Tag Archives: Facebook

Using Facebook Responsibly

An Update of Sorts: I recently decided to make an ebook about Facebook Sucking. My reasoning was that I had a handful of blog posts about it and have always wanted to make an ebook but never knew where to begin. This seems like a good opportunity to 1. bitch about Facebook in order to save the fabric of society 2. put my bitchings into a collection and 3. actually publish that on Amazon or something for no one to actually read. So stay tuned for that.

As I mentioned here I have a cyclical nature with Facebook. I go through periods where I get on the site, actually enjoy myself (somewhat), but eventually I get depressive and go into hiding. This usually involves me deleting my page and losing everything such as pictures, friends, posts, etc. When the cycle restarts I need to make a new page, find my buddies (while inevitably losing some in the process), and attempt to be social again. Luckily this last iteration I wised up and only deactivated my page so I still have my friends, pictures, posts, etc. I’m learning that this is a futile exercise and that Facebook has a firm grip over me. That and I have my blog pages on there.

What happened this time was, well, time. As time passes you naturally meet and befriend new people; in my case I became better acquainted with my coworkers. I work a seasonal sort of job (shipping packages) and Christmas season, being our peak season, allows for plenty of overtime. While that time of the year is hell due to the weather and the amount of work we have to contend with, the terrible workplace conditions really help to build a sort of camaraderie between yourself and your coworkers. You really get to know them and appreciate them as you all suffer through the shittiest months of the year. I mostly reactivated my Facebook page to find these people and become “Facebook friends” with them as pointless as that really is. They’re cool people and I enjoy working with them and it’s nice to “know” them outside of work, even if Facebook isn’t exactly doing that.

Going without Facebook has actually benefited my mood significantly. This shouldn’t be a surprise because I bitched about the negative aspects of Facebook already, but it’s always nice to see you’re correct when you are. I swear getting off Facebook and not drinking has done my mood wonders and I’m almost not a total depressive, anxiety-ridden creature of fear that I thought I naturally was. Anyways, getting back on Facebook has given me quite a bit of anxiety because you need to learn how to use the damn thing properly. By properly I mean not getting sucked into the bullshit and keeping your mood in tact.

Facebook holds some danger for the same reasons I bitched about: if you get carried away and let it dominate your life your mood can and will go to shit. Browsing Facebook bored at 2 a.m. just because you have nothing else to do and seeing Happy People, political posts, fake news shit, and the many ways the world is collapsing around you makes you feel awful. Awful for yourself, what your life consists of, your inability to change or help the world, and, well fuck, now you also won’t be able to sleep because of it.

Making this even more dangerous is the fact that this Facebook disease slowly creeps up on you. It really does remind me of alcohol in a way. You drink here and there to relax but over a few years you’re now drinking 4 or 5 days a week and feel like shit for the remaining days. You’re not exactly sure how and why things ended up this way, but here you are. You might start using Facebook here and there but after a few months you’re scrolling at 2 a.m. drenched in self-loathing and unable to sleep. That’s when you got a problem.

So in an effort to keep my mood from being as shitty as a sewage treatment plant I’ve determined that I need to use Facebook properly this time. This being the Everything Sucks blog how is that shitty? Because why the fuck would you ever expect to have to learn to use a website in an appropriate way? It’s not a fucking drug. It’s stupid when you think Facebook works that way somehow. Just as I’m learning to drink properly and not use it as a crutch to get through life I need to use Facebook as a tool and not as a way to fulfill my social needs.

About six months into Facebook Iteration Number 4 or 5 I’m still happy and going strong. Here’s some things I’ve learned so far:

Limit Your Time There

The easy thing to do is to find yourself bored and then mindlessly open the Facebook app to piss away time. The only problem with this is that you never actually do anything useful while you piss the time away. It’s also a repeatable problem: you’ll just finish spending 15 minutes on Facebook and find yourself opening the app again. This is a problem with social media and the internet in general but Facebook is, as always, a prime offender.

So set a mental timer for yourself — 10 or 15 minutes is sufficient. Scroll around for that long, realize that nothing is actually enjoyable to look at, and get off the app. Don’t immediately get back on either. If you didn’t see shit the first time, why would you see anything worthwhile a half-hour later?

