Same Old Shit

PageWhen do you reach the end of the Internet? In eight years on Social Media, I’ve watched it change – from friendship and sharing all over the world, to place where people have forgotten their manners. Not everybody, by all means, but enough to leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth. I’ve watched advertising saturate everything, all of it becoming more and more ‘targetted’ leaving less room for creativity and fun. In my earliest days on Twitter, everything was new and original – and I’m not sure if that’s because everything was new and original, or if it’s because I just hadn’t seen it before. Somewhere between the two, I suspect…

…but Social Media has make the world a smaller place, for better or for worse.

And this week, I think I’ve reached the edge of something that once seemed infinite. I’m seeing the same memes and jokes and cat videos turning up on FB and Pinterest time and time again. As Matt Dillon said, take the same meme, slap a Minion and a funny slogan on it, and hey! Clickbait win. And because Twitter is regulated and all about the numbers, and because FB and Pinterest now place the most popular posts, or the posts they think you’ll like best, at the top, I’m even seeing things I posted myself a couple of years ago – coming back to haunt me like last night’s curry.

livesAll the spontaneity has gone. Like the High Street being the same shops in every bloody town, like blockbuster films having the same plots and character archetypes, so the Interwebz has become the same jokes in every feed.

because it’s safe, I suppose, Guaranteed sales, guaranteed bums on seats, and guaranteed Likes.

I rather like that Instagram is the exception. While there are third party apps that will repost from your timeline, it’s not something that I often see. Sarah Langton comments that it’s immediately personal, and used by a lot of artists – who absolutely want original content and to keep their own content original. (Not sold by someone else for ninety grand, thank you). It’ a great showcase for their graphic design.

And it’s a great showcase for fun content. It’s always new. Okay, you might have to to face a lot of pictures of clouds and cats, but at least they’re different every time.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why it’s become so successful – it’s the only thing that seems to have escaped the common-denominator-saturation of everything else.

And thanks to Craig for the inspiration. I’ll never look at SOS the same way…

Facebook Author Pages

information_overload 2

What are they? What’re they for? If you’re a high profile figure – you’re one of the GRRMs or the JKRs for the world then fairy nuff, they’re a way to keep your public updated with book news, your page manager in chips and beer, and to save yourself a job when you’ve got important stuff to do. But what if you haven’t had a Theme Park named after you main character? What if you’re a normal mortal who happens to have written some books? All the ‘Author as Brand’ speechifying in the world doesn’t actually answer the question.

You know that your humble Author Page has been cruelly rogered by Facebooks’s algorithm changes. Now, only a few see it, and those few are probably your friends and family who (bless them) are now seeing everything twice. Plus, if you’ve Read your Social Media Handbook you’re now posting this crap on your blog, hoarding pictures on your Pinterest, and posting shit on Twitter, Goodreads, Google +, and Instagram (#authors #authorsofinstagram #books #writing #fucksake), and so on…

With so many channels of noise surrounding us, it’s very easy to saturate your own media – there’s a subtle art is knowing what to post on which stream, and how to differentiate the content so your trusty Uncle Bob isn’t seeing the same updates everywhere he looks…

But when you have the same platform/layout and potential content twice? How does that work?

I’m asking a lot of questions. And Social Media professional that I may be (tooting my own, sorry), I honestly don’t know the answer. I’ve decided, however, to just jump in and give it a go – focus on writing things, on current and new projects, and on doing… not ‘Author as Brand’ (I’ve seen that abused FAR too much) but ‘Author as Friend’, perhaps in the spirit of the old community that used to exist on LiveJournal. It may not work on the platform, I don’t know. People may not see the updates and lose interest, I don’t know. I may vanish up my own backside in a swirl of pretentiousness, or lose interest myself and go back to updating every other bloody site, I don’t know.

But I’m going to give it a try.

If you’re interested, you can find me on Facebook as Danie Ware.

Facebook and ‘Targeted Advertising’

(Rant Warning!!)

So, Facebook, I’ve changed my relationship status.

Yes, I’m a forty-plus year-old woman, and it now says that horrifying, mortifying word – ‘single’. Apparently, I’ve shifted demographic and found myself in Hell.

No longer am I a happy and successful Mum, career professional, writer, fighter, fitness fanatic; no longer am I exactly what I was a word-replacement ago. That one change, that one little thing, has torn a massive hole in my feminine credibility.

And through it seethe the advertisers, minions of Cthulhu.

I can cope with the dating site ads – I’ve no wish to sign up to Zoosk at the minute, but I understand why they’re there. Fairy snuff.

What really fucking bugs me are these: –

eHarmony – no, I’m not looking for a life-partner. Perhaps I may be in the future, but for the moment, I’m enjoying my independence. Do single guys get eHarmony ads? Or is this the adult version of Jackie magazine – all girls really want is a boyfriend? I think someone’s been watching too much Twilight.

Dress ads for ‘plus’ sizes – when I changed status, I didn’t automatically gain five stone. I could put an upright and a guy line in the dresses you’re offering me and use them as tents. In fact, offering me the tent would far be more sodding useful.

Self-help books – you fucking what now? So, I’m looking for a life-partner while comfort-eating cream cakes and reading ‘How To Start Over Yet Again’. Are you seriously scanning my keywords or have your malfunctioned here?

Wedding advice – this one left me speechless. Because I’m a single woman, I must want to get married. Would this be before or after I fit the size 32 dress?

Fertility treatment – my absolute favourite. It has to be a mistake – I’m single and over forty and it’s offering me what..?! I’m only guessing that after I gain five stone, fit the hot tent-dress, finish the self-help book and get married, then 2.2 children (all right 1.2 children) will complete my life.

Oh look, I’m a formula. That’s so much easier to manage!

Seriously, marketeer or no, this is too much. It’s assumptive, it’s insulting and it skating closely round the edge of outright sexist. Yes, I realise that demographic streamlining has become a part of our existence and that we all get boxed into corners who’s angles don’t fit – but if you’re going to target ads, that for chrissakes target them efficiently.

And that means I’m an individual. I’m exactly the same individual that I was when I had that diamond on my finger.

If this is your ‘targeted advertising’, then you may want to adjust your sights.