“It is not merely a short cut. It is all these things and something more. It is the guarantee of our self-respect; it is the projection upon the world of our own sense or our own value, our own position, and our own rights. They are the fortress of our traditions, and behind its defences we can continue to feel ourselves safe in the position we occupy.” (Lippman, 1922)
The world has changed. When I first spoke of my studies into Facebook last year, a subversive and post-modern stance was adorned in my quest to figure out just how one integrated and re-presented themselves into an online society. I investigated intrinsically into the process of achieving ‘Likes’ and becoming ‘Like Literate’ on the platform of popularity that is Mark’s universe. It was all in jest, perhaps even for humorous effect, but now, gazing out at the past year, it is evident that the tide has changed – the once unblemished shores of reality now breached. We now see people producing babies as commodities to obtain Likes; we now witness people shaping stories in their lives to create an entertaining online discourse to attract Likes; we now bear witness to ‘TIMELINE‘ – the world’s first time travel device where people have the option to regurgitate life events such as statuses into the shining spotlight of the news-feed. Through the culmination of these various factors we have witnessed an economic upturn where avant-garde users have yielded their revolutionary moment to transfer as many Likes as possible into their swelling accounts. It’s a different world from when I last spoke. It’s quicker. Faster. Perhaps even more sinister.
This is not mere theorizing of an arbitrary nature; all it takes is for a student to study the new phenomenon that is the ‘100 Likes Club‘ – a high-roller group of big-city hot shots who have Likes to burn. Here, have a look at this upper class group below:
Yes, on the crusted soil of this rapidly changing playing field, Facebook entrepreneurs have scaled their way to the top of the Like Ladder leaving others to permeate the solemn slums beneath. A once traditional democratic society has been engulfed with tyranny and a sense of Marxism; some unfortunates trudge solemnly through scores of news-feeds and groups trying hopelessly to produce content of a pecuniary nature, whilst many live it up watching the Likes be rapidly transferred into their Facebook accounts. A clear gulf is emerging where users are being either assigned into the upper bourgeoisie class or the much lesser proletariat class. It may not appear fair on an aesthetic scale, but ultimately this juxtaposition illuminates the changing battleground of Facebook where new factors have made users adapt to the neon-wilderness around them. Some have acclimated to the change and are now getting more Likes than they ever could have imagined in the past; and, of course, some haven’t been able to adapt – leaving them malnourished and dying. Many flee to Twitter – a harsh pilgrimage to an inferior, Like-less universe.
However it is not to fear as I, Mr R Millward, have again conducted my research to help steer you through the tempestuous troubles of being accepted on the internet! I have conducted even more extensive and in-depth research than my 2011 study. Through the academic slog of monitoring contemporary Facebook, I have pulled out all the enmeshed, hidden factors that will enable you to rid the slums in place of luxury and Likes. Get your notebook out and prepare for semester two where we will be evaluating some of the exciting new Facebook battlegrounds such as:
- ‘Mainstream’ Facebook
- The ‘Re-newsfeed’
- The ‘Bullet’
- The ‘Rush hour’
- The ‘Share’
- The ‘Window’
- The ‘Baby’
- Creating ‘Discourse’
The concept of ‘Mainstream Facebook’
Why are nearly all of Rihanna’s songs about love and relations featuring consistent sexual imagery dubbed to a radio-friendly beat? The answer is simple: her producers and song-writers know that the majority of music listeners in the world are casual listeners looking for a ‘nice’ pop song to have on in the background as they drive, dance and browse the internet. Thus this makes her artistic approach, viewed from purely a commodity aspect, the most lucrative one possible. Her and her team aren’t stupid – they know what the mainstream is and this is what has amassed her fortune of 55 million Likes on Facebook. Oh and $60 million dollars elsewhere.
