Tag Archives: friends

Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
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Mean Girls

Earlier this month, researchers at Iowa State University published “Frenemies, Fraitors, and Mean-em-aitors: Priming Effects of Viewing Physical and Relational Aggression in the Media on Women“. The study, which observed 250 college women, found that viewing mean girl antics such as social exclusion, gossip and emotional bullying on shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop and Real Housewives of Atlanta, primed viewers to be more aggressive towards each other. The part of me that believes in Sisterhood, found this surprising, disturbing and sad. The part of me that is logical, viewed this as a sign that we are weak-minded, easily influenced and lack moral fortitude. The part of me that is in entertainment said ‘here we go, blaming television for our problems again’.  When Essence Magazine first published a related article on their website, I posted the following comment:

“They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. The fact that a person’s behavior can be altered by watching other people’s ignorant behavior on television is very sad and disappointing. I think it speaks more to how weak-minded and fickle these women are if they begin to emulate the bad behavior they see (on television). So then my question becomes this: if they are inundated with more positive behavior represented on television, will they adapt and emulate that positive behavior also? I’m just saying, while we’re brainwashing, we should make it worthwhile.”
 

I’ve previously admitted to watching reality shows. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering “whose reality is this really“, where women are constantly backstabbing, backbiting, fighting and behaving as if they are wild animals fighting over the last scraps of prey, that they didn’t even hunt? This behavior is evident on Basketball Wives (which has turned into WWE Part 2 in Miami), Love & Hip Hop concluded their season after lots of fist fights and drink throwing, no matter what city they were in, and Real Housewives of Atlanta has turned into Sheree versus Everybody Else. Not to mention the woman who threw a ziplock bag full of flour on Kim Kardarshian while she walked the red carpet at a recent charity event. Who does that? Mean Girls do that.

I’ve never been the type of woman to surround myself with a lot of other women. I was raised to believe that you only need one really good girlfriend and a few close girlfriends, but no more than five. I’ve lived like that for almost 40 years now. I’ve learned through experience that the more women present in a room, the more problems could arise. In my younger years, I had more than my fair share of girls and young women who were jealous of me for what I viewed to be silly and superficial reasons, so I preferred to keep to myself. I believed that things would improve as women matured, and if not, that’s okay because I enjoy my company just fine. 

Then something happened.

I met a Mean Girl. Unbeknownst to me, she was already in my midst – like a snake. She is someone I’ve known for the last few years and considered to be a dear sister-friend. I was clearly wrong and had ignored her character flaws, possibly out of love or because I just wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she was just that slick. Well, recently she showed her true colors, as snakes often do. For the last few years, I’ve been so busy working on things in my life that were important to me (traveling, building the Super Woman Brand, sending my son to college, and enjoying my life), and avoiding men with hidden agendas, that I completely overlooked the woman who had come into my life with a hidden agenda of her own and envy in her heart. She flew right in under the radar and nested herself into my life for the sole purpose of getting whatever benefits were attached to being associated with me and being known as my friend. And she got away with it for years. Once she couldn’t get her way any longer, because I have my own life, goals and dreams, she began to show herself to not be a good friend, but to be a superficial, insecure, vindictive and malicious person. My life had never revolved around her to begin with, but for some strange reason, she assumed she was my only friend and that I somehow relied on her for my mere existence. I found that to be hilarious. She actually had the blatant audacity to send me a text message that said “you’re gonna need me before I need you“. For what?  When I think back, that wasn’t true, and wouldn’t be true. She hadn’t contributed to any of my personal or business accomplishments. She hadn’t introduced me to anyone of importance. She hadn’t done anything truly significant. So again, I ask – for what? She doesn’t have anything that I would covet and my only competition is myself

Just like the Mean Girls on reality television, she began to say terrible and untrue things about me (mostly behind my back to anyone she thought would listen, because that’s what cowards do). I immediately recognized this as an attempt on her part to make her feel superior because she is insecure. Strangely enough, she’s at a time in her life where she should be happy. She’s recently got married and has a beautiful blended family, bought a house and has a grandchild. So when others would be relishing in their life’s accomplishments, this woman is directing her energy into attempting to discredit or harm me. Obviously, she’s not very happy. However, I’m not responsible for her happiness and nor will I take responsibility for her unhappiness.

