In January 2018, Mark announced that the algorithms would favor non-news content shared by friends and news from “trustworthy” sources, which his engineers interpreted — to the confusion of many — as a boost for anything in the category of “politics, crime, tragedy.”
An investigation by the Associated Press revealed the platform automatically generates videos and pages which elevate extremist groups.
And here is my personal favorite:
“Mark Zuckerberg cannot fix Facebook, but our government can.”
I have my doubts.
Use high-altitude photo reconnaissance to see the big picture.
In other words, take a step back to see the play. So . . . the real war waging is monopoly vs. government. As things currently sit, monopoly can decide what government they can “work with”. This is not good.
“Live to fight another day.” －a better way.
What if every intelligent, experienced, and knowledgeable person on social media just posted puppies, kittens, babies, rainbows, daffodils, and unicorns sprinkled with fairy dust instead of being incensed by, and debating with, morons? If your page(s) is always negative, create a new one where you can be you and post whatever brings you joy and peace. This will force you to balance your time spent on social media to offset the negativity.
This is how to beat them at their games.
Gather your real verified people; create an email group chat to move your agenda forward without being distracted by the lurkers. Write letters collectively as a group and send them to the appropriate level of government demanding action and a reply.
If you want to keep democracy, you must use the process.
Arguing about issues online only serves the monopolists.
How to write the ultimate GO F-CK YOURSELF email to a cowardly ex who denies you closure by going into hiding.
Yeah, I wrote an email like this, and I would do it again if ever I am stupid enough to fall for another selfish narcissistic sociopath who refuses to make a call to end things properly.
Why do this?
It is simple really, you need to get the rage out, and this is infinitely better than burning their stuff in the backyard. The neighbors look at you even more weirdly than normal when you do such things. More importantly, this allows you to process their evil deeds, and the pain you are feeling through carefully chosen words when a long relationship ends horribly. In other words, this is one method of speeding up the recovery process when you have had enough of their bullshit. IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU and your wellbeing. Don’t be polite; they weren’t, and they will not suddenly start appreciating you if you take the high road now. It is time to sink to their level to get through to them. THEY BROUGHT THIS ON THEMSELVES. At times like this, it is not narcissism—it is a survival mechanism.
Essentially, we are aiming to hook them, call them out, and then crush them like the cockroaches they revealed themselves to be.
To use this article as a template, ideally (and sadly) you would need to have experienced lies, deception, and betrayal which led to you ending a relationship. This is not about revenge. No, this goes deeper. This is about retribution which factors sin into its meaning.
The first line needs to grab their attention, and spark their curiosity so they will continue reading.
Don’t scare them off with a nasty first line; appeal to their humanity in case they have any. Aim to create guilt and remorse whether they are capable of feeling those or not. Go with something like:
Hey, remember me? The person you won’t talk to who. . .
You then add a reasonable number of important things you did for them—the more life-altering the better.
In the next section, you want to point out why you felt compelled to write to them.
You want to subtly shift from continuing to pile on the guilt to pointing out how their spinelessness forced you to take this action.
I really thought you would step up and talk to me at least one final time. But no, as with every decision you make, you chose poorly once again. You probably will never tell me the whole truth to help me with closure, and even if you did, I would have a hard time believing any of what you might say.
This mild slap in the face will show them how low your opinion of them has become.
Next, remind them how you had noticed their suspicious behavior for some time, and then shift to the possible conclusions you have reached as a result of their lack of communication.
You can get nasty here. It’s character assassination time. (Woohoo!) You could begin with questions:
Are you on drugs? Are you having a mid-life crisis of epic proportions? Did you fail to take your meds? Are you attempting to sleep your way into money and security rather than working for it? Were you dropped on your head as a baby? etc.
Personally, I prefer statements. You could begin with:
Now that I know the depths of your depravity and duplicity, I think the following are probable:
Your list can be “on the money” or you can take “creative liberties”. You get the idea. Have some fun with it, while making it clear what a loathsome piece of crap you now see them as. Also indicate how you will continue to believe all of these possible truths until such time as they explain their actions.
Add an image of how you now view them for a more dramatic effect.
You could (or perhaps should) go straight to a porn site for an impactful and distasteful image which exemplifies your view of them. Other possibilities might include images of various STDs from a medical book. I went with a less vulgar illustration myself, but it’s your call.
If they have made it this far, it is time to write your heart out.
Admit you weren’t perfect while driving the stakes in. Take a little responsibility while showing how minor your character flaws are when compared with theirs.
I always wanted what is best for you, and it was out of love and caring that. . .
Show how their behavior has left you pitying them. This, of course, presumes you truly know their history or pathology and were not lied to about everything.
It’s sad—so sad—you are incapable of true love and gratitude. I blame. . .
Don’t be afraid to make unfavorable comparisons with your previous exes or especially people you know they dislike.