Log Yourself Out

As a related tactic with “limiting your time” as described above you can also log yourself out when you’re done browsing. You might not think that’s going to help a whole lot but people are lazy as fuck. It only takes a few seconds to type your email and password but this is plenty of time where you might just say “fuck it” and find something else to do on your phone. Also by logging yourself out you will stop yourself from being spammed with notifications that are meant to hook you back towards the app/website. It’s an easy thing to do — logging yourself out — but it is probably the most useful thing you can do to limit your exposure to Facebook.

Stop Scrolling When You Get Upset

Sometimes you’ll hop on for a quick five minute stroll through Facebook and instantly see some pressing and dramatic shitpost about politics or religion or whatever that upsets you. A side rule is to never read the fucking comments because it’s just trash there. People are stupid. But I will get off Facebook if I see something that upsets me. If there’s a news story about how much CO2 we have in the atmosphere where scientists are saying that climate change will be catastrophic in the next few decades I naturally feel upset, crummy, and useless over it. When I see posts like that I’ll just get off because there isn’t any reason to get worked up about something that you, as a single person, can’t change. There are things you can do to combat climate change but reading a story on Facebook and arguing with morons isn’t one of them. In fact your heavy, angry breathing will probably put more CO2 and further contribute to the problem.

This is how it is with a ton of topics too. Trump? Yeah, he’s a fuckwad just slowly destorying the US, but there isn’t any point in getting hopped-up angry about it on Facebook. As much as I despise Trump I don’t want to hear about him or anything else going wrong in the world. You might think I’m hiding in my safe space but fuck it: my mental health is the most important thing to me.

I ranted a bit but if you come across some stuff that makes you feel shitty, get the fuck off ASAP.

Don’t Try to “Fix” Anything

The fact is that people like to correct others. This isn’t a bad thing because if someone has some bullshit idea of truth in their head it’s doing them (and everyone else) a favor to convince them otherwise. This naturally extends to social media but this is where the problem lies: you can’t actually convince anyone of anything on Facebook. Don’t even try. You might have noble intentions but your hot opinion on Facebook will not convince anyone of anything. Debbie has been spewing anti-vaxx bullshit for the past three years, expert opinions aren’t convincing her, so why do you think you’re brutal Facebook comment on her shared post will do anything? It won’t and will only upset both of you so there’s no point in even trying really.

Don’t Farm For Likes

I used to post cool shit (stuff that I thought was cool that others might like) and would get pissed when no one would actually like it. I like everyone else’s shit and no one likes mine!? I post some really cool stuff and no one cares!! That sound really immature to think that way. I used to also share those “pressing stories” from above in an attempt to get people to care but that also seemed futile. The fact of the matter is people probably don’t care what you post and you shouldn’t be trying to get approval from others. Currently I post stuff that I find interesting and leave it at that. If no one likes it who gives a fuck. I’m just trying to not fall into that mindset where the amount of likes my stuff gets determines my mood for the day. It’s just fake internet points anyways.

Don’t Use Facebook For Social Interactions

I think I’m a normal human being in that I need to periodically interact with other human beings to be happy. I’m pretty shy and reserved but I still have some need to interact with others. It’s kinda a pain in the ass really because social interaction is hard and scary. During high school and college this interaction is automatically provided for you and you almost forget that it’s somewhat required. You get used to having people around as a kid/young adult and when you don’t you start to feel isolated and alone. This is where Facebook comes in.

Facebook gives you an easy and convenient form of social interaction but there’s only one problem with that: it’s not real social interaction. It’s easy to assume that interacting on Facebook is the same as interacting IRL because no one has any reason to believe otherwise. That is until you try it that is. Facebook is a poor substitute for real interaction because, well, I don’t actually know why. I just know, for me at least, that Facebook isn’t the same as talking to real people at work or at the store or whatever. Like saying “hello” to a stranger in their yard is immensely more fulfilling than liking a friend’s photo on Facebook.

