Tag Archives: Social Media

Facebook Still Sucks, but Instagram is Strangely Satisfying

Note: Appreciate the amount of links I have in this mess of a post. It was a ton of work. Oh, and the struggle to italicize company names.

I don’t know whether I should bitch about Facebook or praise Instagram, so I’ll probably do both. One social media perspective isn’t complete without another contrasting perspective. My hatred for Facebook translates into a love of Instagram, and my love of Instagram only makes me hate Facebook even more than usual.

One thing should be mentioned: they’re the same fucking thing, and I don’t mean that because they’re both social media. Facebook literally owns Instagram, not in any metaphorical sense either, they actually own Instagram. I don’t know if this is popular knowledge or not; I myself am only aware of this fact because I used to trade stocks and options. One of the main talking points of bullish Facebook investors (besides the company raking in buckets of advertising money) is the fact that they own Instagram. Apparently Instagram is really popular and the irony of people leaving Facebook for Instagram is hilarious. Those hip people who are fed up with the utter trash that is Facebook can happily migrate to Instagram totally unaware of the fact that they haven’t moved anywhere new. It’s like moving from a third story apartment to a second story one in the same building. Moving up in the world, right?!

But Facebook is shit, let’s make that abundantly clear. I love to shit all over the company/site and even published my first ebook by doing so. I had a ton of posts bitching about Facebook and social media in general, wrapped a big bow tie around them, and published them in a compilation. I thought my days of bitching about Facebook were over — move on to bigger and better writing projects — but apparently not. Let’s rip on Facebook again, but in a different way.

It’s taken over by old people.

I don’t think I mean old people in a strictly age way, just the site seems rather stale. While it isn’t overran by old-people and their posts, it is overran by old-people-eque posts. There seems to be nothing of value left. Instead of creating/sharing interesting pics and posts about life, you have people sharing the dumbest, stupidest memes, social justice signaling all over the place, while the literal old people share the “liberals find the flag offensive, let’s show them!” American flag posts along with any other fake news/dietary cancer cures that they come across. Sure there are young people on Facebook (thanks for all the signaling; it sure is interesting that you’re posting sharing deep, meaningful posts to make yourself appear deeper than you are) but the older community is killing the place. I really don’t give a shit about a police dog that is laying on a grave or whatever, and I don’t care to pray for some random person with cancer who probably died four years ago while everyone is unaware of the fact. It’s just a mess and the mess overrides any joy I get out of the place. Facebook for me is a place to mindlessly scroll at 2 a.m. when I want to feel a little more cynical about everything.

The only person to share shit like this is someone who has just went through a shitty relationship and is trying to tell themself that they’re really fine and all of that shit. Signaling. Denial. Etc.

It’s also complicated to use. Not really, but it isn’t simple either; there are options everywhere. Every little thing is a button that does something unique. Tagging, captioning, privacy settings, sharing, sharing to news feed, sharing to story, pic uploading, video uploading, galleries, notifications, email and text notifications, react emojis, .gifs, personal information (music, movies, work, sports teams, etc.), phone numbers, ‘like’ or ‘follow’?, featured photos, and the list surely goes on. That’s only involving personal pages too; the Facebook ecosystem goes deeper. Much deeper. There’s a messenger and all the social anxiety that comes with messaging a person on Facebook because you don’t have their actual number and is that, like, a weird thing to do socially or is it okay? Then there’s Messenger Stories: what are you supposed to use that for? There’s a marketplace, business pages, groups, games, and so on. Oh, and you can make your own Facebook pages too if you’re a big fat-cat entrepreneur like myself. (Gimme a ‘like’ and ‘follow’ guys!) These pages are their own can of worms to deal with as I’m sure you can imagine. Luckily I don’t know of many other things because fuck that, I’m not trying to do everything Facebook has to offer. For me it’s mostly a place to spam links to blogs/writings.

Which leads me in a roundabout way to Instagram; it’s another market to get my writings out there. I don’t even know how you market a blog/story/author on Instagram (it’s all pictures, right? How do you market writing with pictures?) but figured I’d give it a shot. Ya know, take a shitty and abstract picture and plop some deep, insightful text on it and, bam, done. Sounds easy enough to YOLO an Instagram account.

I also have a few friends who are on there. One guy is a big inspiration; he makes an artform out of Instagram and I’ve been blatantly copying his technique. He’s a master at taking these awful, shitty, low-quality pictures, filtering the shit out of them, and writing what is basically poetry for captions. And they’re great! It’s a raw, no-bullshit form of art that is genius even given the derivativeness that is inherently Instagram. Just for the hell of it, I’ll toss a link to him. I think it’d be hilarious if he ends up with a bunch of followers because of this stupid blog post. And I’m not going to say a word to him about it either. So please follow leftclickmicrocosm_ on Instagram. Please make this happen.