My other exes had some class and most knew at least a little of what is appropriate decent behavior. You are a total hypocrite. You slander [Insert name here.] while behaving even worse.
Dive into decency, morality, scruples, ethics. . . whatever you can sink your teeth into which best fits their behavior.
A soft warm up to your closing statements is next.
You could use a bulleted list.
I am sad for me for being duped.
If there are children involved, you could add:
I am sad for [Child’s name.] because he/she will most likely be raised by the likes of you two.
I am sad for your new significant other if you manage to get your claws into their heart, or on the keys to their house and vehicles, or worst of all, access to their bank accounts, insurance policies, and will.
And yes, I am sad for you as well, because despite all my efforts to repair the damage done to you, your ability or willingness to retain anything new is abysmal. You will continue on YOUR CHOSEN PATH, unconsciously following your base programming, and this trail will not lead to happiness. On the upside, I have finally figured out my fatal flaw. No one can fix you. Only you can do that, once you trade in self-obsession for self-awareness.
It’s important you leave them to the end of the list so it ties in with the big finish.
Enough of the body blows, it’s time to close with a throat punch because punching the heartless in the chest is pointless.
Here’s an idea for you:
At the end of most of my relationships, I would usually say farewell or good luck in your future. It would be disingenuous of me to say either of these to you because I know Karma is going to tear you a new one over what you have done. YOU ARE SO F-CKED!
I will just say goodbye.
Did it work?
In my case it did. I got most of the poison out. She confirmed the magnitude of her deception and offered up a lame apology. Regardless, it was enough for me to shed any residual affection and desire . . . allowing me to quickly move on to healthier greener pastures.
I can’t wait to see the comments on this post. I expect the miscreants to be outraged, and every person who has dealt with betrayal to love it. We will see.
How to eliminate everything that sucks about facebook.
Choose your “friends” wisely.
If you think someone on facebook must be popular and interesting because they have 5000 friends, think again. Most likely they or their “people” are just too lazy to clean out the dead accounts on their friends list. Lazy might be an overly harsh choice of an adjective as I found out when I took on the monumental task of visiting more than 90% of my 3000 “friends” profiles to see what they were about. It took hours per day for weeks but what I found out and the actions I took would make flakebook entertaining for the first time in my four year battle with it. In all likelihood, these mostly writer types I accuse of being layabouts above, are smart enough not to care too much about social media and only show up for a short time each day to feed the insatiable beast.
Why make the effort to clean it out?
A few months back I was oh so close to deleting my fakebook account completely, but I stopped just short of doing this in favor of re-purposing MY site into an “entertainment channel” for myself and the lucky few “friends” who survived what I now refer to as:
The Cleansing or Friend Pocalypse 2019.
Why did I put MY in upper case letters? The answer is simple really; many of us forget that our facecook account is ours to do with as we please. Authors often feel an obligation to accept friend requests from just about anyone who sends one in the naive hope these people will become readers of our books. Worst of all, you probably think you will hurt someone’s feelings by unfriending them, when in truth, they probably don’t care and may never know.
I dumped just over 2650 “friends” in about three weeks and here is the data I collected:
At least 50% of those were abandoned accounts.
Approximately 50% of the abandoned accounts have been high-jacked.
Sadly, you will find out some people you once engaged in conversation with have passed away.
5% were deactivated accounts.
Not one person objected via DM to their termination.
Your followers are not related to your friends list.
Post engagement went up.
My news-feed is now full of posts which actually interest me.
Rant, whine, whinge, complain. . .
Authors in particular love to complain about their posts not being seen or interacted with, and how facelook limits the number of our friends who can see our posts; yet they never consider how this corporate giant is, or should be, motivated to send our posts to our dead “friends” accounts in order to save big on server usage. If there is no interaction on a post, server costs go down. The 7% claimed maximum post reach is quickly cut in half most of the time by your dead accounts, and it is conceivable that some days our posts get shared into the news feeds of nothing but these dead accounts. It’s way easier to blame facenook (I love to every chance I get.) than it is to clean out all the dead accounts YOU FRIENDED. Yes, your “friends” list is your responsibility; ergo, your post reach is a reflection of how well you manage your facetook account.
Because I no longer care about the publishing dream we are sold, I have turned “unfriending” into an art form.
Here is my criteria:
Mutual friends with my ex? GONE!
Mostly political posts? GONE!
Mostly religious posts? GONE!
Mostly kids and pets? GONE!
Mostly book promotion? GONE!
Unanswered birthday messages? GONE!
Infrequent posting? GONE!
Over the top patriotism? GONE!
Allowing people to post ads on their wall? GONE!
A whiff of racism? GONE!
Over the top sexism? GONE!
Posting in languages other than English? GONE!
Posting violence? GONE!
Posting animal cruelty even if you are an animal lover. GONE!
Unceasing negativity? GONE!
A lack of engagement: Likes, Comments, and Shares? GONE!
