Tag Archives: Media

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.

Echo Chambers Suck

As a liberal-leaning person, I get really pissed off when my obvious conservative friends and acquaintances share news stories from Fox News. These stories are obviously biased (“But only because the mainstream media is left-biased!”) and I don’t understand why anyone would ever be proud of getting their news from such a biased source. But Fox News isn’t even that bad compared to Breitbart or some of the other really questionable news sources out there. I’m talking the American News sites out there. Everything on these sites are so perfectly geared to target the conservative mindset it’s almost unbelievable. I don’t get how people can read shit that just confirms everything they believe and not be any bit suspicious of it.

I used the conservative news outlets as an example because they are most obvious to me as a left-leaning person. But the thing is that the left has it’s own bullshit websites and it’s own news (or even “news”) networks that conjure up the same hate and nonsense that the right has. It isn’t as visible (to me at least) but it’s there and it’s equally pathetic.

For the equivalent of Fox News you have MSNBC. While Fox has shit to prop up the conservative agenda and try to make Trump out to be a masterful genius, MSNBC does the exact same thing in the opposite direction by demonizing him. Everything is how terrible Trump is, how he’s destroying America, how he’s moments away from being impeached, and while the stories do present facts, the speculation and “meaning” of those facts is used to paint Trump is a highly negative view. How about Huffington Post? Nope. I’ve read enough stories from there to know that it’s going to be feel-good liberal propaganda to get me and other like-minded people riled up about Trump. I don’t know how Mother Jones compares to American News, but they seem to be nearly equal and opposites of the same idea: fear mongering to appeal to a single side. Democracy Now! seems even worse though, go check it out.

I really think part of the problem with our current state of sensationalized, polarized politics is due to this sort of one-sided news reporting, where facts take second stage to the speculation behind a story. Facts are pretty damn tame stuff that sound boring. Do an experiment for yourself: go to the BBC News website and then go to either American News, Mother Jones, or Democracy Now! and check out how “important and scary” the headlines sound; how scary is the world we live in? The BBC reports some boring facts: Trump got his travel ban knocked down (again), there was an earthquake in Greenland, and…whatever. The Huffington Post declares that “TRUMP SLIPS ON BAN APPEAL.” Same news story with the same facts but different presentation in the headline. American News pronounces on a video that “Anti Sharia Law Rallies Erupt in Major Cities Across the Country – Chaos Ensues [LOOK]” Wow. Holy shit! Apparently people are trying to push Sharia law in the US and there’s basically a WAR going on over how crazy this is? Apparently the BBC doesn’t give two shits about it, probably because it’s sensationalized bullshit that a cheap conservative news website shoveled out to rally their base. HuffPost also mentions that a congressman unveiled an impeachment draft against Trump, which is curiously absent from the front page of the other two websites, almost as if it’s sensationalized bullshit that a cheap liberal news website shoveled out to rally their base. Democracy Now! has a damn category at the top called “Impeachment.” Protip: Trump isn’t immediately on the verge of being impeached (He’s going to be impeached — I’ll bet money on it — but it doesn’t require a headline yet.). CNN, just for shits and giggles declares that “Dennis Rodman heading to North Korea.” CNN has good bigly news people…[Like everything else, I wrote this shit yesterday so the headlines changed; you won’t see the headlines I mentioned. I can’t keep up with this shit.]

I’m not saying the BBC are infallible journalists or whatever, they just seem to present dry facts with minimal bullshit that these other examples present. My point here is that if you are a conservative and only read/watch conservative news, aren’t you just being spoonfed a bunch of shit that you already know and that makes you feel comfortable in your worldview? The same goes for a liberal person as well: if you already know for a fact that Trump is the devil himself, why do you need to read a bunch of shit confirming it? Whenever I see a link shared on Facebook from HuffPost or Democracy Now! I never click it because I know it’s going to be shit. Same when I see a Fox News or American News or Liberty-Whatever-The-Fuck-News from someone proclaiming “They’re going to take our guns!” It’s confirmation bias in a near textbook form — no one wants to possibly accept a different worldview so we close our minds off from the possibility while simultaneously thinking we’re being open to new facts but not really.

It doesn’t all involve simple news websites and channels as well: it also applies to social media. I think I’ll write more about this later, but we all have our favor sites to visit and people to interact with. Do these influence our worldview in a negative way? Do they tell us happy things we already know? Do they scare us into sticking with our current beliefs? I frequent Reddit, and I’ll use it as an example. Check out the World News subreddit. It leans left and if you look at any posts about Donald Trump it will have tons of hate. It’s fun to read too. Now check out The_Donald. It speaks for itself. They’re Echo Chambers: places to hear the same confirming facts over and over again.