Mean Girls develop their own false truth. A false truth that is often laced with insecurities and judgment against others, that they persuade themselves into believing in order to compensate for what they lack as an individual. Fortunately, for me (a) I have real girlfriends (b) I have self-esteem and confidence that is virtually unbreakable by another human being, and (c) I have a life. Therefore, I’m not too concerned about this woman and the lies that she attempts to spread out of anger and animosity. No one of any importance knows her or cares about the venom she’s spitting. I’m also not too concerned about any other women like her, regardless of who they are. Personally, I believe that if she were both a mature and respectable woman, she’d have a conversation with me, face-to-face, woman-to-woman, instead of talking about me to other people behind my back like a second grader. Instead of telling other people what (she thinks) I am or not, she’d tell me directly what her problem is with me. Instead of her stalking my Facebook pages to see what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with, she’d be enjoying her new husband and family. Instead of telling other people how much money (she thinks) I have or don’t, she’d be building her own career. By the way, if she wants to count my money and assets, she should make sure to include my copyrights, trademarks, service marks, intellectual property and stock dividends. I don’t have a lot of material possessions because I don’t need them to be happy. I have everything that I truly need; God, food, clothing, shelter, family, career … and a fabulous shoe collection.

I truly pity Mean Girls. They are so consumed with making other people miserable, being dishonest, fighting and being manipulative, that they miss out of the joys of true friendship and sisterhood. They are so concerned with the latest trends and material possessions, that they forget what life is truly about. No matter how much stuff you buy, you can’t take it with you when you die. No matter how much stuff you buy, it won’t make you a happier or a better person. No matter how much stuff you buy, it’s not going to add value to who you are, because you’re likely buying it to impress people who don’t like you very much or are just as materialistic. If a woman considers her material possessions, her mean attitude, who she’s married to, what kind of car she drives or what city she resides in to be the sole determining factors of her worth in comparison to another woman’s, she has a very sad existence.

She’s not just a Mean Girl… she’s also a Sad Girl.

I learned to be more observant of people who try to come into my life, as a result of this experience. But I still don’t have time to revolve my life around someone else’s to make them feel good about themselves. I’m responsible for myself. My goals and achievements are mine to either attain or take responsbility for if I fail. Plus, jealous words from unhappy individuals don’t hold any weight in my world. My world is already Super.  

*Those I trust most, are those who have earned my trust, by not betraying my trust* – Urban Confucius

 

He’s A Problem

If you’ve been following my blogs from their inception, you know that my dating life is the stuff that fiction is made from. You also know that I admit to not being talented enough as a writer to make this stuff up. I’m turning all of my mis-adventures in dating into a novel called “He’s A Problem“. I had planned to release “He’s A Problem” long before now, but I have what I initially thought was writer’s block and I have been unable to finish it.  I recently discovered that what I have isn’t writer’s block at all. Apparently, God in all His infinite wisdom, and sense of humor, apparently felt that I needed additional material to make “He’s A Problem”  a successful and entertaining read for all of you.

So I’m going to share one of the encounters that I recently had with a man, and another reason I’m single and have learned to embrace it versus trying to have something that isn’t in the Master’s Plan for my life.

