Facebook’s Big Blunder? Exploiting Friendships and Relationships for Profit

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Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been watching the Facebook saga with quite a lot of interest.  Somehow the giant prodigy just doesn’t seem like a winner any more.  Perhaps I’ve been influenced by all the hype around its lack of success on the stock market so far, but I think there’s more to my sense that fundamentally something’s wrong.

It seems to me that its power grew because it was originally about people connecting, with no money involved.  So it was all about the heart.  The foundation was solid.  But now all the advertising and intrusion into privacy, and the extent to which people use it to promote business has changed it into something completely different.  So different in fact that it’s primary purpose isn’t related much to its original one, which created the foundation.  The giant has become weakened.

It’s one thing connecting with your friends to say hi and keep in touch, share stuff, and ask a favor.  I think asking is fine.  It’s challenging, but there’s nothing wrong with it.  If you need, you have to ask, and if people get annoyed or judge you for it, then that’s the reality of your relationship, and it might as well be out in the open so you can both move on.

But it’s another thing to actively market products to your friends on a consistent basis.  I don’t mean it in a moral sense, that it’s bad, because I don’t think it is.  It’s just it doesn’t work after a while!  It doesn’t work with me!  Good case in point is the Borowitz Report, which I absolute love – it’s intelligent satire – hilarious and insightful.  So I subscribed to it.  Now I get an email every day.  I read probably one a week, maybe not even that much.

But what really brought all this home to me was the blog I started, to promote or at least tie in with an ebook I wrote.  Every day I posted something, and I followed somebody’s advice to automatically feed it to my Facebook page.  I didn’t think it through.  Then I started tweeting, and I connected that to my Facebook as well.  Not so long ago I realized that my Facebook friends are getting inundated with tweets and posts that aren’t related to our relationship at all!

I was actively marketing to my friends, and – which is most important when it comes to marketing – ignoring the fact that none of them are interested in my damn book!!  Gaaahhhh.  So I’ve got some choices: I must seek another market for my book, and I must either have more variety on my blog, or I must disconnect the automatic feeds between my Facebook and my blog and my twitter account.  If I want to share something I’ll do it manually.

How many times have people said “don’t mix business with friendship”?  It’s not a cliché for nothing.  Facebook encourages you to do the mixing, but I wonder if it isn’t paying the price.  If the majority of people were drawn to it because it was a place where you could get away from advertising, and it was about real connection and not money, how can it sustain itself when the culture has become about exploiting connection for profit?Hmmm, I think I’ll share this page!

But Am I Into Him? My First e-Published Book

My first publishable book is online!   There’s a lot to be said for finishing something that’s been challenging…  Whoever said writing was easy?  It is sometimes.  Once in a blue moon!  Much more often it’s about staring at a blank page until your forehead bleeds.  Then filling it with too many words as they finally gush out, thinking you’re the world’s finest, most articulate genius.

Then reading what you’ve written and realizing – uh, got to edit out 90% of them.  And starting all over again.  Finally the thing’s done but you’ve then got to figure out how to tame Word and edit your document so it can be converted into an epub file; designing a cover using software you’ve never encountered before; wading through a fog of terminology you don’t understand.

Then one blessed day, you’re ready to press that “PUBLISH” button.  I did it last night just before midnight.  I’d expected to experience a wild adrenalin rush and, at least in my imagination, see fireworks and hear trumpets and grand orchestral celebrations, but unexpectedly a quiet peace descended, shortly before a big smile flooded through me.  Did you know your toes can smile?   That’s one of my dreams come true!  Now for the others…

This is what my book is about:

Who am I into?  Me or everybody else?  That question is a top priority for many women today.  The sad truth is, we’re not really into us, we’re too busy focusing on him.  Worse, we’re still too often letting him make the decisions and choices that affect us so deeply.  For too long men have been the subject of our sentences, our questions, and our lives! We have settled for being the object.

Frankly, gals, isn’t it time we focused on us first, and made ourselves the subjects of our own sentences and lives?  “But Am I Into Him?” has a new perspective on relationships.  It gives frank advice on how to develop the self respect and authenticity we need, so we can claim our equality instead of pleading for it.  We’ve hoped that the men who behave badly would change, but let’s not wait for them any more.  Let’s embrace our own change and take our destiny into our own hands!

To buy, click here or on either of the  images.  It will take you to the selling page on lulu.com.  You’ll need Adobe Digital Editions to be able to read it on your computer.  Download it here for free.  My book will be available on Kindle and Nook soon.

If you enjoy my book, please share the link with friends and family and feel free to come back here and leave comments.  Thanks!

 

Conversations with a Narcissist

You can’t really have a conversation with a narcissist, can you?  You have a monologue situation; they talk and you listen.  The thing that seems to be missing with them is the capacity to realize how much they’re obsessed with themselves and how much they discount everybody else in their world.  They truly don’t believe they do it.

In fact they don’t seem to have a frame of reference for the concept of “other than me”.  I wonder how that happens?    They don’t know what normal interaction of give and take is, it’s completely alien to them.   I know one narcissist who has bitched about their brother very consistently for about 30 years, but when I mentioned it once, they were outraged that I was unjustly accusing them.  They couldn’t remember a single instance of being angry with their brother.

