Maybe there’s a reason we have to teach kids how to share.
“Nobody wants to be a shill for your brand, but they are happy to share information and content that helps them promote their own identity.”
Though Facebook is indeed one giant marketing demographic survey, if you’re going there to hock your wares, you have to do it with a bit of the inverse in mind.
You have to sell people something they can construct their own identities with.
Ego Legos, if you will.
The above is the same content, the same message, even the same photo — presented two dramatically different ways. Aside from the message on the left using the clunky phrasing, “social media platforms,” and outright asking for a share “PLEASE RT!!!”, there’s nothing about the presentation of the piece that helps the sharer know what’s in the message, nor how it can be an Ego Lego.
People aren’t going to read a whole missive before they judiciously choose to pass it along, most probably — nor are they going to repackage it themselves to show WHY they’re sharing it. That’s what the message on the left requires. When I saw it, my first thought was, “Oof. That needs a pull quote.” A few posts down-scroll, my hypothesis was tested by the message on the right, by about 3,500 to 1. (In scientific fairness, the difference in the number of fans between the two is significant, though I’d wager that this theory would hold up regardless.)
It’s social media, but quite often those interactions are self-ish. Know me, know my feed. And maybe managing your message socially isn’t entirely a science — but it is, at least a little, an art.
Every thing about you is for sale, and you wrote the ad yourself without even knowing. I don’t like Facebook. I don’t even “Like” it. With each successive update and wormhole it opens to the rest of the internet, it gets worse. Once just a clearinghouse for complaints and vagueries dressed up as status, now it’s a mishmash of links to articles people read elsewhere and declarations of who won how many trolls playing UnicornVille or whatever.
(Yes. I know you can sort and customize — if you remember how they’re letting you do it this week.)
It’s a big ol’ Monet. And money. A mess and a dollar grab, in that order.
But as bananas as it is, its usefulness (collecting people you know in one place and logging a way to reach them, hello, a PHONEbook) makes it evilly necessary. If you leave it there, don’t use your Facebook as a Log-in ANYWHERE, and don’t share anything that you wouldn’t mail to Mr. Zuckerberg personally, fine.
But wait, there’s more.
So, Graph Search. One big public step showing that all along, under the guise of a cozy contact page for family and friends, they’ve been pinging that innate human desire to be known — and collecting all of those nuggets to sell. You want someone you have a crush on to know that you like a certain band — if he didn’t note that fascinating facet of your personality, Zuck and Co. sure did. Now under the auspices of making your information searchable by your FB Friends, they stand to collect even more data, now directly honed in on the places you frequent and live.
It’s really up to you not to put out the Welcome mat, as hard as they make that. On my profile, because I had the temerity not to tell where I live, it petulantly asks “DO YOU LIVE IN VICENZA? enticing me to click and confirm what its algorithmic robots suspect. No. Go away salesman. I’m not home.
You gave it away, building a dossier of yourself, your interests, your beliefs — mayhaps that “Horses Don’t Exist” or “Horses Exist and Are Fruit” (bananas?) — that he can turn around and sell. On your “Likes” page the request for you to “share your interests” isn’t any different than those registration cards that used to come with electronics. It’s not so people can know you — it’s so companies can. Keeping that in mind with each new wave of data-mining-dressed-as-pals can foil this. He can’t have what you don’t offer.
But hey, congrats to him for making a marketing survey so darn interactive and fun.
Winners Wear Yellow.
YES and. I maintain I was born at the precisely right moment in technology. I entered 1st grade the same year the library got its new Apple IIe. “Computer time” was spent waiting for the light by the disk drive to go off. “Don’t touch it while the light is on!!!”
I was the first class in high school to take Keyboarding instead of Typing. To this day it remains the only marketable, vocational skill I pulled out of 20 years of formal education.
I got my first email address when I got to college.
Facebook and internet sharing didn’t become an option until I was out of college, living as an adult — and it didn’t become a priority until I worked in professional internet sharing, and was well aware of the consequence.
There are photos from college and other early adult milestones but they are safely emblazoned on, as Mel says, the glossy paper of prudence.
And in a storage shed, in a box marked: MEMORIES/KEEPSAKES/PUPPY/GARAGE.
Right where they should be.
SEE?! This is why. I say I’m getting hitched and instantly Facebook gives me diet ads?
The entire Wedding Industrial Complex can eat my cookies.
No wait, they can’t either because I’M eating them.
A heroic effort to calm my righteous indignation (also the name of my fragrance, should I ever launch one): “Yeah, when I said I was single, I got dating ads.”
Yes, but you see kids, that’s logical. Single/How not to be.
This pairing is insidious. Engaged/Must lose weight. That thread there, is just part of the thousands of ways the wedding industry is anti-woman, and also pretty insane.