I finally made an account and started my own version of posting low-quality bullshit with deep captions. A pic of a vape cloud along with a caption about two souls dancing. A blurry 757 flying at night. Corporate artwork with a cold and cruel caption. I’ll link a few below.

Wow, Instagram pics look amazing on a blog!

What’s strange is how weary I was to getting into another social media sphere to market my writings. It’s exhausting. Was I really going to write a shitty blog post in 50 minutes and then spend just as long marketing it on social media? Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Wattpad, and Instagram? That’s a lot of work. And I was terrified that I’d be sucked in by Instagram the same way Facebook and heroin are known to do. The constant chase of social popularity and approval, farming for ‘likes’ and whatnot. I didn’t want any part of it.

There is something refreshing about starting anew and Instagram is no different. You get a blank slate. You get to learn. You get to experiment. Since you’re starting from nothing, you also have nothing to prove. It’s been great! I’ve been posting these shitty, heavily filtered and ‘artistic’ images just for the fun of it. I don’t care if something doesn’t get as much feedback as other more popular pics; it’s enjoyable enough just to spam total bullshit without catering to some overarching goal. In this aspect I’ve failed; I haven’t marketed my writings at all on Instagram, totally missing the point of what I was intending to do in the first place. But it’s okay.

I also love how Insta‘s UI seems ‘simpler’ than Facebook‘s. The menu (if you can call it a menu) isn’t littered with total trash. The app is very minimalistic with only a few buttons to actually click. The filter/editing part is simply clicking buttons and moving sliders until you find the look you want. You slide things around until your picture looks delightfully artistic with a quality similar to an indie, low-fi garage album. Feedback and static in visual form. Slap on a flowery caption and you’re good to go.

Contrived deepness!

I know the site is kinda trash with influencers and people taking selfie after selfie in exotic locations, totally gaming the system trying to make their lives look idyllic. In some ways I think this is the surface-level Instagram sort of how bullshit news stories and stupid memes are the surface-level of Facebook. But there is potential for artistic expression if you allow it; if you stop trying to play the game that everyone else is playing. Because it’s Instagram and it’s what you do. Throughout my Instagram ‘career’ I’m going to attempt to hold onto this mindset and only do whatever random shit I want to do (while lovingly stealing others’ good ideas obviously) and not worrying too much about playing the social media game. But a week into it? I love it. It stomps the fuck out of Facebook. It’s easy, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I find myself not taking it — or myself — too seriously either.

In case all that shit above wasn’t enough, here’s a proper link. Follow me for my silly art pictures!

The "Woman Yelling at Cat" Meme Sucks

A Case Study of Meme Overuse and Eventual Death

We can’t have good things. We can never have good things. Because once something becomes popular enough the masses will get a hold of it and ruin it. Usually this doesn’t happen with most art forms because most art requires little to no participation from the audience. There are the creators of the art and the viewers of the art and the audience is relegated to be mere spectators of the art form. The read the book. They watch the movie. They look at the painting. They play no role in the creation of the art itself. The barrier of entry is usually fairly high to most standard forms of art; some jackass can’t make shitty music, plop it up on soundcloud, and become instantly famous. Some dickhead with canvas and acrylics from Walmart probably won’t paint a masterpiece that will end up in a museum. There’s a quality filter so to speak. But I think the most important attribute of most “normal” art is that it is static: once art is created it is finished and in its final form. There is no further input from anyone, especially the audience.

Memes are totally different and while I do consider them an artform they’re also a form of communication. This works because the barrier to entry with memes is terribly low; any dingbat can make memes and nothing requires you to actually be witty or good at making them to do so. And there is an audience for these poorly-crafted memes. Consider the horribly dumb populace that infests social media sites like Facebook and Twitter like roaches, you have dumbfucks creating stupid and unfunny memes who “don’t get it” and somehow their abominations are shared and propagated to the masses. It’s the equivalent of the soundcloud artist and amateur painter from above except they can somehow get notoriety with their shitty and terrible work. YouTube is a good example of this where anyone with a phone can plop videos up that everyone in the world can see. There is no filter to prevent bad content from spreading.

