Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts

Tuesday 11 April 2023

How to make Lots of Money

Snake Oil Sales on Social Media

The notion of somebody selling a bottle of snake oil to remedy all of your ailments has been around for many decades. There are stories of men (usually) who travelled the country making a fortune selling potions to unwary suckers. When found out many were then chased out of town or hung from the nearest tree.

Modern day versions of this include Ponzi schemes, #TrumpUniversity, and Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos company to name a few.

In my youth which was long before personal smart devices or even PCs and their ancestral monster computers, there were only a few forms of media and little of it was "social". For personal entertainment you listened to radio programs, watched basic TV with limited channels and programming choice, and read real newspapers, magazines, comics, and books. Failing that you played board games and cards.

But here is the thing: even then the snake oil salespeople were alive and well!
In the back of nearly all newspapers and magazines were "want" adds - similar to today's Kijiji, Amazon, and Craig's list. There were countless ads which told you that this or that person had made a fortune. Just send $19.99 to receive the secret. Then you too would become a millionaire - a LOT of money back then.

Although I never subscribed, the "secret" was usually along the lines of this: place an ad in a magazine or paper promising to tell your secret for only "X" dollars to be sent (snail mail) in a self-addressed, stamped envelope - just like I did! It was not a lie since thousands of suckers complied and the advertiser did make money. There was no product or service. That's what made it similar to the snake oil scheme.

Today there are blogs and videos by the thousands all doing something similar. In the last week I must have been interrupted five times by ads for 5 different people all claiming to tell me a secret (some secret!) They had made $3,000 in the first week or $10,000 in a month. It was now a full time job from home and one pulled in $4 million the first year. Every one claimed to have found a loop hole or exposure in YouTube that allowed you to make this money using videos produced by others! My fist thought was that things never change. Only the medium.

One common element - these were all younger people apparently too lazy to get a real job.

It doesn't stop there. Thousands of others are going to reveal the secrets of Search Engine Optimization and how to be a "content" creator in demand by all the big companies. I guess there are still enough snakes to perpetuate this market - and suckers to fall for it.

Again these are young people who apparently appointed themselves as experts in their fields. They often look like they are still in high school. If there are some who can prove that they have big name companies as clients - more power to them. However most of their websites are constructed to keep you clicking. "Subscribe to my channel." "Sign up for my newsletter". "Buy my book or merchandise." If they are rich it is probably from all the Google ads and others constantly interrupting you if you DO click further.

At least it is not illegal; they are not pushing drugs or stealing cars; and nobody is forcing you to fork out the cash. To get a feel for what I am talking about just try to find out what "content provider" means. Be prepared to do a lot of surfing. I was going to finish by saying "Just don't get caught by the tide".

There is a good example. How long has Tide been running essentially the same commercial? How many new improved versions can they invent? Despite all the changes and pushback about the stereotyped role for females in society - there she is. The amazed and smiling home maker showing off her clean laundry.

At least Tide has real products. Now excuse me. My washer just completed the last rinse cycle using - you guessed it!


Sunday 26 March 2023

Digital Blackface: the Modern Minstrel Show

Are you Guilty of Digital Blackface?

Try them - you won't have to read the entire pieces although they are good reads. These describe a term which is new to me: #DIGITAL BLACKFACE. Many white people will scoff at the term claiming that people of colour are being too sensitive.

I am white and I think I understand the term better... for now. I guarantee you the list of inclusions will expand. The best description I have seen is that this is the modern version of the old minstrel shows. Google "Al Jolson" if you don't know what they were - popular way back in the 19th century. They were wrong then and would cause riots today.

If I address a black guy (can I use that word?) as Bro or I say 'Sup is that Blackspeak? If he addresses me the same way and I respond in kind - same question.

For years many white writers and journalists made fun of Yogi Berra for his famous "It ain't over 'till it's over" and "Pair up in threes!". There is even an expression now which is Yogi-isms. President George W. Bush probably generated a similar list. 

If we quote them is this "Whiteface?" My wife often watches the Kelly Clarkson show and almost every day Kelly addresses the audience as "Y'all". I think she has recently introduced the term. To Canadians like me it grates on the ears but to millions of people in the south it is everyday "speak". Is Kelly using Southern Face?

Sometimes on certain talk shows a panelist is of colour and speaks in a very expressive manner. They appear to be acting - the emotion sounds artificial. I often wonder if I woke the same person in the middle of the night would they really speak the same way? Yet I see other shows where no panelist is of colour and I want to say the same thing! People express emotion in different ways.

Language and expression are results of many factors - culture; parental influence; religion; peer pressure; and for sure education.

That last one stands out for me. People - in particular white people - have looked down their noses at almost everyone else for centuries. Entire societies have perpetuated classes and castes to guarantee that the privileged few at the top stay there. South African Apartheid was a blatant example - so was established North America. One of the paths to the top if you are not born there is education. If those in control deny it to the masses precisely to preserve the status quo the problem will always exist. If you have never experienced this - I have not - don't mock Blackface.

Controversial perhaps but education also reflects the way we express ourselves  regardless of colour, age, or race. Many young kids including white ones choose to leave school early. They don't like it and want to be free as soon as they can. Lots find trades or other jobs and live great lives - good for them. Others sell drugs and enter the criminal world - not so good for them or the rest of us.