Is it a factor of low self esteem?  Does childhood abuse cause this?  Yes, but I don’t think it’s only that.  I think it’s also got something to do with entitlement – what was required of them as children – or wasn’t – and what they were allowed to get away with.  Perhaps they didn’t have to take others into account; were never held accountable for any of their behavior and were protected from the consequences of it, the impact it had on other people.  Or perhaps they were isolated and never interacted with other children or adults.

Who can ever explain it?  Maybe there’s just something missing.

They walk around in a kind of anesthetic bubble, and truth is an alien concept to them.  They’re usually incredible liars and don’t seem to care that often their lies are utterly transparent.  But nobody can ever accuse a narcissist of being stupid, because that’s the last thing they are.  They’re very astute, and know how to manipulate people on sight – but they don’t do it consciously, I’m pretty sure of it.   It’s just kind of an instinct with them.

Usually they’re very judgmental of others and have a standard for themselves and a totally different one for everybody else.  Everyone else is always wrong, and they are always right.  They’re easily offended, especially if they get a dose of their own medicine – which of course they don’t recognize as being their own.  They’re also very easily hurt, which makes it so hard to deal with them, because the hurt is real.  They’re also expert at exploiting their own vulnerability.

They’re often very creative and imaginative.  They imagine things about others and themselves which aren’t real.  Well we all do that, but most of us can see that we’re doing it – maybe after the fact, but at some point we wake up.  Narcissists don’t seem able to ever wake up to the reality of their behavior and that the world they live in is fictional.  Because it isn’t fictional to them.

One thing I’m sure of.  You can’t get through to them.  Communication is one-way.  They take but they never give – yet they believe they’re the most giving of all.  It’s hopeless to try and have a real conversation with a narcissist, let alone a relationship.   Conversations and relationships need a degree of self-awareness in both parties.

What happens when you love a narcissist?  Well, it’s harsh, but you have to look at what’s in it for you.  Is it really love?  Yes, it can be, if it’s a parent or a sibling.  Whatever you do, you have to accept that they need power – yours – and they’ll take it with no compunction.  They’ll stay strong and you’ll stay weak.  If you don’t protect yourself you’ll get hurt, over and over.  And protection pretty much means closing the door.  Because narcissists don’t change.  Why should they?  It works for them to be the way they are.

Deep deep inside, though, I think they’re real lonely.  That’s what makes it so hard to walk away from them.  But you have to.  Otherwise they have a life but you don’t.

Walking away from Co-Dependency, Making Healthy Choices

Being Erica had an episode last night about her relationship with a woman she’d known all her life who was irresponsible and kept getting into trouble.  Erica kept rescuing her and paying – and not being able to extricate herself because of what she thought of as her loyalty and love for her friend.  In the end she saw she was letting her friend use her because it made her feel needed and the strong one.  It was hard for her to face the truth.  I could relate to that.

I had a sobering illustration in the past 6 weeks of staying in something unhealthy.  I thought it was because I didn’t have any other options, but that wasn’t really it.  A man offered to fix my car for a reasonable fee.  Too reasonable?  My gut sent out a signal, and I heard it, but over-rode it.  Why?  Because I was vulnerable and thought I didn’t believe any other options would be available to me.  That’s on the surface of it.

From the start things went wrong.  I’ve learned the man is a petty crook and beats up on people.  He kept making promises, I kept believing him – so did the police.  Then he’d renege and I’d experience a horrific sense of having no power, of people being allowed to do what they want to me and me having no options. I was constantly exploding with rage in the privacy of my own home.  Feeling victimized.  But not walking away.

Then suddenly yesterday I saw.  This relationship – I know it!  It feels comfortable, safe, it’s where I know my place. Not safe in the ultimate sense, of course, but safe as in familiar.  It was  shocking.  In that moment I saw how all my life I’ve made choices to stay in unhealthy relationships hoping the other person would change, keep their promises, respect me, stop using me, stop lying.    And truth?  It was so I wouldn’t have to walk away into nothingness.

Being treated as if I’m unimportant is how I’ve known who I was.  How could I walk away from the only thing that affirmed my existence?    But over the years, with all the experience of unconditional love and teaching I’ve been getting in therapy a new me has been growing, one that doesn’t need abuse to feel alive.  Funny how you can be gradually changing, building inner strength, but not realize it.

It came to head yesterday.   I suddenly got sick of the game, of the parts both he and I were playing.  It didn’t make me feel alive.  I didn’t have to lecture myself into it, it was an emotional reaction.  This felt like death.  I wanted life. And for the first time ever I didn’t want to punish him. I just wanted to get away, cut my losses and make space for something better.  In the past I’ve been consumed with anger and hurt and desperately wanted to take on people like this – take them to court, make them pay. Worse, I wanted to stay entangled with them.

Not this time.  There’s nothing left in this kind of relationship for me.  I don’t need to punish him, or see him punished.  I need to be somewhere else. So I walked away.  And another solution, a healthy one, slipped into place.   In Being Erica last night, she spoke of reaching a point in your life where you’re able to make choices that truly work for you; are protective of your right to be treated with respect.  I guess I’m reaching that point.  It’s an emotional thing, not intellectual.