You can really notice this as a trend if you know where to look. The meme progression is usually something like this: some random person makes a meme with a narrow context or something. The meme is funny because it’s new and unique and sometimes hilariously confusing because it doesn’t seem to make sense. Think of advice animals: why would animals give advice? It’s entertaining in its absurdity. Or spiderman giving a presentation, etc. I call this initial phase the “proto-meme” phase because it sounds cool enough.

Having a deeper sense of social media put yous in direct touch with proto-memes. I’m not saying Reddit is deep social media exactly but it’s deeper than Facebook, which is about as shallow as a puddle in a driveway. I’ve seen countless memes in more or less original proto-form on Reddit before they mature and make the jump to more popular sites like Facebook. As an example, this is something I think is representative of the proto-meme style that may or may not become popular in the future. I’m especially fond of r/THE_PACK because of how absurd and ironic everything posted there is. It’s like the shit your skeleton-, gun-, flag-, and motorcycle-image sharing uncle shares on Facebook but turned up 1000 times in intensity. Here:

AROOO MFER! Credit: u/IronicMerman. (The style of THE_PACK is even more interesting when you consider the fact that they’re a bastardization of things shared on Facebook. They’re like a reverse of what usually happens to memes: instead of going to Facebook to die, the style is removed from Facebook and memeified.)

Reddit itself is probably more descriptive of the second phase of memes where their popularity grows and people improvise on the formula. I want to call this something like the “classic phase” or something. This is where memes gain enough social critical mass where you can use them in wider conversations and situations. The meme is adapted by many interest groups and cultures even if they have their origins in niche communities. Spongebob memes can make the jump from being unique to TV and movie communities into the wider public. Or a video game meme jumps ship and is adopted by countless other groups unrelated to video games. Creativity flourishes and each community puts their own spin on the meme and interprets it in their own way, creating a cornucopia of memes based off the same initial idea. And most importantly they hold true to the form and humor of the original proto-meme.

After the proto- and classical meme phases is what I’d call the popular phase of the meme. This is what happens when a meme grows up and is adopted by the masses for use. And by masses I mean everyone. Usually you know this phase is upon a meme when your hopelessly out-of-touch and mildly racist aunt Karen starts sharing them on Facebook. Think about Minions. Facebook is the prime example here because it’s where popular memes go to die. It’s where clueless and usually older people get their grubby Boomer hands on our beloved memes, misunderstanding and corrupting them into something that misses the entire point of the meme in the first place. Case in point: the woman and cat meme, the topic of this post. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your travels through Social Media Land recently.

I loved this meme originally. It had all the hallmarks of a good meme: originality, absurdity with a woman yelling at a cat sitting at a dinner table, and a versatility that was impressive. You could adapt the meme or variations of it to nearly anything you needed. I found this on reddit a half year ago, the meme altered and depicting a certain scenario from the video game Apex Legends:

Part of the appeal of a meme is its “inside joke” quality, and this is prime example of such. You won’t understand this at all unless you’ve played Apex.

And my sister sent me this gem where the meme is tweaked to be about video game choices. It highlights the absurdity of the semi-popular and mocked belief that video games cause violence: humor, absurdity, and social commentary all wrapped into a picture of a woman yelling at a cat. It’s also an example of how damn versatile the meme is/was.

And I can’t forget this gem I found which doesn’t depict the meme as usual but pays homage to The Shining. I love it.

Anyways, as stated above the natural progression of a meme that becomes too popular, a meme that has such critical mass that it transcends sub-pop and pop culture, is that it enters mainstream culture. When your parents, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents get a hold of it. It’s when people use the meme as it wasn’t intended, a bastardization where one realizes the creator doesn’t understand the meme’s appeal and humor in the first place. And the saddest thing of all is when the meme is fucking politicized and used unironically. When the humor is stripped out of it and it becomes a way to say something seriously. To prove a point. To make a stance. To yell your viewpoint bluntly at people. To disguise this as humor. This isn’t how memes are meant to be used.

This one depicts the meme as a conversation-frame type meme, a misuse of its original intentions. I mean it’s now a lady having a conversation with a cat. Okay. It’s also kinda dumb.

I was originally going to only post the image, but realized that including the poster/uploader — the eloquently titled page “Cornbread & Cooter” — might say something about the type of people that fuck the memes up in the first place. Think of someone you personally know that would actually follow a page called “Cornbread & Cooter:” they’re probably a fucking moron. Sadly, my dad shared this.

This one depicts the cat looking at Greta Thunberg. Once again, Okay…

As above, I included the poster, “Country Folks & Patriot’s.” I don’t know why there’s an apostrophe there, but hey, I’m not surprised. Without looking you know it’s a page followed by a bunch of old out-of-touch people that live off a steady diet of Fox News and they took a popular meme and fucked it up and politicized it. And once again it isn’t even funny because it’s trying too hard to prove a point. There’s no humor because it has been replaced by a subtle hatred for Greta only disguised as humor, not that these people give a shit about the trees cut down in the first place.

