Have you heard the report of child snatching gangs purposefully targeting IKEAS due to just how distracted parents are by all the quality bargains on offer? You won’t believe it!
As part of the self-publishing learning-curve, I followed other self-publishers to see what they posted. Even if fans do get juicy for news of the rubber-handled claw-hammers mentioned vs. Social Media (part I), there’s plenty of time inbetween such gory opportunities.
Is there a ‘standard’ for what to post?
Asking followers to vote on book covers, so making them feel part of the work in the process, perhaps?
Are things a bit more personal:
- Went to the gym today; had great workout. I love feeling pumped, it makes…
- Ugh, grocery shopping; the queues – don’t they just…
Is there an expectation of some form of pithy J.K. Rowling-esque social commentary; just how famous does one have to be for Likes in the thousands just for calling people c***s all day like Ricky Gervais?
When unknown, is the key establishing the perfect combination from all of the above – a half Rowling/half Gervais/half biscuit kinda thing?
Some I came to through searching for things like ‘how to format’ and ‘where to publish’. Others were found in forums giving what seemed sound answers to the questions posted (which also happened to be the same questions as mine).
How long it took to see through the shiny veneer most masqueraded under varied; but that’s a story for another time, and as I’ve no current plans to write about how to spot what’s for real and what’s by shysters in the Self-publishing world, there’s no point making a promise I might not keep by saying it will soon be one.
(If I ever do, it will be found in this category here – follow this space, etc, etc)
The one relevant to here and now had a very nice profile picture and demeanour.
But when it came to social media posts everything was a bit bland, pedestrian.
Given the reasons for following, that really could’ve been nothing but a matter of my taste – if anything, possibly quite rude even asserting the opinion in the first place. What punctuated it, though: the posts rarely, if ever, received any response.
In of itself, not all that unusual for a struggling independent; for a great example take a look at my Facebook Page.
For even better ones, start following Pages professing to offer Self-publishing hints and tips; the complete and utter irony that posts claiming to show ‘how to maximise the potential of social media’ receive no social media activity themselves is apparently thoroughly lost on the Page owners.
But then, out of nowhere, the author posted a link to a story about a woman who when in an American IKEA realised there was a gang of child snatchers lurking all over the place just waiting to spot parents so dazzled and distracted by superior Swedish style and design, they’d be able to undetected whisk their darling and much loved offspring off to a lifetime of unmentionables!!!
Boom – activity on the post went through the roof!
The only thin smidgen of truth it could cling to was that its alleged author possibly walked around a store while paranoid numerous other casual shoppers were actually part of some evil child-snatching pact and then blogged the fact as fact.
There was no official confirmation of anything said or (real) examples from elsewhere the fantasy may have been inspired by to link anything child-snatching related to IKEA – not the slightest hint.
In fact, I found it quite a beautiful thing in its own twisted way; there was so much wrong with it anyone wanting to set the record straight wouldn’t know where to start, so inclining them to pass it by, inadvertently giving it credibility in the process.
Fortunately there are some good people in the world who create websites to debunk utter tosh in the noble name of protecting those naïve extremists among us who form the fundamental wing of the mass susceptible (and after all, even the best of us can get caught out every now and then).
Never Judge a Borg by Its Cover
Apparently, much like when dealing with the Borg (who were all constantly linked together in a combined consciousness much like people are by the net, though I doubt anyone reading this didn’t know that already), resistance is futile, for my posting of the above link in the comments did nothing to stem the flow of OMG!!!s and freak outs that continued in the comments like my own wasn’t even there.
Though credit where it’s due to those who commented on in ignorance: it’s amazing some of the imaginary things people imagine themselves doing if they ever found themselves in the middle of someone else’s imagination.
An exciting development:
The comment got a direct sub-comment from the author!!!
Unfortunately, not really a big deal or the first they’d given me, for that’s another rule for those sucking at the bottom of social media seduction: minus the crazy critical ones, always engage those who comment; develop a relationship, make them feel special.
Once you’ve made it big you can ignore people commenting at your leisure; in fact, when famous, you can pay someone else to ignore people online for you – but until then, those left feeling disgruntled and unloved by lack of mega-idol online response are the target demographic.
While the author’s response did contain an element of relief that child-snatching-IKEA-gangs aren’t a thing and a thank you for pointing it out, it was thought better—and with a winking smiley face too—to leave the post up as a reminder we can never be too careful when it comes to keeping an eye on our little ones.
Hmmm . . . a totally fabricated story based on a false premise increasing safety awareness in relation to children while there are very real threats, such as online predators, time would be better spent warning parents about instead, eh?
One thing clear as day (to anyone looking, at least): it was getting waaay more attention than anything else the author posted.
Call me a cynic if you dare
It’s pretty obvious what was going on, and that the instigator, rather than be motivated by any sense of civic duty or socialistic parental concern, knew damn well too, despite however homely any other aspect of their online presence might appear.