So, obviously, that all Sucks. There are facts – indisputable facts – but the interpretation of those facts is down to whoever you seem to ask. If all you read are these borderline news websites that just regurgitate your worldview you aren’t learning anything and aren’t doing anything to solve the problem. We all have our Echo Chambers that solidify our worldviews and this does nobody any favors. This applies to both political outlooks conservative and liberal alike, so don’t think you’re up on a high horse when everyone else is stupid. It goes without saying that this lack of mixing ideas and compromising Sucks and has a large part to play in how polarized our current state of politics is.

Donald Trump Sucks: Covfefe

Note: Like I noted in my first post about the Dolan, I noted that there is a struggle between making relevant posts about Trump and keeping it up to date with all the shit that happens so quickly. I’ll try to put relevant notes and updates around instead of trying to rewrite the damn thing over and over…

It was like the Tweet Heard ’round the World, or something like that. As I awoke, I checked Facebook on my phone and somehow this strange word was being thrown around. Here. I’ll write it out right now:

Covfefe

At the time, with the haze of just waking up, I knew something had happened in the world that I wasn’t aware of yet. It’s sort of how you might wake up to find news about a celebrity dying, and see tons of posts about it, but where you still don’t know what actually happened. That’s sort of how it was with me and covfefe a few days ago.

Now that we all know what covfefe is…well maybe you don’t! Let’s cover that really quickly. Donald Trump, our tweeter extroidiane is known to tweet stupid shit at crazy hours of the morning instead of, well, maybe relaxing because being president is a tough job. These tweets are often about the media being mean to him and how it’s unfair #MAGA. I don’t give two fucks about if you think it’s unfair and that the “fake news” is trying to crucify the guy: you still don’t get on twitter and cry about it. That’s what a 4-year-old would do. Anyways, this is what he does, and it isn’t that big of a deal; we’re all used to it by now. But then this beauty appears. Update: He did delete it so I can’t link to the “real one.” But the internet doesn’t forget stuff, so here’s a screenshot:

 

170531121403-trump-covfefe-tweet-screengrab-super-169

Thanks to whoever screencapped this. And whoever I stole it from. Whatever.

 

It starts off in a predictable way and no one would’ve batted an eye to in had it continued like you might’ve expected it to. “Despite the constant negative press…” But then, suddenly, the tweet goes fucking insane and ridiculous and it’s over without any punctuation, “Sad!,” or anything else to let you know it’s over. It’s like a gunshot to your eyeballs: covfefe.

Why does covfefe suck?

Covfefe isn’t really a big deal: no one has died (maybe from laughter though, or knowing how pathetic America as a whole appears to the rest of the civilized world?), the environment hasn’t been polluted (Update: We left the Paris Climate Agreement Thingy so yeah, we’re sort of fucked, but not in relation to covfefe…), and we aren’t in another war (yet). The president, by tweeting covfefe did almost no harm to anything. So why the fuck is there a post about this Sucking? There’s are a few reasons. Let’s get started.

First off, covfefe isn’t a real word which is stupid. The sentence ending without any punctuation hinted that covfefe isn’t a real word — as well as no one knowing what the hell it was — and the fact that every time I write that profaned word it’s underlined by Google Docs furthers the point. You could look up covfefe in a dictionary but you wouldn’t find anything because it’s not a real word! It doesn’t even sound like a real word, so you can’t even insist the guy made it up like Colbert did with truthiness. At least that word is pronounceable. Covfefe isn’t a real word, and it would a shitty attempt at a “making new word.”

Secondly, it appears to be a spelling error which is even stupider. By using context clues to figure out a word you don’t know the meaning of — just like we were taught back in fifth grade — seems to hint that covfefe is meant to be coverage. This fits well following the tweet’s “constant negative press” and sounds like a word you’d expect in a typical Trump tweet. This pushes the whole ordeal into the realm of being a misspelled word, but fuck is it misspelled! The first three letters, cov-, match in both the words, but covfefe ends in a -fefe while coverage ends in -erage. Let’s all bust out our phone keypads and check them out: the erage seems to be sort of close to fefe on a typical phone keyboard, but the “a” is way off to the left! If the word is misspelled from coverage, well, it sure is a hell of a misspell that autocorrect didn’t get to lay a single finger on.