And countless others that I don’t even want to think about. Naturally I don’t save these when I come across them and only upon writing a blog post do I have to hunt them down. And searching through a handful of Cornbread & Cooter’s images leaves you feeling exhausted with society and people in general. Sometimes I want to go hang myself.

The meme is then basically dead. When people who are out of touch with the original intent and humor get ahold of a meme and defile it, no one who properly knows how to use the meme will do so. It then becomes “uncool” to use (unless you’re being ironic) and the real meme-proficient people, creators, and wizards will stop using it. The funny thing is after the meme falls out of favor with its initial fans and adopters it will still find heavy use in the out-of-touch community because they have no idea that it’s not funny anymore. Once again think Minion memes. The only time these dead memes will finally disappear is when the out-of-touch crowd finds newer, fresher, and unmurded memes to leech onto and then kill. It’s a vicious cycle. The popularity of a meme is what will kill it.

Luckily, some memes seem to transcend this fate by being popular but not popular enough to be adapted by the demographics that will kill them. A few examples I can think of is Elon Musk smoking pot and the goddamn “Here we go again” screenshot from Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas. It’s pretty easy to see why they haven’t been widely adopted. Elon smoking pot is just too vague for popular adaptation because you need to know the backstory to see the humor in it. And CJ from GTA is hopelessly (and luckily) stuck within video game cultures and can’t transcend out of it.

A fresh cross adapting a GTA meme into something Stardew Valley related.

I suppose the real death knell of memes is when they end up on t-shirts or whatever. This kills the meme. When you start seeing memes on shirts the humor and the inside joke quality of it are just wiped out, murdered, with zero hope of return. And, oh, would you look at this…

HE’S DEAD, JIM. And no I’m not giving credit for this image because things like this can just go fuck right off into hell.

Sorry lady-yelling-at-cat meme. You were one of the better ones, but all good things must come to an end. A victim of your own success you were and while you’ve followed countless other memes into oblivion and while you’re surely not the last to do so, we will fondly remember the times when your were young, new, and full of promise to all of us. Farewell and Godspeed.

Note: I bitched a little bit about Facebook here, as I’ve done in many past posts, and if you’re curious for an entire book bitching about the negative things about Facebook, I wrote an ebook on it. Please check it out if you’re interested!

Random Thoughts and Updates

I have a few things I want to write about but nothing important enough to make dedicated blog posts from. I’m kinda curious where all of this will go because I don’t think I’ve written a post like this before.

Being Social Sucks

I suck at replying to people. I’ve literally procrastinated replying to a few people for over a week. I feel terrible about it but apparently that’s how my dysfunctional mind works. And it’s not just the comments on blogs either; I do it everywhere. I’ll check Facebook, see that a comment was left by a person, and I won’t actually check what they said for a day or two. It’s like some part of me likes to have that anticipation of reading a comment and replying to it. Maybe to cherish and savor the comment for a little bit. Like I don’t want to reply and “finish” the conversation quite yet. I really need to work on facing what I dread. Get a notification, check it, reply, and be done with it.

Oh. I also have this problem with my email. WordPress sends me email notifications anytime someone likes my posts, follows the blog, or comments. This isn’t really a problem. The actual problem is my lack of ability to sort through them and delete them. Ideally I want to see what these people have written and if I’m interested to subscribe to their blog. I suck at following through with this.

It isn’t the people who suck that are the problem because their notification emails are easy to delete. Some people can barely spell and I’m not going to follow them. The same is true for people who write blogs about topics that I’m not interested in. Dieting blogs are a good example. Nice blog, well-written, but I don’t want to read about dieting. Some people don’t seem to blog at all and those are easy to delete because what is there to even subscribe to? The hardest ones to decide on are those that seem like they might be decent writers someday but kinda suck currently. Like they haven’t found their voice yet. Or that their topics are kinda interesting but also not at the same time. To sum it up: my email is piled up with WordPress notifications from those who have liked/followed my blog and I can’t delete them because I haven’t went through and seen what these people write about. It seems wrong to blindly delete them, but it isn’t working letting them pile up. Maybe I’ll do that after posting this. Face your fears!

Scheduling Posts? Huh?