Especially as an introvert, you can slowly get sucked into replacing real social interaction with Facebook’s faux interactions. It’s just easy to do in the comfort of your home. Instead of trying to talk to coworkers or strangers that you don’t really know well you just hop on Facebook and “talk” to people on there. “Talking” meaning liking and commenting on random shit that no one actually cares about. Sure, you commented on a friend’s photo but that isn’t really “interacting” with them. Real social interaction is hard and scary whereas Facebook is easy and convenient. But it isn’t satisfying social interaction even though it seems like it.

Facebook is like an addictive drug that you have to fortify yourself against. It reminds me of trying to drink just a few beers when I’ve been a drunkard for the past two years. It’s like trying to balance one-footed on a ball where any wrong move will knock your ass down. Facebook itself isn’t really harmful, but the ways that you use it can degrade the quality of your life and you need to make sure you don’t get “sucked in” to all the bullshit that Facebook promotes. Personally, I’ve found it helps to limit your time on the site, log out when you’re not using it, abandon ship when something makes you upset, and to not hunt around for approval from others in the form of likes. The biggest issue though is not allowing Facebook to become a substitute for genuine social interaction because it isn’t: it’s just some shitty thing that looks like social interaction. Facebook is a tool you can use to interact with people but you still need to do the actual work of interacting with people IRL. Facebook still fucking sucks by the way.

Fake Facebook Profiles Suck

I hopped on Facebook a few days ago and was greeted by a friend request. This actually kinda surprised me because I’m kinda a loser and no one actually requests me. Either that or people are more scared of social interaction than I am so I have to request them, but I’m doubtful of that. Anyways, I click the fucking icon to see this person:

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before on here, but I live in Illinois. You might be shitty at geography but Maine is nowhere near Illinois. According to Google maps it’s about 1,100 miles from where I live. This is kinda strange but not unheard of; perhaps an old high school friend of mine moved to Maine? The only problem with this is I don’t know of anyone by this name and her face doesn’t look familiar at all. The picture itself almost seems too perfect in a way. More on that later…

It doesn’t take much longer to realize what’s up. All I did was scroll a bit further down past the non-existent friend list to see this post:

NUDES!11! XD

Apparently this person who is, I suspect, “newer” to Facebook would like to post a link to NUDE VIDEOS!!! for her first post. No friends, requesting a dude who lives 1,100 miles away, and a link to nudes. Sounds a bit fishy huh? It’s because it is! This person is actually a “person” because they’re not actually real. I’m sure the girl in the profile picture is real but she isn’t this person named Alicia from Maine requesting me as a friend. She surely exists but the “person” who this profile represents is just that, a “person.” Fuck, they might even be a bot who requests random people based on some algorithm. I don’t know how bots and shit work really, but at the very least I’m aware this profile isn’t a “real” profile: it’s not an actual person.

I suppose this isn’t a problem as hitting the delete button is easy enough, but I think what bothers me most about these fake profiles is how obviously fake they are. It only takes a passing glimpse of the page to realize that it’s fake. I mentioned it earlier but take a look at their profile pic: it’s too perfect! Scroll through your actual friend list and notice how people usually have some shitty selfies for their profile picture. Bonus points if these selfies are of a very over-exposed, shitty, Snapchat filter that makes their eyes bigger and mouth poochier. Extra bonus points if they have that fucking dog face and ears. These are what real people use for their profile and the flaws and stereotypicalness of them makes them real.

This person looks like their pic came from a stock image site under “pretty brunette girl” or something like that. It looks like a professional photo. While there are real people with photos like that usually they aren’t the first picture someone uses. The entire profile is sparse making it seem like she is new to Facebook if she was a real person. New profile, professional profile pic. Hmm.

The type of likes she has listed are also pretty fishy. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency in any of it and I’m sure if you looked into things you’d find exactly that. Like I don’t know exactly where these football teams are but there doesn’t look like there’s any pattern at all going on. She doesn’t seem to like her supposed hometown teams or her current town teams and it seems like a robot just went and liked random ass pages to make things seem legit. I think it was from Red Dragon or some shit where the dude realized the killings looked too random to actually be random and that it was “fake randomness” or something like that. It’s the exact same situation here. The likes are fake-random.

