Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tech Tuesday: Is Facebook Just a Variation on the Chicken Soup Franchise? No, It Is Probably Worse, the Real Reason Trump Is Being Tarred This Week

In 2002 I attended what purported to be a three-hour success seminar by Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. His presentation, demeaning manner and arrogance were more than annoying. For example, he bragged about needing to make two million dollars a year to break even. The experience, which an auditorium of people forked over $75 to each to hear, was so odious to me that I ended up writing a story for The Reader Weekly, "Chicken Soup for the Ripped Off Person's Soul," which I re-published on my blog in 2008.

During his talk he affirmed that he and co-author Jack Canfield were in the Guinness Book of World Records for the speed at which they produced books. But what is the process for feeding this revenue machine? The Chicken Soup books are generated by OPC (Other Peoples' Content).

Most writers have probably seen at one time or another announcements about upcoming themes that Hansen & Canfield are looking for stories about. In 2002 they would pay $100 a story, which has grown to $200 a story today (I believe). In other words, everyone contributes and is rewarded a little while The Machine (Chicken Soup Franchise) rakes in a fortune.

This past week it dawned on me that to some extent that is what Facebook is doing. Except that their machine doesn't pay people to create the content. We all contribute content because our reward is... sharing our photos, our ideas, and connecting with friends. And in the case of FB there are two billion contributors.

How Facebook Differs from Chicken Soup
Now where Facebook differs from the Chicken Soup Franchise (CSF) is in this. Facebook acquires all your information, everything about yourself that you have willingly shared. They have massive quantities of data on each of us, and they sell it to Marketers so that marketers can get very very targeted in their online advertising.

Here's one article: The Price of Free. In fact, here is a whole page of links to articles about how FB uses the info it gathers about us.

So why does the Washington Post make such a big stink about Donald Trump using Facebook data in his campaign to get elected? As anyone in the business knows, the Dems and GOP machinery have maintained data on everybody for as long as it has been possible. Those targeted ads that we see on FB don't show up in our margins because they are guessing.

When Billy Graham died this past month I wrote a blog post (that I ultimately didn't post) about a time when one of his writers gave me a tour of the Billy Graham Association facility in Minneapolis. He brought me in to the Rev. Graham's office and showed me his roll-top desk. I proceeded to do a Google search for pictures of roll-top desks and downloaded a specific image that looked like the one I remembered. From that moment on I have been seeing ads for roll-top desks both on Facebook and elsewhere. This doesn't happen by accident.

Someone shared with me how two years ago Trump's team worked hand-in-glove with Facebook and Twitter to learn how to optimize their marketing efforts in those two channels. It's what all the big businesses are doing. If marketers don't attend those big FB and Google sessions themselves, then they hire consultants who have been in California at the events, building ties to the smartest guys in the room.

The title of this post is my longest ever, and probably could have been shortened to "Much Ado About Nothing." But I'd done that, you might think I'm talking about Shakespeare, and when we talk about Old Bill we immediately go to thoughts about Bob Dylan, and that controversy as to whether he should received a Nobel Prize. So let's not go there.

Enjoy the day.

Related Link
JAN 12—Zuckerburg says FB focus is the user's well-being.


LEWagner said...

Regarding: "JAN 12—Zuckerburg says FB focus is the user's well-being."

If "the user's well-being" is the FB focus, then FB should start responding directly to user complaints.

But it does not. It has removed posts and banned users for 3, 7, or 30 days, without giving any opportunity whatsoever for the user to appeal the removal or the ban.

Also, if a user posts the same link as a comment in more than one place within a certain time limit (it seems to be 24 hours), FB will automatically delete that link as "spam", no matter how relevant the link may be to the subject being discussed. FB does not even ask the opinion of the person whose post the comment containing the link is being deleted from, but deletes the link unilaterally.

Once in a while we have noticed that FB does inform the original poster that a comment has been deleted, and asks him/her if he/she would like that comment restored. But in most cases, the original poster is not even notified.

Many of us have taken to using a (dot com), instead of a .com, which of course brings link-sharing back to about the level of the 1990's -- but at least that method makes the link available to someone who is interested in seeing it.

Actually, rather than focusing on "the user's well-being", FB focuses on attempting to quash discussion and exposure of transparent government and mainstream media lies and cover-ups.

Most people and nearly all mainstream media outlets self-censor, of course, but there are some of us who feel a sense of urgency to wake the people up to what is clearly coming: more and more brutal government oppression and injustice, with the USA is becoming more and more like occupied Palestine every day.

FB makes it as difficult as possible for us to do that. Zuckerburg would much prefer that everyone post doggy and kitty pictures, and exchange favorite recipes and criticism of art, literature and music.

I remember when we Wagner three were kids, my dad had us read a book for our nightly Bible study time, called, "In His Steps". That book asked the question, "What would Jesus do", and challenged the reader to think of that question in every situation.

As I remember it well over a half-century later, that book was mostly concerned with us not missing church on Sunday and not going into movie theaters or bars ... but I have always tried to keep that theme question in mind, and wonder what Jesus would have done in the face of Zuckerburg and our lying (and murderous) government.

Ed Newman said...

Yes, a lot of it is puppies and kitties.
Puppies = Chicken Soup = more money for rich people who already have more than they know what to do with.