I have become aware of my own language and grammar because I actually enjoyed it in primary school. 
Some have called me arrogant or conceited because of the way I express myself. Others have accused me of showing no emotion or passion. Both hurt. I would like people to accept me as I am the same way we should accept others the way they are. No Blackface or ridicule please.

Because I am white I can only say I think I understand this phenomenon. I will never experience the feelings and realities of discrimination that others still live every day.

You are reading this digitally. I hope it is not full of Digital Whiteface. If so please comment below. No names necessary.


Tuesday 26 October 2021

Facebook and Social Media have no heart!

Why #Facebook and others profit from Emotion

Facebook is in the news again - and other networks. Why? The claim is that there is too much harm done to individuals and then to groups of those individuals by what they see and read on such provider sites.

Let's face it, in news negative has always sold more than positive. Before social media, phones, or computers, fires, shootings, disasters, divorces, wars, UFO sightings and other topics sold magazines and newspapers. Occasionally a moon landing or big lottery win made the front page and when they did they were quickly replaced. Thus is the morbid nature of the average person's curiosity.

The same goes for conspiracies. Again - before computers were common - the JFK assassination was and still is popular because conspiracies prevailed. Roswell, UFOs, and the death of Diana were similar. Everyone wants to prove that their favored conspiracy is the right one. Social Media supports this desire perfectly.

We have probably all heard of "rabbit holes". Facebook in particular is exceptional at creating them. A person clicks on one article or conspiracy and the "algorithm" immediately fires another at them for consumption. It begins to appear that such negative stories are dominating the news when they are not.

If you click on a positive story or just a personal interest or pastime, you will again receive dozens of similar stories. This might be a good thing if it makes you feel good. Facebook does not know and does not care.

As we all know both promote more clicking and each new page provides more potential advertising revenue for Facebook. Is this breaking the law? Not yet. Zuckerberg claims that it is all a matter of free speech.

Here is the problem: what these algorithms can NOT do and likely never will, is assess the emotion the reader feels whether positive or negative. They would claim that the reader is consuming more of those articles in the rabbit hole presumably because he/she wants to. That is the core problem. A click is not always an indicator that you like the content. You might actually hate it but hate is a negative emotion and as agreed above, it sells more. People are psychologically drawn to it.

When the reader - especially a young one - is already feeling badly about something like their self-image, the rabbit hole can turn into a grave. People with pre-existing feelings of rage begin to act upon that rage.

Despite false claims to the contrary, that was at the heart of January 6th and other violent uprisings.

Algorithms can not feel or measure emotion. The question is whether their creators - and their top executives can or even want to. If an algorithm is capable of judging that a second article is similar to the first, surely it can return a different article with an opposing view or topic. Maintain a taboo list - subjects like self-image; depression; drug availability; guns and so many more. Do NOT return similar articles. It would be a start. Why not try it?

Mark you are by all measures extremely rich. Take a page from Bill Gates and start to give back.


Monday 4 October 2021

Facebook, Social Media etc.

Social Media has become the Unsocial Media

Here we go again - headlines about The Donald returning to Twitter. Should he be restored or not? I vote a big NO. He is but one example of bad that can occur on these platforms. There is a much bigger picture here.

Personally I am not a big fan - of Trump OR social media. That is just me. Donald generates news to be sure however this controversy is only the tip of the iceberg. Is social media a good thing or not and if not what can be done to make it better? The majority will probably say it is a good thing.

Electronic media from the time of the first email networks and since have just become more immediate - many now in real time. What has not changed is the tendency for people to write things that they would not say face to face. Anonymity allows people to become brave and brazen when hiding behind an electronic device.

People like Trump, Tucker Carlson, and FOX News in general, know they are spreading lies but don't care. That is their bad. In some cases, legitimate corporations do rein them in. Part of the bad is that these "news" celebs know what kind of audience will get fired up by what they say - the lemmings of society.

Free speech is important in a democracy. It is cherished and fundamental in America. That is not always a good thing - hate mongering is an example. That should be restricted and come with negative consequences for the guilty.

The problem here is that the lemmings mentioned above, also are the ones who become violent without any true factchecking of what they have been fed. It is like throwing chunks of beef to a school of sharks or piranha. That is the reason that Trump should be kept on a short lease. He tosses the chunks and knows where the fish reside. America does not need any more Jan. 6 incidents. Trump and his crew would instigate another in an instant - and probably will.

Now I am focusing on the Trump example again. What I am really trying to portray is that social media has just accelerated the apparent insatiable need for many people to be FIRST to hear something and then pass it on. The content and its impact don't matter anymore as long as you are first. This is the same thing that has always driven Hollywood and celebrity gossip. It is some peoples' prime entertainment. Try this: read a good book and then pass THAT on.

Imagine the following analogy and we have seen some examples almost as extreme. Some poor soul is on a rooftop or bridge contemplating jumping. There was a time when everyone would be united in trying to de-escalate the situation and talk the person down. Now half of the onlookers would only be there to video the jump and the horror after the body hits the ground. Then the race to be first would be on - first on Facebook; first to text to a "friend"; first scoop to a paying media company.

What has happened to people? Every person with a phone is now both a paparazzi and a shark . Is social media the cause or was it always in people just waiting to come to the surface? I suspect both are true.