YOU are operating on a vividly similar scale every time you publish some content into the Facebook news-feed. With your instruments of grammar, syntax, humour and Like cookies, you are producing an artistic product to be consumed by your Facebook friends; you walk onto the stage of the news-feed either to sell millions or to flounder and be ignored whilst you claim to be ‘Indie’ or ‘Alternative’. Make no mistake about it, in Facebook society the only way is Likes – and so the credible ‘Indie’ card doesn’t apply in Mark’s universe. And yes, just like music, there are certain ways for you to adapt and integrate your content so that it is picked up by the Facebook ‘Mainstream’ allowing it to get maximum likes! Have a look at the X-ray of the Facebook news feed endoskeleten above. What you glimpse there is a brief snapshot of the activity of Facebook users. Whilst some areas are bustling with activity and likes, others are derelict and exiled – devoid of any Like activity. Here is each section of the Facebook stream explained:
Section A; – This is the mainstream section where the majority of transactions take place; hundreds of Likes a second are being transferred into accounts every time someone discusses a popular Facebook area relevant to your Facebook friends. LEARN THESE AREAS – for me such content to flourish in the mainstream would be: ‘Nandos’, ‘Kittens’, ‘Overdraft’, ‘Uni’, or ‘Colly’ for example.
Section B; – This is the suburban section of the Facebook stream; Likes can be transferred, but most often than not they are hard to come by. Often areas of content from the mainstream fall into the suburban section after becoming ‘dated’ or ‘old’. Again this is highly relevant to the demographic of your Facebook friend list.
Section C; – This is the baron wasteland – a Like-deserted place of drudgery and depression where millions roam hopelessly failing to get Likes as they produce unlike-able, whining content such as ‘What a rubbish day, grrr!”. Generally the users who publish the most content (typically ten statuses a day) are occupants of this desolate wasteland.
All it takes for me to evaluate this point is to journey to the ‘Nandos’ page on Facebook where I have to option to view ‘Friend Activity’. Upon clicking I am greeted with scores of statuses all sporting the word ‘Nandos’ in it. Like Rihanna on Radio 1, it’s clearly evident that Nandos is achieving mass air time throughout my Facebook friends – this has whipped up a hysteria of popularity where many users swimming in the mainstream are seeing Likes being transferred succinctly into their account. Here are a few examples:
The very word ‘Nandos’, whether used positively or negatively, steals stares when it is embedded into the news feed – balance this with solid opinionated text and it is sure to attract the attention of the mainstreamers and their Like guns. As is evident from this visionary research, CONFORM-ation is conformation of Likes in the concept of ‘Mainstream Facebook’. Just remember to always monitor the most-Liked content as “there are certain genres, themes and attributes of comments/statuses that magnet likes off your Facebook audience” (Millward, 2011). If you can conduct a brief ethnography to identify what these mainstream areas of your Facebook friends are, then you will be circumstantially aided in your pursuit of emancipating yourself from the slums and ascending into the upper classes of social networking!
Things to be weary of: The ‘Bullet’
Of course being the place of such intense attention, the mainstream of Facebook, whilst baring host to many potential Likers, also accommodates infidels that look to sabotage your status in any way possible. Unfortunately in a society of proliferate and exponential Likes (most evident in the development of the ‘100 Likes Club‘), this has also evoked a breeding ground of devious users who look to ‘bullet’ your status. The concept of the ‘bullet‘ is a simple one: when a status is newly published into the news-feed, an enemy may try to try to insert a derogative and destructive comment that will thus take the sting out the status; this then continues to drain Likes out the status and, what’s worse, the actual ‘bullet‘ comment may itself begin to accumulate Likes itself! This leads to many users deleting the original well-thought-up status – truly a travesty to the original publisher. It has happened to me before, and I have to admit I have also been inherently guilty of it. I realise this may be a complicated and abstract factor so I, as ever, have illustrated it promptly below.
Luckily for me, through the aggregation of knowledge and quick-thinking, I was able to shield myself sufficiently with a veiled ‘Original Social Commentary Cookie’. This allowed to me to fend off the infidel and achieve extra Likes being transferred into my account. Of course this strong defence is seldom achieved; most often than not a successful infidel will achieve maximum Likes as they watch the complete annihilation of the original status. The best way to protect yourself from infidels is to take note of who your enemies are; from this you can begin to muster together your defence mechanism – this is best done by hiding specific content from potential infidels as seen below.
The imperative thing to remember is that, in an online society of tyranny and Marxism, there will always be sinister and callous enemies out there that will continue to stack their ammunition against you. With the right defence, as made evident here, you should be fully equipped and prepared to step into the news feed without fear, oppression or consternation. Good luck!
i Lippman, Walter. (1922), Public Opinion. Free Press
ii Millward, Ryan. (2011). ‘Part 5 How to be good at Facebook‘. WordPress: Coventry
iii Millward, Ryan. (2011). ‘Part 2 How to be good at Facebook‘. WordPress: Coventry