Stupidest of all are the people who accept this person as a friend. Usually these fake profiles with pretty females promising “free nudes” have tons of scuzzy looking guys as their friends. While at first you might believe this adds some legitimacy to the page (as they have actual friends) the type of person their friends are is a dead give away. These guys are usually stupid or silly looking and look like the gullible, lonely, or perverted people that would accept a random, unknown female with a “free nudes here!” without asking any questions. They’re the kinda dudes who at work say slightly dirty and wrong things to attractive women that while aren’t blatantly harrasive are still pretty suggestive. They’re the type of guys that if a girl looks and smiles at them then she must “totally want them” or something like that. Seeing a collection of these guys on pages like this makes me what to laugh or frown, I usually don’t know what to do. Maybe just smile, put my eyebrows up, and shake my head.

Sadly her page doesn’t have any of these scuzzy looking dudes so sorry that I can’t provide examples.

No fwiends. 😦

This isn’t a big problem by any means and Facebook seems to be doing a good job at filtering these fake people out somehow. A year ago I would get these requests almost weekly. I just check my friend list and she’s gone already: it took less than a week for this profile to disappear. Facebook is on their game recently.

I think what is shitty about this is how obvious it is that this person isn’t real. That’s okay (I guess) until you see a mountain of gullible, horny, loser-looking dudes on their friend list. These guys either don’t care that the page is fake or actually think this is some attractive girl showing nudes and wanting to meet up or something. It’s just a fucking joke. These people have no fucking clue.

Facebook Sucks: “reverse-schadenfreude”

Schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others.

I’m going to make another word to describe a certain phenomenon on Facebook: reverse-schadenfreude.

Reverse-schadenfreude: self-loathing obtained from the success of others.

A bit about me first: I’m a white male in my 30s who lives in Rockford, Illinois. I have a single part-time job that nets me about $20,000 in a year. I’ve been there for 12 years. Everytime I try to work a second job and do the full-time job thing, I end up quitting. I sleep really late and my BMI is 28.6 meaning I’m officially overweight. I like to play video games and I write two shitty blogs. I have a family and some kids but that doesn’t redeem my view of myself: I’m by most measurements a loser.

You might be a loser too.

Think about your Facebook friends. I bet some aren’t as big of a loser as you are. And I bet some are downright successful. That’s my experience at least, and seeing as I’m as average as can be I assume everyone has Facebook friends that are successful. I have a few friends who are doctors. We went to high school together so it’s not like they’ve had a different life situation than I’ve had. They just went to school and are now doctors. I went to school and got an associate degree and work a job that doesn’t require a degree. Wow. I have some friends who live in warm climates. They somehow made enough money and had enough motivation to move where you’re not in danger of dying if the furnace goes out. Hell, I’m too insecure to feel comfortable shopping by myself. Some friends run faster than I do and some seem much more happy on the surface. They’re always smiling and posting pictures on Facebook! Some have bands and play music for real and some are paid photographers with their own businesses. Some couples I know actually get to go out on the weekends and enjoy themselves instead of being stuck at home with kids nonstop. So, naturally, I think of me sitting here at a dirty table typing on some shitty low-end laptop a blog post that about 5 people (maybe) will read I can’t help to think what did I do wrong? Did I really piss away 30 years of life and do nothing?

What’s stupid is this also works in reverse: by seeing other people with shitty lives you feel better about yourself. This is called schadenfreude and is only a cheap sort of goodness. You might feel better seeing that Cindy from High School is living in poverty because you sure aren’t and, wow, she must’ve really fucked up her life somehow! Or you see people dating total douchebags and realize (and laugh about) how stupid they must be. At least I’m happily married! Like I said, you feel better about yourself but it’s at someone else’s expense. It also takes a total narcissist to not be able to pivot this into how others see you, and then you end up thinking like the paragraph up above and loathing for your own life. Even if you do feel better and other people’s misfortunes, it probably isn’t healthy at all.