Nope! This bride is cheerfully not spending one red cent to support this nonsense. I will wear clothes and there will be a fun party, but I’m going to see if I can have a wedding with no WEDDING. Nothing, no invitations, flowers, cake, that is marketed with white wedding bells and little birdies and interlocking champagne flutes, and certainly nothing selling competition and gender hate along with it.
I cannot with this ad.
Many years ago, a very wise lady posted the following on Facebook:
“How come a woman can update her status to say she’s engaged and she gets a million replies, but if she said she’d just gotten a graduate degree, there’d be crickets?”
I sent her an email immediately, Subject: OMG. YOU’RE ENGAGED? Reply: Of course not. But did you send an email saying, “OMG YOU GRADUATED?”
She made a fine, fine point.
Yesterday I did that thing, I updated the Fantastical Book of Faces to earn the little pink heart status. I’ve never done it before, as I’ve historically been wildly opposed, and I had to get special permission from Mr. Zuckerberg to do it.
But I did. And right after, I had a panic attack.
For no other reason in that it’s so not me. May the powers of LOLcats strike me down if I’m lying, but I don’t internet to draw attention to myself. I may do it to draw your attention to a cool thing or offer a thought to the project, but if you can’t stand the squee, get out of the kitchen? I just think I had enough attention as a kid, it makes me all weird to get it now. At least attention that comes from seeking behavior.
But, I updated. I updated because it wasn’t about me. It was about…releasing happy news expediently. About not being so, “Seriously, no. No big deals, no surprises, no fuss,” that horrible instinct I have that ruins other people’s fun.
But that’s it. There won’t be dresses posted or menus discussed or flowers debated here. There’s no need. As much as I love the internet for encouraging creativity, it also encourages a metric dump truck of special snowflakery. “I am the first person to ever eat oatmeal, get married, have a kid READ MY JOURNEY.”
I am absolutely looking forward to what will be a wonderful day with family and friends. But the details, the details that we as women are taught to obsess about and worship because this will be YOUR ONE (ahem) SPECIAL DAY, need not be blogged. I mean I picked out a dress online in 15 minutes. I post boring stuff sometimes, but I’ve had microwave hashbrowns with more of a narrative arc than that.
And truly, the only important detail of the whole affair?
No Sister Sledge.
Okaaay, today, today I do not hate Facebook. I mean I will always affectionately know it as the armpit of social media, but AWWWWW!!! After a family forensical drama played out over comments yesterday…*
The Dad and the Bro are on an Iditarod dog sled training adventure and I woke up (way, way) before dawn and got to see it. All kinds of win. (Why is there no “awwwwww!!!!” button? I want one of those way before a “Dislike” button.)
UPDATE: I was going to mention how righteous it was that the musher was a woman, which it is — and then an update from Dad: they got back from the ride and were making conversation, “Isn’t there a musher from Bend who’s visually impaired?” “You just took a sled dog ride with her.” AWESOME.
*So you know, and so your children may someday know, OH MY GOD. If I, the distaff heir to the manor, had posted a picture of a snowy pass road clearly taken from behind the wheel while the car was in motion, Dad would have not been the first one to “Like” it. He would have maybe mobilized a Highway Patrol helicopter. And not only did he know, he was there. Ohhh being the Canary Child is fun and games people, and excellent fodder for sweet, sweet martyrdom.
GPOYW: The “in which I throw Facebook a bone” Edition.
I hate Facebook. I’ve said as much in 17 different ways. And yet, sigh. The daily happenings are perhaps deserving of this sentiment, but the actual platform, the long-term utility of it, if used correctly? Fine. I will concede.
I am Facebook friends with everyone pictured above. That would be: the Bro (duh) but also, the girl who lived across the pasture from me when we lived in England in 1986 (who I found through my mother’s Facebook page) and a the kid who was camp counselors with me in 1995 and who took me to his school’s Homecoming.
Are these people I would have been able to keep in touch with in a regular world? Probably not.
And does it entirely eclipse the ancient days of perennially unchanging Christmas card lists, mimeographed holiday newsletters, and “oh my gawd what have you been up tos?” every fifth year at reunions?
Yeah, it does. Sigh. “Like.”
“Are you an internet snob?”
Asked of me yesterday, after I delivered an impassioned soliloquy on why Twitter is far superior to Facebook.
YES. My kingdom for my LOLcats, yes.
Because wanna know why? If you use it correctly, it gives you wonderful things like this new vYou thing where you can ask/answer questions via video to people like Chuck Klosterman. I just die. C.K. is on video loop in my computer like a perfect author aquarium.
Anyhooah, because the internet is also a land-grab, I got me one-a them vYou accounts too. It goes nicely with my other 22 social media acquisitions.
I might make a video too, if I ever decide to brush my hair today…
(OMG watch his videos. His house. He has an Eames over his shoulder. This man is perfection.)