I seem to have the most success on this blog when I post around 2 or 3 p.m. I don’t know if this is a real thing or if I’ve just posted unusually good things around this time and there really is no correlation. Whatever. But sometimes you write a magnificent post and finally get it tidied up around 9 or 10 p.m. and I find myself being greedily productive and wanting to post it right as everyone goes to sleep. It’s not a good thing to do. I always imagine I just wrote something amazing and then throw it away by posting during off-hours just because I’m too impatient to wait until the next day to post.

This will be really stupid to other WordPress bloggers that have actually paid attention to how things work, but there is an option under the “publish” button where you can select a time for the post to actually go live. Duh. I’ve always ignored it and slapped the publish immediately button but yeah, scheduling a post for a future date and time is an option, and a nice one at that. So what have I been doing? Scheduling posts for the following day around 1 or 2 p.m. It’s so stupid that I haven’t done it before.

This obviously has a huge upside to it where if you found a giant pile of cocaine you could, theoretically, write all of the blog posts you need for the next week/month and schedule them all. You could knock out all of the work in a day or two and not have to worry about posting things for awhile. There would be some pain tiding the posts up where they’re on par with the typical published posts, but that isn’t too big of deal. I say this because I usually do the “creative” parts of writing whenever the hell I find the inspiration to do so and only do the editing, formatting, publishing — the dirty work — immediately before posting. I’d have to move “the dirty work” to other parts of the day. Whatever.

Will I actually write all the posts on the weekend and have the entire week of blogging set? No. Where is the fun procrastination in that? I’m my own worst enemy.

T-Shirts?

A while ago my sister and I tried to start a “t-shirt business” or something. The basic idea was to make t-shirts that had a local theme to them and spam ads on Facebook with hopes that some gullible and easy-to-convince person would actually buy the things. This wasn’t to be a “real” business but just a teespring store. This did kinda undercut the “locality” of the shirts we were trying to sell. Anyways, it didn’t work out. And I now have a derelict teespring account and site.

A few other bloggers sell t-shirts. And I’ve been thinking of trying that using the teespring account. Not trying it, but doing it. There is no downside to it. I don’t give a shit if I don’t sell a single shirt, and I wouldn’t be trying to pocket a huge profit from them anyways as I usually price the things where I’d only earn like a dollar or two off each sale. I love selling low-margin items. I’m like a Walmart of t-shirts. I do find the idea of having a ton of shirts or other products that say “So-and-so Sucks” on it interesting. It wouldn’t even have to reflect back on the blog! If you have a mug that says “Coffee Sucks” it’s interestingly ironic and funny and is a statement on its own. It’s just stating that something sucks. So maybe I can get around to that someday.

Amazon Royalties Suck

Riding the wonderful line between failure and success is my Amazon Kindle self-publishing project. I have two books I’m selling, one about Facebook Sucking and the other about Options Trading. Yeah. No one has actually purchased anything (feel free to do so!) but apparently I have had some readers in the Amazon Prime program, whatever it’s called. Basically if you’re on Prime you can read my stuff for free. And I earn money for it.

So it’s cool having readers and earning money from these readers, but let’s be honest it isn’t crazy money by a long shot. The first month I received $0.11. The second month I received $0.50. And this month I might even break $1.00! You might think that this upward trend is basically parabolic and that after a year or two I might be raking in $100 per month, but this isn’t the case. The past few months (because Amazon has a delay between readers and royalty payments) has had zero readers. So the next few months will give me $0.00. Yay!

I just wanted to bitch about that. It’s success but it also isn’t success. I don’t know how to feel about it.

Inspiring Others?

I’ve been shipping the periodic blog post to a few of my friends thinking they might get something out of them. What happened was one friend seems to be pretty inspired by what I write, in a total opposite sort of way than what you might expect. He isn’t like, “Woah, cool post! That resonated with me!” but more like, “Woah, cool post! But what you wrote really got my mind going and I wrote a ton of stuff about how you’re totally wrong!” It’s amazing in a way. Seriously. Am I mad or upset by it? Nope. In fact I’m elated that I can serve as a jumping point for others to explore things in their own ways. In a way what he got from my post was even more profound than the trash I had written about enlightenment. I don’t mind serving as inspiration and maybe that’s all I’m trying to do here.

He even mentioned he was thinking of making his own blog basically the exact opposite as mine. Instead of Everything Sucks it might be an Everything is Awesome like the damn Lego Movie song. I find it hilariously amusing that we both might have blogs that constantly bitch about what the other has written where I constantly shit over everything and he constantly talks about how amazing everything is and how terribly wrong I am. Not in a seriously conflicting way, more like “Mr. Negative Guy said this, but he’s wrong. Me being Mr. Positive, I say this.” And so on. Like Yin and Yang having a discussion or something.