If you’re smart you’re probably seeing where I’m going with all of that and how we shouldn’t ever measure our worth based on others. I just think this is how people just are though. You might think you can hop on Facebook and not compare yourself to others but we’re social creatures that have a social hierarchy and I tend to think it’s instinctual to compare yourself to others. If you hop on Facebook and see others doing shitty, you’ll feel better about yourself. If you hop on Facebook and see others doing better than you, you’ll feel shitty. Since everyone is basically average, this will most likely cause you to be rather conflicted and moody because you don’t appear to be a clear winner or loser. Do you suck at life or are you awesome? Where are you on this social spectrum of failures and winners?

I think Facebook forces you into this mode of thinking and it’s bad from the start. You can’t see other people and not compare yourself to them. It’s just impossible or at the very least really hard to do. By not partaking in Facebook you skip over this problem all together. By not seeing people living their everyday lives and comparing yourself to them you save yourself the struggle of knowing if you’re better or worse than everyone else. If this information is gone, surprisingly, you just live your own life and do what you want to do. You stop trying to have a bigger social penis than everyone else and just live life.

I really think this is the worst aspect of Facebook by far. Sure you get an overdose of news and sure you spend time browsing and doing nothing, but the real harm comes from measuring yourself against everyone else. Your happiness is your own and no one else has any say in it. By comparing yourself to others they magically become part of how you measure your self-worth and usually ends up tearing it down: happiness, self-confidence, motivation, everything. You alone know who you are and what you like to do in life, so do it. Some jackass fucker on Facebook that you know from work has no bearing on this despite how “successful” you think he is. Facebook Sucks.

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Disregarding the fact that this isn’t the real Bill Murray apparently (I researched it because I don’t want to spread bullshit), it’s a pretty accurate statement.

Facebook Sucks: Overexposure

We live in shitty times. If it hasn’t been obvious, I despise Donald Trump and the way the country is heading. Environmental rules are being ripped apart, multibillion dollar businesses somehow are getting tax cuts while everyone else is given pocket-change tax breaks, we seem to be on the verge of a nuclear war every few weeks, and you can’t go a month without hearing that another school has been shot up and that the NRA lobbied as hard as can be to stop anything from being done about it. Russian’s are running rampant on social media while no one cares and our international imagine is faltering. It almost feels that America is falling apart.

Some people have a problem with watching too much news and news programs don’t do shit to “fix” the problem because if the world is shit and they hype things up they get better ratings and more money from advertisements. It’s a shitty system where the news is rewarded by sensationalizing everything and making everything breaking news. What’s actually nice about the news is that it’s linear though; they can only talk about a single news story at one time. And like you might be aware, they usually drag it out for hours and hours by having “experts” give their opinions. The world is shit, but you might only be aware of one single aspect of it that is shit. When Florida was getting shot up people forgot about whatever new Trump scandal was happening. It’s linear and you get one shitty aspect of the world at one time.

How about Facebook or other social media? You already know how it is. Depending on what you like and follow you might see a myriad of bullshit as you mindlessly scroll down the page. Kids are getting shot, the NRA throws money to not fix the problem, lawmakers don’t care, and teachers will have guns. Or, conversely, illegal immigrants get better treatment than veterans, the media is shitting all over Trump unfairly, and the democrats are pushing the Russia deal to shit on Trump. Also liberals stopped the pledge of allegiance because of tears. It doesn’t matter what you believe because you’re still going to be convinced that the world is going to hell. Everyone knows the world is going to shit.

I can’t get on Facebook and not feel shitty simply because I become aware of not a few bad things, but all of them. Whereas TV news focuses on single stories forever, when you scroll Facebook you see about ten or twenty problems with the world. This also happens every time you check the damn thing. You don’t even have to read the stories because the headlines are shitty enough. Even if you click the link and read the story there are still more clickbait news stories at the bottom of the page to tempt you!

Coupled with the feeling that the world is going instantly to hell is the feeling of helplessness that is involved with seeing the news. Everyone wants to help solve the problems facing America or the world, but what can the single person on Facebook do? Nothing. Say it again. Nothing. You can’t do a damn thing. Most people try sharing links or joining groups and discussing complaining about the issues but you’re either insulting those with opposing views or circle-jerking your worldview with others that share the same outlook. Think about it: has a person sharing anything on Facebook really changed your opinion? Has someone sharing a gun control post really changed the mind of a hardcore second amendment bastard? Has the opposite ever happened? Not that I’m aware of and it seems near impossible. Yet we keep sharing thinking that we’re doing something to fix the world. Because doing something is better than nothing, RIGHT?