A man contacted me stating that he wanted to do business with me and that he was in need of writing services for his business. We met, and I gave him a price quote based on the needs he communicated with me. During the meeting he started talking about being “friends” and “getting to know me“. Anyone who knows me, knows that when my mind is on business, that is all I care about. I gave him the nod and smile but in the back of my mind I was sayingHere we go again. Another man pretending to want to do business with me to try to get me into bed.  Over a few days, he never said if he had accepted my quote for the work to be done. His entire conversation was personal.  He kept claiming he wanted “to get to know me” and “know about what I do“.  I honestly wasn’t buying it. I had heard that same thing too often from other men who couldn’t tell you my middle name or my eye color if you put a gun to their heads.  He also called too much (every 10 – 20 minutes during the course of a few hours) and talked too much.  Both traits I find to be unattractive. If a man says he’s going to call me back later, I expect for later to actually arrive before I hear from him again. Even when he’d ask me a question, he’d interrupt my answer, not allowing me to finish a complete thought. He was a terrible listener and misunderstood almost everything I said to him resulting in arguments. I knew he wouldn’t last longer. Men always eliminate themselves when they don’t measure up, so there’s no need for me to be mean.

Now, comes the day of reckoning. I had a radio appearance coming up and I invited him to come to the radio station with me to give him the opportunity to get an idea of what I do.  Afterall, he claimed that he wanted to get to know me, right?  When I offered him this opportunity, he immediately decided that he didn’t want to wait an hour and a half with me and watch the show, so he counter offered to drop me off and pick me up. I asked him what he’d do during that time and he said “just drive around and go do something else“. Not one to argue, I agreed to letting him drop me off and pick me up. On the morning of the radio show, he sends me a text message saying ‘Good morning. Are you ready for your show? And are you going to give me gas money or pay for dinner after?’

Does anyone else see the problem with that?

If not, let me clarify:

  • Dropping me off and picking me up was his idea, not mine. I invited him to see what I do because he claimed to want to know. If I just wanted a ride, I would’ve reserved a chauffeur driven sedan instead.
  • If he didn’t have gas in his vehicle, he should have said that before the day of the radio show and I would’ve caught a taxi instead. Plus his idea to “just drive around and go do something else” for an hour and a half shouldn’t be paid for by me when he could have stayed his monkey ass at the radio station with me instead.

*exhales*

I told him he was rude, and reminded him that dropping me off and picking me up was HIS idea. He had the nerve to then say I don’t need the gas money. I just wanted to see what you would say“. Oh, really? Then he tries to text argue with me for the next hour. I wasn’t even angry. I wasn’t even surprised. He started cursing and then even called my voicemail and cursed and screamed into my voicemail saying “I’m such a man, I’ll still take you and won’t even try anything. After I stopped laughing, I thought to myself ‘Does he seriously think I would ever go anywhere with him? And what’s that supposed to mean? Was that a threat? Is he saying that I need my 9 mm?‘ Of course I told gas-money man to lose my number, don’t text me, tweet me, inbox me or even look at me on the street – ever again. I also decided to start charging and billing an hourly fee to men who book meetings with me under the guise of doing business.

Wasting my time: $250.  

The good thing about these problematic experiences with men is that they make great fiction. I’m now able to add this event to the novel, “He’s A Problemand…[drum roll please], I’m writing a short film script based on my book (∞), that will hopefully debut before the book’s publication [applause]. See. Everything works out for the best in the end. I needed to have more hilariously unbelievable and ridiculous dating experiences so that I could be creative and provide a well written and humorous book for my supporters to enjoy. I’ve even found an incredibly sexy man for my book cover and possibly to co-star in the short film. He’s multitalented and recently appeared on the Bill Cunningham daytime talk show and Divorce Court. He is quite the muse. Below is a brief look at him.

Enjoy!  

(warning: you should be 18 years old and not easily offended by sexiness to view the following video).