I really hope he doesn’t read this rambly post. I sure as hell aren’t going to send him a link to it, that’s for sure.

But sometimes I wonder if I am too negative. Obviously the blog is called Everything Sucks but maybe by constantly framing things in a way to show how they suck this has embedded itself into my head where I’m actually more pessimistic than I normally would be. I know art resembles and reflects on life and art also informs life, but I’m not living or writing a horror story here; I’m just blogging. I don’t get how blogging in a negative way can get under my skin too much, but maybe it can. I don’t have anywhere else to go from here than simply wondering about it. And I think that’s it. Thanks for sticking around for this aimless post.

The Little Mermaid Sucks

Goddamn this entire topic is stupid. Initially I was pissed over the entire “debate” about what race Ariel should be in the upcoming live-action Little Mermaid movie, but the more I thought about it the more pissed I became at social media and people in general. Without social media people probably wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth over something so fucking trivial, pointless, and stupid. I think the “debate” of the Little Mermaid casting choice isn’t the actual problem here: it’s just a symptom of the “outrage culture” that is enabled by social media and especially Facebook. It’s nearly a perfect example of how social media can whip people into a frenzy over something that isn’t a big deal at all.

Let’s also not lie here: this is currently a Hot Fucking Topic and I want to rake in viewers/readers/subscribers while the going is still good. Let me in on all the drama while things are still hot. You know people will totally forget about this in a week so time is of the essence.

To recap a bit: Disney loves making stupid-ass live action movies lately. I’m assuming there are a few reasons for this. They’re cheap to make (they don’t need to make a totally new movie), they can capitalize on nostalgia, and who the fuck knows, maybe Disney is simply getting lazy lately. Either way they’re churning out live actions films that no one really seems to actually be asking for and The Little Mermaid is one of the upcoming ones. Whatever.

Apparently people are going rabid over the fact that Ariel — a white girl in the original film — is now being played by a black girl. HOLY FUCK GUYS, HOL UP! There are a wide-range of arguments going around both for and against this choice: Originalists want Ariel to be white simply because she was white in the animated movie. Fair enough. These people have no real racist motivations to be against a black Ariel, they just think the remake should be as close to the original as possible. Other socially progressive people think that, sure, an African Ariel is also okay as it really doesn’t matter who the hell plays a goddamn mermaid: it is just a movie. I suppose I can see a little truth in each sides’ arguments (At least the typical ones I’ve heard. There are a few raving racists talking about “white culture” being stolen by blacks or some shit like that, but fuck those guys.) but have stayed mostly neutral over it because it is the stupidest thing you could ever argue about (besides the color of a striped dress. Those were the good ole days).

A realistic depiction of “dolphin Ariel.”

Let’s also visit what is being discussed real quickly: the race of a mermaid. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but mermaids aren’t real. If you want to really get technical, an aquatic human/fish hybrid probably wouldn’t have any pigment in their skin at all and might look the color of a damn dolphin, once again, if they actually did exist. They wouldn’t be white or black but a kinda cloudy-day-grey color if they actually did exist. This is just me guessing by the way. The fact that people are pissed over the race of a mythical creature is insane. It’s like being pissed if someone put a blue unicorn in a movie. “But unicorns aren’t blue!!!!” What fucking color would they be then? (I think a blue unicorn makes sense: it would have perfect camouflage for flying in the sky. This could help the species evade it’s natural predator, the fire-breathing dragon. Dragons would also probably be blue for the exact same reason lions are orangish.)

Another reason I’ve heard against an African Ariel is some overarching idea that Disney only made this choice for politically correct/public relation reasons, sort of pandering to others so they company appears “racially conscious” or something like that. Implicit in this is the idea that Disney is pandering to a minority of people (blacks) at the expense of pissing off a majority of people (whites). This belief states there is a right and a wrong choice by equating Disney’s pandering with a lack of sound financial reasoning. Basically if Disney really wanted to make a ton of money — according to this line of thought — they wouldn’t piss off white people by making Ariel black. But this doesn’t make sense if you think it through: Disney is a huge, take-over-the-world type of company that (especially since they’re publicly traded, ticker of DIS) wants to rake in as much cash as possible. This is literally their job and they have tons of resources to allow them to do this as effectively as possible. Disney has a small army of smart, talented, mathematically-inclined people accompanied by sociologists and researchers collecting tons of data and doing surveys to find out the exact risk/reward of a black Ariel and have found that it is a net positive for the company. If anything pissing off white people and making Ariel black clearly makes the best financial choice because this is what they decided to do. Disney is in this to make money, and they’re not going to take some feel-good, PR/PC choice if it will lose them money. I honestly think this choice will not backfire on them in any way.