Facebook gives you the idea that the world is terrible and that you can’t do anything to change it. And even if you are trying to change it no one is listening to you. You feel like shit, but listen. Shut your computer, phone, or whatever else you dose up on drama with and go outside. Look around. I see trees, houses, dead but soon to be alive grass and the occasional squirrel. Sometimes a loud jackass on a motorcycle drives down the road but other than that the world is rather quiet and peaceful. I don’t see kids shooting each other with guns and I don’t see animals going extinct. The shittiest thing I see is that Mountain Dew bottle someone tossed by our mailbox. The world is shit, but it’s shit in a way that doesn’t personally affect you much. Outside and the world doesn’t seem too bad really.

I’m not saying to ignore the problems because the world does have some serious problems. I’m just saying not to let them consume you and sacrifice the quality of your life. Climate change is a problem but shitposting on Facebook isn’t going to help it. Stop driving your car as much or ride your bike but don’t worry about it in an unhealthy way. How about guns? You really can’t do shit about that so don’t even try. Just go outside and do whatever the fuck you like to do. Go run, or bike ride, or whatever. Facebook Sucks because it magnifies the problems in the world in a forum that makes change and discussion nearly impossible. You feel shitty and helpless. This doesn’t help anyone or anything. Taking a break from Facebook might make you feel happier about the world and your place in it. Give it a shot. Because Facebook Sucks.

Edit: It was during writing this I found a New York Times article about a dude who, being upset and depressed with Donald Trump’s win, decided to keep himself ignorant about all political matters. It’s an interesting read and touches on some of the same points I did here in regards to Facebook.

Facebook Sucks: A Time Sink

This one is rather easy to get out of the way and is also the most trivial reason why Facebook Sucks. Facebook appears to be rather addictive and if you’re like me you check it more often than you should. I’ll check Facebook, close the tab on my browser, and then check it again five minutes later. Obviously in this short timeframe nothing has changed yet I scroll through for a bit before closing the tab. I’m sure others do the same with the app (which for some reason I still don’t use).

It’s even stupider if I’m at work or sitting at home bored. Then I check Facebook just to do something. I might even have other plans: clean the cat litter, work on a blog post or short story, or play a video game. But if I’m not quite motivated enough to do those things I’ll inevitably get my phone out and dick around on Facebook doing absolutely nothing. Instead of being productive I’ll dilly-dally on there because it’s entertaining and it makes me feel like I’m doing something. And everyone thinks that doing something is always better than doing nothing right?

There’s a lot of time that goes into randomly checking Facebook. You might spend five or ten minutes at time on Facebook which doesn’t seem like a lot but you know these things add up. Six ten-minute periods adds up to be a damn hour: an hour where you’ve done nothing but look at shitty Facebook posts. Subtracting sleep and whatever else we do we only have about 16 hours a day (at most) to actually do stuff and one of those hours is going to checking Facebook? That Sucks. What about all of the other shit you could’ve been doing? Isn’t there anything more worthwhile than checking Facebook? When you’re dying are you going to be like “I wish I browsed Facebook more.”?

That’s a best case scenario too. I wouldn’t be surprised if people spend more time than that on Facebook a day. Hell, you can count all the time spent on messenger talking to people about nothing in particular and that would add some time. Actually clicking articles and reading them or commenting shitposting also wastes time. I wouldn’t doubt that some people spend more than two hours a day on that shitty place.

So that’s my gripe; by being on Facebook you are stopping yourself from doing something else, whether it be cleaning, cooking, working on a hobby, playing with your kids, or reading. Ya know, things that make life actually worth living. The time we spend on Facebook and social media in general doesn’t seem very significant — if you’re on the toilet you can’t really do much besides Facebook unless you have a Nintendo Switch — but these times add up to something that might be significant. Facebook Sucks because you could be doing something else instead of flipping the screen upwards for hours a day. But that’s what millions of us choose to do.

