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Step Down, Facebook

Facebook, I don’t like your tone. You’ve taken to sending me messages declaring, “The (insert current number here) people who like Ellen Morris Prewitt: My Very Southern Voice haven’t heard from you in a while. Write a post.”

Note the arrogance. Not “Perhaps it’s time to write a post” or “Are you interested in connecting with your followers today?” but an imperative order: “Write a post.”

The very idea.

I don’t need this kind of bullying from an inanimate program.

What, one might ask, is it to Facebook if I post or not? Well, when I do write a post, they bombard me with suggestions that I boost the post. How do you boost a post? Buy a paid ad. $. Yep, that’s the root of this intrusive, commanding nonsense.

If I don’t immediately buy an ad, the FOMO psychological tactic is released. “OTHER people are boosting posts like this,” Facebook whispers. “Why don’t you try it?”

When I ignore the enticement, FB turns its back and saunters away. “Oh, well. Don’t blame me when every other author on FB has millions of sales and your poor literary baby lies neglected, crying and starving for attention.”

FB is tough, tough.

Though at times it can choose flattery. “Nice work!” it chirps, reminding me of my response to the grandson’s pooping. “Your post is performing well.” Then the veil of sincere congratulation is ripped away, and the knife of cold, crass profit is thrust into my soft flesh: “Boost it to reach more people.”

To repeat: Boosts are ads. They cost $. They make FB $. It’s all about the $.

FB bullies me about “Likes” on my page too. “So-and-so reacted to your link but doesn’t like your page yet. Send him an invite.”

Send him your own damn invite.

Plus, I don’t think they know what the hell they’re talking about. I guaran-damn-tee you some of the folks they’re telling me to invite already like my page. But I can’t actually tell you because they provide me aggravated data, not names. (If you know this to be incorrect, please tell me, ’cause then I’ll find out who really likes my page and harass the hell out of those lollygaggers to get with the program. Kidding.)

Oops, erase that last rant. Sooner or later, FB is sure to do exactly what I’ve said: automatically send an invite to anyone who reacts to a post but hasn’t liked the page yet. Unaware it’s an automated program harassing them, the recipient will assume I’m a needy, grasping person, and then I’ll blame FB, and then they’ll think I’m not only needy and grasping, I’m a whiner person who shirks responsibility too.

So, yeah, I’ve spent the last two days drafting a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of Model for Deception: A Vangie Street Mystery, the next novel I’ll be releasing, and it’s an exhausting task that demands you jump from details to big theme analysis, and I’m taking out my frustration on Facebook.

Sniff. Might not do it if they were nicer to me.

Enjoy this great chicken swag a friend sent me in response to TRACKING HAPPINESS: A SOUTHERN CHICKEN ADVENTURE

Comments (14)

  • Suzanne Smith Henley

    Dear fb,
    Leave Ellen the fuck alone.

    Ellen, I have enjoyed every single one of your posts – – I particularly liked the ones about pulling over for funeral processions and about the smells of summer. What I do not like, however, is having to fill out my name and particularly my email address for every comment. I don’t know that there is a solution to this but, if there is a shortcut, please let me know and I will leave more comments. Aha! It just let me go click click on auto fill-in! Hooray!

  • My wife and I are noticing these “helpful hints” more and more, and it’s getting sickening. Facebook and other social media are all about clicks and keeping you on their platform for advertising revenue. But I’m also noticing how modern software simply “assumes” how you want things set up or installed and makes it hard to reconfigure from the default. Just the other day I got angry at One Drive for “organizing” my recent trip pictures automatically into categories such as “afternoon in location x” and so on! Arrgh!

    • I gave in once and boosted the page. A third of the new “Likes” I got were fake people. Then FB sent me a summary–look at all the new likes you got; boost it again! So all I did was infect my page with fake accounts. 🙁

  • They want you to write a post, because then they won’t show it to your followers and fans. That way they can later (within the hour most likely), send you a new message/alert saying that you should pay them to boost your post.

    Do you remember the time when Mr Facebook was called before a committee (not sure what it was, I’m not from the US), and a senator asked him how on Earth could Facebook be free and still make money for its shareholders? Do you remember Mr FB’s reaction? He pressed his lips, desperately trying to hold back giggles (I’m sure of it), and replied, “Senator, we run ads.”

    That’s why they want you (and me) to write more posts 😉

    • I so agree. It’s been a trajectory of “You can’t use your personal account to sell” “Set up a page” “Post on your page” “We won’t put your post in anyone’s feed unless you boost it.” And when the boost I did give into and buy ends, they immediately send a message: BOOST AGAIN! The funniest thing, which I’m enjoying right now, is FB constantly asking me to boost THIS post. I don’t think they really want that. 🙂

      • It almost makes one wonder, what’s the point of FB’s suggestion to invite friends to like a page, when virtually none of those invited will ever see anything from that page.

        One way to circumvent that (albeit partially) is to figure out a way to engage your audience with a post from that page. I mean, REALLY engage them. Then, future posts on that page will garner a greater non-boosted audience (obviously from those who had previously liked and engaged with that page).

        However, that means that you would have to spend more time and energy on FB (great for Mr FB because of the ads they will serve you) but less time creating.

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