I suppose I view the entire issue as Disney’s choice/problem anyways. They own the rights to the movie so could cast a fucking Indian midget for all I care. I mean it wouldn’t make sense to me, but it’s their movie so fuck it, they’ll do what they want to do. While Disney (the huge company) isn’t a genuine artist (what with all of that money-raking/keeping shareholders happy thing going on), I put all artistic decisions on the artist. It’s their work and they’re in control of whatever they want to do. They are beholden to no one because that’s not how art works. Not that a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is necessarily high art but you get the idea.

And to bring this back around, it’s probably social media’s fault anyways. It is the venue where all of this bullshit drama can actually take place: people wouldn’t get this fired up if they had to actually have a conversation about it. I imagine a conversation would go something like this: an Originalist would say “I think Ariel should be white — not because I have anything against black people — but simply because she was white in the original.” And the other person could say “Hmm. I guess I understand that, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals of the story. It isn’t hurting anything for her to be black. It gives black girls someone to identify with.” And they could agree to disagree with a little appreciation for the opposing view. On social media it’s just posting/sharing foaming-at-the-mouth posts that just piss everyone off who disagrees with you. As always there is no real conversation and is just people shouting what their beliefs to others. We pick our sides, start posting/screaming, and hope to drown out the opposite view through shear force and the consensus of the crowd.

And then there’s me: a person who is complaining about people complaining about a silly topic on social media. The irony isn’t lost on me either so no need to point this out. If you guys want to start a dumpster fire in the comments below or on this blogs Facebook page with your Hot Opinions, go right ahead. It’ll be fun to watch. The Little Mermaid Sucks.

Facebook Sucks: Anonymity and the Futility of Chasing “Likes”

Note: This is another “chapter” from my “upcoming ebook” on why Facebook Sucks. It seemed like it would fit well enough here so here ya go. Once again it is pretty rambly but whatever.

I’m a huge fan of the social media website Reddit. If you really want to check it out here’s the link (You lazy fucks. Google it yourself). They also have an app if you’re one of those people. Others on Reddit say the app is kinda shitty so do what you want. The thing I really like about Reddit after the dedicated subreddits for any and everything is the fact that it’s a semi-anonymous site and they pull it off beautifully. You might think that being fully-anonymous or non-anonymous would win out on any pro/con analysis but I don’t think this is true. Let me elaborate.

The shitty website called 4chan is totally anonymous: you post stuff and no one knows it’s you. This is nice in a way because you can be your unabashed self. If you discovered as a teen that you really like hentai and furry-porn, you can indulge your hearts (or any other body parts) content on 4chan and no one will judge you for it. Sure people might judge the graphic tentacle monster and underage anime girl you posted, but they can’t judge you as an individual person with an identity. They can’t say “Did you see what Jimmy posted the other day? Holy Fuck he’s strange.” You’re simply free to post and comment whatever you want. Obviously this comes with the downside that when people are free in anonymity they can say some really hateful, racist, homophobic, and other -phobic ideas (LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!). 4chan isn’t a website for the faint-of-heart.

Facebook, on the other hand, has the opposite problem where you have no anonymity. Sure there are some people with fake profiles, but I think for the most we are ourselves on Facebook. Since your Facebook profile is a representation and projection of your real self you have to worry about your “internet self-image” or some shit like that that sounds really stupid when you write it out. If you are the aforementioned furry-porn enthusiast you might not be able to represent that facet of yourself to you boss, grandma, pastor, wife, mother, or whoever else you’re friends with. You’re restricted in what you can be open about and this restriction is a huge downside with any form of social media. In our normal IRL selves we already have this restriction so extending it to social media doesn’t help any form of self-expression.

The upside to not being anonymous is the fact that you can have a “record” of your social media exploits, i.e. how many “likes” and “shares” you get and (usually) other people can see this. Sites like 4chan have no way to track your “progress” because you’re anonymous. This is where Reddit really shines with its semi-anonymity: you are a person with a username, although this isn’t connected to your IRL self at all. You can collect “points” (in the form of something called “karma”) and see how popular your comments and posts are by how many “upvotes” you’ve gotten. In short you and others get to see a “record” of what your profile has accomplished, how popular you are, and some redditors on their respective subreddits are nearly famous in the quality content they create. Reddit lets you be a person that is free to act however you want but also gives you an identity to work with all without the worry of committing a “social media faux pas” of posting furry/tentacle porn on your Facebook page.