Facebook Sucks: An Introduction

This will be shocking to you, but there was a time when Facebook didn’t exist. I remember this because I’m apparently old. I graduated high school in 2004 and there was no Facebook at the time. (Fun Fact: Apparently Facebook was created in early 2004 so there was a Facebook but it sure as hell wasn’t the massive beast we know currently.) A few years later this thing called MySpace was pretty damn popular and was basically a prehistoric version of Facebook. Eventually that place went the way of dinosaurs and phone books with Facebook becoming the de-facto social media website. Now everyone has a Facebook page. If you don’t you’re seen as a social outcast or something.

Another fun fact: before our hyper-connected world partially enabled by Facebook, life was actually enjoyable. You’d live your life and do the shit you wanted to do and you didn’t think once about “sharing” it with others. You might call your friends and family and let them know what was up but that was the extent of it. Currently, no matter what we do we keep our internet personas in the back of our minds ready to share anything remotely interesting (or not) we happen to do in life. Social media has a way of drilling itself into your subconscious and keeping itself ever present in your mind. It’s like a disgusting virus that wants you to get “likes” and appear cool.

This is obviously bad and I’ve been rebelling against Facebook periodically since I first created my personal page about 10 or 11 years ago. The current iteration has been around for about four or five years. It’s like my social life periodically undergoes mass extinction events where I just give up and disappear. In fact some of my old high school friends thought I had died because I’d just randomly leave the social media universe. What’s stupid is that I keep going back to Facebook and have to rebuild my friends list and that’s a pain. I’m imagining my friends think that I just delete them and re-add them not realizing I had nuked my account. It’s sad and it’s depressing but it’s simply what happens. So why do I periodically delete my Facebook accounts?

Since this occurs over and over I assume it’s a problem with either me or Facebook. I snap and delete my shit every few years and I’ve come to accept it. The last time I tried this was about 6 months ago. I was well into blogging and my “personal business” so I knew I couldn’t delete my personal page because then I’d lose all of my blog pages (including this one) so I just deactivated it. I guess I was realistic with myself and knew I’d be back so why should I cause myself more problems? I had narrowly escaped another social media collapse. I was right because I did eventually come back (and we always do…) and I kept Facebook in check for a few months. I wouldn’t check it as soon as I’d wake up and would stay logged out. I finally became in charge of my Facebook usage. For a bit that is.

So how was it? It was wonderful. I hate being overdramatic but my happiness immediately improved when I quit seeing everything on social media. It was such a tiny and simple change to my life that lead to some immense benefits in terms of well being. Even logging out and checking Facebook only once a day gave huge improvements. I can’t underestimate how much not being on social media has helped me even if I have relapsed in the past month. There seems to be a direct relation with how much time spend on Facebook and how miserable you are and seeing as I’ve “relapsed” I’ve been given a fresh perspective on why Facebook Sucks.

But why specifically does it Suck? I have a few ideas and I don’t think I’ll put them in this post simply because it’d be too long. I suppose that’s a good problem to have if you’re a blogger but no one likes reading a super long post. Think of this as an introduction. So far I’ve identifies three things (but maybe more!) that make Facebook shitty: it’s a time-sink that affects your productivity; overexposure to the news and helplessness to change anything will destroy your mood; and finally and most importantly there’s “reverse-schadenfreude” for lack of a better word. I’ll write and publish those posts and link them here in a day or so. Enjoy!

Facebook Advertising Sucks: Avoiding the Echo Chambers

I’ve recently been experimenting with Facebook advertising and this blog. I’ve known consciously for a long time that any endeavour is successful in a large part by how you sell yourself: you can’t just have a really good blog or business or whatever and expect that word of mouth can carry you to success. You could have the best damn widget ever and no one will ever buy it if they don’t know about it. There is a lot of hard work and shamelessly selling yourself on the road to success.  I say I’ve known this consciously because while I’ve known it, I didn’t really believe it at a really deep level. Anyways, while I want this blog to be successful, I don’t really intend for it to be an actual business. I figure if I get a bunch of readers I could sell T-shirts or something, mostly so people can rock my sister’s logo design, but it isn’t a get-rich-quick sort of scheme. It would be cool to get more readers, and see if that whole “selling yourself” idea works, and it would be an interesting experiment if I ever did try to start a business. So that was my motivation behind advertising, to see how effective it really is and to learn from it.