So it’s a misspell. So what? Well, the tweet ends there. No explanation, no finishing the thought. Had the tweet read “Despite the constant negative press covfefe I had a bigly successful erupoean visit! #MAGA!” we would’ve all laughed at how he butchered a word words that is are pretty common and easy to spell. I mean even if you let him slip on a spelling error, what the fuck happened to the rest of the sentence? It’s gone, absent, and further enhances the stupid mystique of covfefe. We have another stupid-ass strike in this covfefe affair: it’s a sentence fragment.

But that isn’t all, no. Far from it! Covfefe gets worse! You see, covfefe isn’t a translation error, a transcription error, and it isn’t a speaking error. People stumble, stutter, and misspeak all the time while giving speeches but no one laughs at them because it’s live and people fuck up. But this is a written tweet that he is in control of. What we see isn’t a live thing, where if he fucked up you might see the mistake and forgive him. No. He had to type it out and somehow post this train wreck without noticing or thinking to reread it. To me, that is the most damning thing about it. You have to fuck up pretty badly to type such a horrific thing on a phone, AND THEN POST IT. AND THEN NOT DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’VE DONE! (Update: It has been deleted. :() With Trump, I imagine he was tweeting in secret for fear of losing his phone and then upon being caught immediately posted it. My point here is that there is a record of it now. Had he deleted it before he posted it, no one would’ve know. But here we are…

…So Why is covfefe Bad?

Like I said, no one was really harmed by this incident. But to me it speaks volumes about the president and his incompetence that should somehow be free of partisan viewpoints. Look, people can disagree on whether trickle down economics works or not, and each side could present facts and arguments supporting their viewpoints, and then each side could argue about it.

But covfefe isn’t some policy bullshit to be argued over in perpetuity; it’s a train wreck tweet that is so bad it’s amazing the president of the United States posted it. It’s so amateurish it’s laughable. It’s totally harmless to any policy or anything that will have a major effect. No one should be up in arms about covfefe because it’s so stupid and trivial. But that’s kinda my point: if it’s so trivial why is it even a thing?

Remember in high school or college where you were expected to know how to spell or to use commas? It’s kind of like that. Having proper grammar shows others that you care about details and how your argument, views, and opinions appear. I don’t think anyone purposely uses bad grammar; some just don’t seem to care about the details of it or haven’t learned yet. But it always seems to be a goal that should be strived towards. As you get higher in school, or the world, you’re simply expected to know how to spell words or to use a comma. As I see it, if you can’t spell or use grammar properly, why would I expect that’d you’d be a good doctor, scientist, financial advisor, or anything really? If you can’t be bothered to use the right their, they’re, or there, why the fuck would I think you’d be competent in any other skill? Sure Donald Trump might be a master businessman, but really? You think so? When he can’t spell coverage correctly and stop himself from posting it? This is the guy playing 45-dimensional chess with the Russians? Come on.

He doesn’t care. He’s sloppy. Consequences don’t exist to him. Spelling doesn’t matter. Deleting a stupid tweet doesn’t matter. Why would anyone have faith in a person so incompetent as to misspell coverage as covfefe and post it. Why would this guy ever be expected to subtly understand policy and complex topics such as the world economy when he can’t proofread a tweet? Covfefe is a microcosm of everything wrong with Trump, made perfectly clear in a simple 7 letter “word.” say it again. Covfefe. Donald trump Sucks.

Update: The spin begins. Trump’s buddies are hinting that covfefe was just a thing to get liberals and the media riled up as some sort of a “joke.” Or to point at how the media is stupid and overreacts. Others have said that covfefe is an inside joke and according to Sean Spicer “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” Dolan also went on twitter and posted this gem, further driving the “I did it on purpose!” story:

The President of the United States people.

Donald Trump Sucks: An Incomprehensible Mess

As you can probably see, this is filed under the category of Politics Suck. This being its own category means something; it means that in my mind I intended for the politics portion to take up a notable spot on this blog. Some other categories like People Suck and Society Sucks are large, but you would expect them to be large because people are that shitty in general — there isn’t much surprise there. But outside of Video Games Suck, Politics Suck seems to be a pretty damn narrow niche category that hasn’t had any posts. What the fuck is going on here?

I have to admit this category is partly inspired by Donald Trump being the Worst Candidate Ever and our wonderfulest 45th President of the United States of America. Go figure. I didn’t think it would actually happen but here we are with a damn reality TV star leading the free world. As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan as the guy stands antithetic to everything I love and hold dear, like facts, logic, not melting down on social media like a teenager, and spelling words correctly. It only makes sense that I would want to channel my loathing for the dude and his stupid policies into a series of posts collectively labeled Politics Suck. Outside of this, Politics Suck was supposed to be a general category driven by world affairs, governance, stupid partisan politics, the economy, and other shit that Sucks in those general categories. But the current situation in the US — with me being a citizen — would naturally take center stage and Trump is just too good (awful) to pass up writing about! He’s a goldmine if you have a blog called Everything Sucks. As you can see, this is only the second post, so what gives? Trump is making headline after headline and yet I’ve been silent except for the failed healthcare act #1 about two months ago. What’s up with that?

