As far as I can tell everyone is on Facebook for one reason and one reason only and that is to market. You may have thought “enlightenment,” but no, it’s mongering. Okay, perhaps there are passive types, one or two, that are there only to be marketed to. But even they will eventually be won over to the ease with which one can tout oneself and thereby become a commented superstar. So, what’s everyone marketing? A legitimate question to a serious bit of reductionism. This is by no means scientific, as you would expect for FB related stuff. The only science on that site is done by FB and that’s finely tuned to sucking as much personal information from the network denizens, to then put up for sale to highest bidders. The aim here is not to classify and rank successful post types as is unhelpfully done at one site but, rather, to see how the self-marketing is done.
There is one group, the size of which is not known – at least by me, as I’m sure the FB statisticians know everything, which I’m excluding from consideration, and that’s the moronic crowd. They have yet to understand that a status update/posting is not a private communication between intimates, unless you have only one friend, and it’s not the NSA. (In fairness, there are FB settings to ensure that even postings remain restricted, but if I’m seeing them then they obviously haven’t been used). For example, “I wish you would be more passionate in bed. Your husband must be as disappointed as me.”
Two types of marketing jump out at me: Self and service/product. Of the two, at least in the feeds I see, and excluding the obvious and increasingly pervasive mongering by FB of everything from soft porn to fat enhancing foods, it is self-marketing that takes the prize. In my own quest to build a friend base for marketing I accepted and extended friend requests from and to people I have never and will never actually meet or ever interact with. One such person, a well-known personality, sent me what was obviously a cookie cutter message, specifying that they were on the site for one and only one reason, to market their products and that any messages outside this narrow scope would be ignored. Well, I immediately warmed to this person and knew this was my kind of friend that I would never really have.
Yes, I proudly admit that my only reason for being on FB is to shamelessly market my books and climate change awareness. I suspect that my efforts have not been quite the monster success I had hoped for, particularly regarding the more serious matter of climate change. In this regard, I am thinking of changing tact. Instead of foisting unwanted serious discourse onto my FB friends I shall from now on put a much more personal edge into my status updates. For example, instead of “Caring for Our Parents: It’s Unnatural,” I shall post a photo of a cute kitten and a misleading title of “This Kitten Killed my Parents: Read About Heinous Alien Feline.” Then, perhaps, I may just get the close attention that the self-marketing dreck does.
An article I rather liked, along with 97,743 others, all of eight 10000th of one percent of the FB population, a really teeny tiny number, identifies seven ways to be insufferable on FB. These incisive, worthy of a Neanderthal’s weltanschauung, self-marketing bits of drivel are the most common posts that come across my feed. You may be thinking that this has more to do with my random choice of friends, and you may be right, than a representative sample of FB denizens. Then, I suppose the author who classified this drivel must also have chosen their FB friends in a random fashion. Could be true, but highly doubtful.
If I may, let me boil the seven down to an essential four: pitiful personal details like, where I’m currently eating or with who I’m currently in sexual congress; personal greatness, look at me texting while driving; delusional posting of endless, zero interest personal photos; and, my favourite to hate, the f..king aphorism or cutesy sayings like “I may be piss poor but I’ve got something more powerful: personal integrity,” exactly what the powers that be would like to see the 99% aspire to.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of personal marketing posts turns FB into a home for the trite, unaware, narcissistic and, I suppose, mentally challenged. I wish it were otherwise as FB has the potential to be a tool for enlightenment and the spread of deep ideas. I don’t really know, I fully admit, the reason for the intellectual vacuum that seems to have formed on the pages of FB but if I had to guess I’d go for the possibility, sadly, that all of this is just an extension, with vastly more reach, of what used to happen through traditional email. It’s not FB that has turned much of the world’s population with access to the on line world into seeming idiots (utterly foolish or senseless people), it’s what has always been.