Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts: Social Media Fakes: Do You Know About Them?

I've been seeing a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter lately who have numerous "likes" and "followers." "Numerous" meaning in the 100s or even 1000s. Really? A newly published author has 5,000 followers in just a few months' time? More than 3,000 "likes" on her author page? Who is she kidding? Well, a lot of people, apparently.

A few days ago, I read a very interesting and enlightning article by David Horowitz, a prominent consumer advocate, about all the FAKES on Social Media sites. Yep, Facebook and Twitter especially.

It seems that you can buy your Facebook and Twitter "likes" and "followers" from any number of organizations who care nothing about their fraudulent business practice. The FCC  (Federal Trade Commission) is actively seeking out this growing global marketplace, but without much success. As soon as they close one down, another pops up, primarily because there are no real guidelines in place, at the moment, regarding this kind of unethical marketing.

Unfortunately, in today's world, honesty and ethics are words in few peoples' vocabularies any more, and it's all about "clout," "value", and "visibility." The growing marketing concern today is all about visibility...the more visibility you have, the more valuable your product...supposedly...and the more money you're going to make, because more people are going to be impressed and therefore run to buy your product, watch your movie, or buy your albums and your books. Thus, "value" and "visibility" take the place of honesty and integrity, and it all comes down to How Many Likes and Followers Do You Have.

The business of selling likes and followers is apparently quite lucrative, primarily because the  business people, celebrities, singers, and authors buying these things are not at all interested in the fact that they are duping the public.

What do you think when you go to, let's say, an author's page on Facebook, and see she/he has several thousand followers and almost as many likes. Does that make you think, WOW! this author must be fabulous! I'm going right out and buy his/her book! WHY would you think that? You know nothing about this person, and nothing about the book. So why would you think she/he is so very great, and her/his book must even top Harry Potter or Twilight? Well, of course, he or she must be absolutely awesome, otherwise, there wouldn't be so many followers and likes on this page.

Oh, really? Did you know that you can BUY 500 followers on Twitter for just $5? So 5,000 followers is only going to cost this author $50. Five thousand "likes" on Facebook only costs, according to one company, $54.99. It's a steal.

Yes, it IS a steal. It is duplicitous and deceitful. It is a business practice, both for seller and buyer, that is completely lacking in integrity and ethics. If that type of behavior doesn't bother you, then be my guest...close in on those pages and revel in someone who "really" has that kind of "following" and page "likes." Buy the product or the book or whatever. Just be aware of the fact that you are also contributing to the practice of deceit and duplicity.

If, on the other hand, that kind of behavior is reprehensible to you, as it is to me, then stay away from those Facebook and Twitter pages, and go buy a book or a product from someone whose pages represent honesty and integrity.

Until next time,
That's a wrap.