Facebook recently announced direct action to ‘demote’ Pages obtaining Likes, Comments and Shares via ‘engagement baiting’.
In this Bleeping Computer article an example is described something like a post asking followers to vote for a preference from six colours by assigning each to one of the six ‘reaction options’.
‘Love’ to vote Green, ‘Angry’ for Blue, etc.
Anyone reading from a user-profile only, rather than self-promoting-page perspective, couldn’t be blamed for thinking good, finally Facebook is doing something about all the stupid crap appearing in my feed.
But hang on just a mo, guv.
What the endgame of a page using ‘reaction options’ to find which colour hair is cutest, I don’t know; but in of itself, without knowing there’s an evil hacker one for sure, the only real annoyance to anyone else comes when Shares are included in the options.
At least it should, for that’s the only time any direct action is taken by a user that warrants it appearing in feeds it isn’t expected.
Everything else is consequence of Facebook’s algorithm being purposefully designed a certain way; a way that insists on placing things into feeds people haven’t asked to see, simply because someone they know has decided they like a post enough to actually give it one, or even go so monumentally far as to leave a comment.
Remember life before Facebook, the horror of it all? No clue what people you knew said to others in passing or how well or badly they responded or reacted to each and every little thing. Who were those people we used to call friends? Nothing but charlatan faces with whole other extended lives and activities going on without us, apparently . . .
Despite all these alleged efforts to stop Pages tricking people into bumping them up the algorithm, the author’s post—the one that appeared to cause genuine concern and stress in many of those commenting—didn’t ask for any of those things directly or otherwise, despite that being the only objective.
Asking for Likes, Comments and Shares goes with the social media turf. What it all might mean for independent artists and small business owners who directly ask for genuine posts to be shared isn’t so much ambiguous, but instead completely absent.
Perhaps it really isn’t that much of a big deal – after all, if having to ask there’s perhaps a big fat lesson there just waiting to be learned and more of the bottom feeding mentioned above going on.
But if that were the case, why does the BBC, a massive, publicly funded and well-established organisation, routinely end videos posted to Facebook with a request to Like, Comment, Share?
Regardless of how serious or harrowing the video in question.
The text accompanying the video reads:
‘The BBC has obtained shocking footage from the war-ravaged area of Eastern Ghouta in Syria where children are bearing the brunt of the brutal civil war.
*This report contains some upsetting images.’
They’re not alone in employing the tactic either; the page for 10 Downing Street uses the variation ‘Like/Follow/Share’.
While the BBC and whoever happens to be British Government needs them a damn site less than the likes of me, by embedding the request in a video, it’s unlikely any system used by Facebook to find Pages doing it would be able to detect a request presented like that.
The author, I can at least understand (to a degree).
When making the decision to put the time, money and energy into going it alone, at least some of it would’ve been based on promotional tools such as social media being available. All the advice out there points to it as ‘must use’.
When doing everything those claiming to be experts say, only to get zero to zilch results . . .
Whereas the BBC, an organisation supposedly serving the public, frequently using similar tactics as the author on a regular basis so as to maintain and expand its own social media presence?
One handy social-media-response-getting-tip is to pose a question in the post. To encourage things along, the author could’ve asked:
- how scary is this?
- will it put you off going in IKEA?
- how do you keep the kids close-by in busy shops?
Any answers would be irrelevant, just so long as some are given, so making others inclined to leave one too and so on. What is relevant, though; how divisive the subject in question.
It can make a world of activity-grabbing difference; especially to the sub-comments section.
With respects the author scenario, not many people are going to protest Ikean child snatching gangs a good thing, horribly maligned by the mainstream.
‘BBC sorry over gay conversion tweet’ is exactly how the BBC’s own story linked to here is headlined.
From the article:
‘BBC Radio Kent tweeted: “TV Doctor Dr Ranj has told breakfast gay conversion therapy is akin to psychological abuse; Should gay conversion therapy be banned?”’
The tweet was accompanied by a Twitter poll with choices yes or no. Surprise, surprise, there was backlash.
‘The BBC deleted the tweet, which it said breached its own guidelines, and apologised for the offence it caused.’
However, as the same article also says, it’s not the first time:
‘Last month, BBC Radio Kent conducted a poll which asked: “Is it ever acceptable for people to ‘Black up’ even if it’s for charity?”’
And while perhaps not quite as asinine, it’s far from the last time the BBC has manipulated social media for its own attention grabbing gain.
Though lacking similar asinine doesn’t mean it’s any less effective at getting us to do its insidious bidding; the righteous-online-warriors still come out in full force, regardless of whether it’s the Dark or Other side that they’re on.
Simply, the offence is misunderstood as innocent and homely – the way one might assume/expect the BBC to be.
Is Good Ol’ Aunty Beeb Really an Evil Social Media Empire in Disguise?