I wasn’t as merciless as the list above might make it seem, although I did relish terminating vocal Trumpeter supporters and old rich white guys whose view of the world is just too f-cked to bear. I must also confess how much I enjoyed unfriending real best-selling authors who I envied for catching a break but who turned out to be boring as shit. In fact, I visited over 90% of the profiles I dumped looking for reasons to keep them. If you made me laugh, made me think, posted something meaningful, or showed yourself to be a caring person with some depth, then you probably made the cut.
Where did all these fake or abandoned accounts come from?
In most cases, the author contracted a P.A. or book marketing services company to create and manage their profile and possibly pages, but when the term of the contract was up, these authors found out they did not own the account. From that point forward, the promoters continue to post there from other accounts they create, leaving you to scroll back months or years before you find a post from the author whose page it was. This wreaks of a scam by companies claiming they will get your book in front of hundreds or thousands of readers, when in fact most of us unfollow these accounts as soon as the first ad for sunglasses appears. If you are a budding author, create and manage your own accounts and consider what you may leave behind. Do not allow other people to post to your wall; let them tag you instead.
There are different levels of cleaning.
A Level 1 Cleaning is just scrolling your friends list and deleting the deactivated accounts. This hour or so will make room for new friends.
A Level 2 Cleaning is the dumping of all the people you unfollowed. Why keep them if you don’t like their posts? This will take a few hours.
A Level 3 Cleaning means going to profiles to see if they are real and active accounts managed by the author. For most of you, this will happen over time as this can represent days of work if you have thousands of friends. Keep notes on where you left off, and keep at it because these accounts are hurting your post reach.
Level 4 is a total reboot. I downsized to create a small but interesting group who entertain me. In the process, I scrapped three pages as well, due primarily to abysmal engagement, but also to eradicate all evidence of my former significant other. I visit these remaining friends profiles when the mood strikes and I’m usually pleasantly surprised with their posts. It’s like having 350 pen pals.
I will leave you with some facebooking 101 tips.
Be really careful of the groups you join.
Just sit back and watch what goes on in the group before actively participating. If you see gossip and drama, RUN AWAY!!!
Only some of these are author specific:
“Friend” readers—NOT AUTHORS OR WRITERS (at least not too many)—people who review, blog, promote, and talk books. i.e. members of book clubs.
Activity (posting) and engagement (commenting) is key for both you and anyone you “friend”; otherwise you will never see anyone interesting to check out as a possible new quality “friend”.
“Friend” ONLY people who seem real, who fill out the About Section of their profile, and ideally who show pics of themselves, friends, and family etc. Of course authors writing under a pen name may need an exemption from this rule, but you can get a sense of their legitimacy by the size of their following, their number of mutual friends, and how long they have been around.
NEVER TRUST ANYONE OR ANYTHING YOU SEE on f-ckbook, or anywhere else online for that matter. This is a world of pretenders who, except for a rare few, do not know the first thing about being truthful. Lies and deception rule their pathologies.
UPLOAD content daily to your Author Page. i.e. a good morning meme, and share it to your profile’s wall. This will increase your page reach.
Update your Status daily on your profile, ideally with something amusing or interesting which can be shared publicly. Status updates are seen more than posts you share to your wall.
INVITE people to Like your Author Page. Before long you will have a following who will read the tweets and blogs you send to your page. I made the mistake of creating followers of my public posts from my profile’s wall instead of creating an Author Page right from the start.
A 1755 English/Irish proverb which suits my purposes here.
I have a friend; a really cool friend; an honorable friend; a supportive friend; an aware friend; an empathic friend; a scary smart friend who writes on a level so impressive I asked for her hand in marriage after reading only a thousand or so of her words. It was in jest, I think, and years ago now, but as I recall, she didn’t exactly say no. . .
Since that time, she has purchased, read, and favorably reviewed my book; an act which showed her to be good to her word; a person of substance; a person of character rising out of a sea of pretenders who made similar promises without delivering the goods. Such is life as an author. You become accustomed to it while paying close attention to the solid people you meet in your journey.
Today she made some noise about my book on twitter so I thought a little surprise reciprocity might be in order.
Her name is Shelby Kent-Stewart
a.k.a. The Sultaness of Snark
(I just made that up.)
and I’m proud to call her my friend.
So when a friend you admire, or perhaps adore—I’m still working that out—who you are slightly intimidated by as a writer asks you to write with her, you get butterflies in your stomach reminiscent of your first school dance. Your palms get clammy, your mouth goes dry, your respiration becomes quick and shallow, and you struggle with words that seem to want to form sentences written by a chimp.
I gathered myself as we discussed the possibilities and we settled on a starting point. A simple blog post from two points of view to see if our styles, philosophies, attitudes, and perspectives could somehow mesh into something worth reading without destroying our friendship.
We did it.
In my heavily biased opinion, our first collaboration is Blog of the Year material, if that’s a thing, and we hope you enjoy reading it this weekend as much as we enjoyed producing it for you.