So I advertised (“boosted” in Facebook parlance) a few of my posts. The first one I advertised was the post about writing and typing; it was a fairly tame post that I figured people might find enjoyable. If you clicked the link you can see that it did get quite a bit of shares, more so than most other posts (33! Shit! I didn’t know it did that good!).  Anyways, advertising on Facebook is cheap, easy, and does seem to get your message out to people. It also allows you to pick your audience by selecting interests that you want to target for your audience. Obviously for that post I selected people who liked reading, writing, and blogging. You want to advertise to people who the message will resonate with, obviously. More on that shortly…

For advertising my second post I wanted to go right for that juicy market that is Donald Trump hatred, and selected my scathing but fun post on covfefe. (And got 55 Facebook shares?!) It wasn’t so much trying to get those sort of readers, just that my first advertised post was fairly tame, and I wanted to get in on the mess of politics. When it came time to pick my audience it was obvious to select those who identify as liberal and who possibly lean towards liberal views. Duh. Like I said before, you want to target people who your message will resonate with. But this seems really cheap and easy, so I also targeted those who were very conservative and who leaned conservative. In a recent post about Echo Chambers (which I learned from advertising the covfefe post), I railed against people reading shit that agrees with their views. To me, what’s the point of advertising an obviously liberal point of view to people who lean liberal? I’d just be contributing to the “echo chamber” problem so why not advertise to the conservatives? So that’s what I did…

And it was kind of a mess.

First off, it finally clicked in my head that I had just spent $25 to target conservatives with a very anti-Trump post, and if you care to check this blog’s Facebook page, some people weren’t happy at all about it. Curiously, a bunch of liberals “liked” the post, but few conservatives shit on it, so I’m assuming many of the people angered by it just ignored it. Still, that isn’t as bad as shitting all over the page like some people did and could’ve, but it’s still wasted money by going absolutely nowhere. Advertising on Facebook Sucks because you pay to target an audience, so you’d naturally pick those who agree with you. No one in their right mind would pay to target those who hate their ideas and views. Imagine if Shell or Mobil gas tried to target electric car owners? Or if Tyson Foods advertised towards vegans and vegetarians:iIt’d be a waste of money.

Secondly, I don’t think this would get any sort of conversation going at all. Not a single conservative voter will read my blog posts and go “Hmm. He has a point. Trump is bad, what was I thinking?” The political posts I write are some vulgar, simple, and easy hit pieces on Trump and the Right, mostly because they make such obvious and easy targets on a page called Everything Sucks. While I don’t want my blog to only appeal and to target liberal-minded voters, trying to actually get a conversation going (while simultaneously shitting on Trump) on Facebook seems pretty stupid and futile. I mean if a newspaper as prestigious as the New York Times (“the failing @NYTimes”) can be labeled “Fake News” and shit on by Trump supporters, why would Everything Sucks and Facebook Advertising change anyone’s mind? It won’t…and I’d be dumb as hell to think it would.

So, in short, Facebook advertising is pretty cool if you just want to shamelessly support a page, company, blog, or whatever. It does work and is fantastic at getting your product (or whatever) out in the world for people to notice and perhaps utilize. This puts the success of your whatever on it’s quality and not if people have heard about it or not. My two blog posts got tons of views and shares after I advertised them, but in terms of trying to advertise to those who disagree? Hell no, because no one wants to spend money to reach people who will hate their message. Even if I’m trying to be inclusive and not contribute to creating my very own echo chamber, Facebook advertising sort of encourages advertising to people who will be supportive of your message. Facebook makes it so you can target an audience who will like your message, but this ease in getting positive feedback discourages any willful targeting of a dissenting audience, further contributing to people hearing what they want to hear. Facebook Advertising Sucks in getting a conversation going and further contributes to the problem of people having Echo Chambers where they can hear facts and opinions that already support their own opinions.