People on Reddit joke about “fake internet points” aka “karma” and they’re totally right with the terminology. It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate “karma,” “likes,” or “shares” at all (or whatever form the “fake internet points” take on your favorite website), and in all objectivity these things are totally fucking pointless. But for some reason knowing your shitpost on r/WallStreetBets has gotten 5,000 upvotes makes you feel like you’re progressing as a socially-adept human or something. I really think Facebook would be much more addictive and potent if they had a “total reaction and share” counter for your posts so you have one or two really quick and concrete numbers to see how popular you are with your Hot Facebook Opinions and Influencing Posts. Then the whole point of Facebook then would really be to shitpost your way to more Internet Points and you’d have a counter for it.

What I’m trying to get to in a roundabout way is how chasing these fake internet points is a hollow sort of pursuit and one that doesn’t fulfill you in any meaningful way. In a way everything is kinda pointless and chasing money, degrees, fancy cars, sexual partners or anything is really the same level of pointlessness (in the grand scheme of the universe) as anything else. Probably everyone as an edgy teenager has had this extremely nihilistic outlook but quickly abandons it because of the inability to actually function in life when you think that everything is, in the end, pointless. Eventually you reach a point where you know that everything is pointless but you need to do something in your life because you can’t just not exist to spite the universe. Mostly because the universe doesn’t give a fuck about you.

So what makes farming for Facebook “likes” less fulfilling than actual IRL progress? For me it is the amount of self-fulfillment you get out of actually doing something difficult. As stated, Facebook is like a lazy-man’s form of social interaction and social interaction that is as easy as typing shit on a screen isn’t going to be as satisfying as actual interaction. Consider talking to a romantic interest: it’s really easy to just send a creepy Facebook message and slide into those DMs, but it’s immensely difficult to actually talk to them. So when you actually do go out of your way to talk like a real person does, you feel so much better for it. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. Actually interacting with people is almost always more satisfying than “interacting” on social media even if it is something trivial.

Another thing I noticed is that getting “likes” or “shares” is a pursuit on its own. Getting a college degree is the final product of years of hard work and I think we like to think of farming internet points as a “final goal” but really those are like the “years of hard work” with the caveat that it doesn’t actually have a final goal. What I’m trying to say is that farming Facebook “likes” has no end: you’re always chasing the next accomplish in getting “likes” and other forms of social media approval. There will never be a point to where you’ve “succeeded” at having “likes” on Facebook. You’re never finished chasing the social media approval of others.

What happens is you get addicted and accustomed to the upward climbing views/shares/likes/upvotes on your posts and you start to think that this is like a rule or a law or something. You might think that you’re just that cool of a person and people really like you. You naturally want these numbers to continually grow forever so when they don’t — when you post something that isn’t quite a popular as the rest — you feel like a failure. Did you do something wrong? Do people not like you anymore? Are you socially not part of “the cool crowd?” You might even put more effort into carefully crafting the next Successful Post and if that’s successful, congrats, you’ve temporarily saved your mood. If that fails, well, you just feel like a fucking failure.

The YouTube channel Veritasium recently had a great video explaining this phenomena in terms of YouTube burnout. In short he argues that as the YouTube algorithm changes, popular YouTubers find that they aren’t popular anymore. This is totally outside their control and while they have been making quality content non-stop have taken to blaming themselves for the lack of “quality” or “getting away from their roots” or something that is their fault. While the problem of chasing Facebook approval isn’t at the mercy of an algorithm (as much) like YouTube the main points are still the same; people get used to increasing approval and popularity and when it wanes people feel like shit and blame themselves. This is true in almost any pursuit but the fact that this can happen so quickly in regards to social media approval is scary. Like athlete or a writer might take years and decades to really “peak” while you could find a “social media approval” peak in a month or two. Then you can repeat the cycle over and over as you never learn your lesson.

The problem with “likes” being your pursuit is that it is too easy to let the growing approval get into your head. There’s nothing to moderate the addiction. When you get this mindset — consciously or unconsciously — you will never be satisfied. If you had a wildly successful post you will crave the next successful post and do everything you can to top the last one. This is true with everything, but the accessibility of this in terms of Facebook “likes” is especially dangerous to the average person. We get corrupted by the idea that we might be the next big YouTuber or influencer that we put much more time, effort, and energy into something that will eventually, certainly let us down and is in the end pretty fucking pointless. They are just Fake Internet Points as Redditors jokingly call them.

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.

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.