Donald Trump Sucks, but he sucks in a way that I’m unable to comprehend and process in a timely fashion.

I’m case you weren’t aware, the guy is a mess. And in case you weren’t aware, my blog posts takes quite awhile to churn out. Trump sucks in a large way by how I simply can’t keep up with his endless bullshit. It’s kind of funny but also really sad in a way. I envisioned post after post about he sucks and how he fucks up in all of his narcissistic Trumpian ways, but holy fuck, I can’t keep up and even begin to comprehend the individual fuck ups enough to write proper posts about them! It never fails: when one new story breaks on how awful he is there is another one that appears quickly on the heels of the first one. His presidency is a lightning round of bullshit that I can’t keep up with.

Dolan

Are we gr9 agen yet?

First there was…see I can’t even recall it! Oh yeah, the executive orders that did a whole bunch of shit but nothing really. I remembered how he whined about Obama’s executive order “abuses” back in the day, but before I could write about that, he was on to getting his immigration thingy repealed. And there was some shit about the inauguration crowd size and “alternative facts” and God stopping the rain. Something about a plan to defeat ISIS? Right? Talking up the economy and keeping jobs in ‘Murika. Magically, I was almost able to make a real post about the first health care bill — the single highlight (so far) of my blogging during the Trump regime — but then, somehow, things got even crazier. There was another blur of whatthefuckhappened and we bombed Syria and the North Koreans did some shit with a parade and bombs and rockets and Trump was mad. And most recently, James Comey was fired, Trump met with some Russians, and he also leaked some important shit that he probably shouldn’t have. And who knows what will transpire before I finally hit the “post” button. (Update: I wrote all of that a few days ago, and in that time there was a special counsel appointed to look into the matter, and Trump has had another meltdown on Twitter about “witch hunts.” See what I mean?)

My point here is clear: I can’t keep up. Out of all that shit I just recalled I did a single post. And it was a shitty one. Each one of these incidents, and the ones I forgot about, could’ve been their own posts where I made some pointed observations about President Drumpf but I fumbled the ball because the passes came way too fast for me to handle. The guy is a pro at churning out headline after headline that you simply can’t keep track of. Seriously. I think back to the campaign and think, “Why was Trump so bad?” and I legitimately can’t think of much, but it’s not so much from lacking bad shit, it’s because there’s so much bad shit that nothing stands out in any clear manner. All shit stinks so you won’t notice anything really unless there is some really bad shit to stink really badly. Think of Bill Clinton’s presidency: boring, NAFTA, MONICA LEWINSKY, boring, boring. What stands out? Think of Nixon: debating JFK on TV, finally won, Vietnam, WATERGATE, RESIGNATION, boring career. What stands out? But with Trump it’s BUILD A WALL, BAD HOMBRES BRINGING DRUGS, BAN MUSLIMS, NUKES ARE COOL RIGHT?, I’VE GOT BIG HANDS, SMARTER THAN GENERALS, TED CRUZ’S DAD KILLED KENNEDY, NASHTY WOMMAN, NATO SUCKS PAY UP, GRAB HER BY THE PUSSY, I DID TRY TO FUCK HER, BIGGEST INAUGURATION CROWD EVAR, NATO IS OKAY, LOCK HER UP, I’M NOT GUNNA LOCK HER UP NEVERMIND, CAN’T REPEAL OBAMACARE, GOLFIN’, NORF KOREA IS BAD GUYS, COMEY “YOU’RE FIRED” BUT ONLY AFTER 110 DAYS, RUSSIANS ARE MY FWEINDS, HEY I KNOW TOP SECRET INTEL TOO GUISE. Okay, phew. Now seriously, what stands out? NOTHING DOES BECAUSE IT’S ALL INTENSE BULLSHIT. So in retrospect he seems really awful but you can’t point out anything specific because it’s all bad.

That’s the best illustration of my problem so far guys. Trump is so awful, and Sucks in such an incomprehensible manner that I don’t have the time to write proper posts to fill my Politics Suck portion of my blog. I really need to get on it and churn shit out because it is my problem, but it’s hard when your primary source for things that Suck is so Goddamn prolific. If you give the guy credit for anything, give him credit for that: he sucks so much no one can keep up with it, let alone me and my quaint little blog.