 Construction Worker

 

Google, We Have A Problem

There seems to be a tragic misunderstanding of what makes a person or entity relevant on the internet. If you are an artist, a business owner, a musician or a magazine publisher there’s the expectation that you should be found one specific place on the internet so that you can be booked, called or contacted. That place is not Twitter or Facebook. It’s so simple, even a two-year old could do it. It’s called Google. Yes, Google. Twitter and Facebook require that a person sign up and create an account to obtain your information. Everyone doesn’t want to become a follower or a friend in order for them to locate your store, buy your album, magazine or services. Do you realize how much you are limiting yourself, simply by NOT having a website? If you aren’t sure, think about the last time you got a call from someone who said “I saw you on Twitter today, and I wanted to know if I can buy ___.” If that’s happening to you regularly just from your tweets, then by all means, carry on. But if you’re not getting that call, you’re not as relevant as you think you are, even if you’ve hit record numbers of followers.

It doesn’t matter how many fans you have. Some of your fans aren’t as active on Twitter or Facebook as you think they are. They may actually only view your timeline or news feed once a month because that’s how often they sign on to look at their own Twitter and Facebook accounts {Side note: some of your fans are also stalkers or looky-lous and they won’t result in any profits}. Even with the increased use in smart phones, social networking is still limiting the way in which people can locate you. A fan is one thing, a consumer is something completely different. When you’re in business, which one is more important to you? A fan who becomes a consumer will buy more than your mp3 from iTunes. 

I recently pulled out some business cards people gave me and Googled all of the companies. I was utterly amazed at how many business entities, artists, singers and creatives I couldn’t find on the internet outside of Facebook and Twitter. Do all these companies and individuals want to be a secret? Do they want to make money? Do they want people to know their tour dates, office hours, and any other important information that consumers look for? You can’t even find a phone number for them to call and ask them “What is your website?” I’m going to share a business secret with you now. Smart consumers like to do a little research before they get into their cars and drive somewhere. If you operate a business, consumers may actually look for your business address online before venturing out to buy your products. However, if you don’t have a website, you prevent that from happening. And every business doesn’t have a store or static business location. Therefore, if your business is done in a nontraditional office or storefront location, being accessible online becomes even more crucial to your success.

Recently someone on Twitter sent me a link saying “how to become #1 on Google“. I replied and told them (not bragging) that I’m already #1 on Google. How do I know? I learned how to accomplish that a couple of years ago at a technology conference I attended. Unfortunately, I was one of five people of color in attendance at the conference and we were all women. I periodically Google myself [typing s u p e r w o m a n p r o d u c t i o n s]. I type it different ways and even misspell it intentionally sometimes, just to see what others might find if they do the same. My website is the first result, is listed on the first seven pages of Google results consistently and then I remain in the results up until around page thirteen. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to prove me wrong. I’ve even been re-blogged and reposted in other languages. I’m in business directories that I didn’t even know I was in. I had to tell the editor of one business directory to change their listing because they incorrectly listed my business at an address in Troy, Michigan instead of Detroit.  

I don’t know how people do it. By it I mean not exist on the internet outside of social networking sites. It’s a lot easier to co-exist within the confines of social networking than it is to be completely reliant upon it. Does anyone remember MySpace? One minute it was the hottest thing in existence. Now anyone who’s still using it exclusively needs to be put into a time machine and brought into 2012 at the speed of light. The changes that Facebook is constantly making are an attempt to remain on top of the social networking pyramid because it’s hard to be king. They are not making the changes for you. Twitter is… well, #trending, for lack of a better word. It’s fun, but you’re still limited to providing information in 140 or less characters. It can be argued that smart people can say a lot in 140 characters, but it can also be said that not being able to spell out words makes even the smartest person look stupid on Twitter.

So as an entrepreneur, I encourage anyone who calls themselves the same or sells a product or service to increase your audience outside of the constraints of social networking sites and establish a website for yourself, your products and business. If you feel like the financial investment isn’t truly worth the costs associated with establishing a real web presence, you are not serious about being in business. All serious business owners know that it takes money (time, energy and committment) to make money. And if you need help, I have a great website designer that I can refer you to. He helps keep me #1 on Google.

Superheroes Need Heroes, Too

Some days I am divided between the human woman that I am inside, and the superhuman woman I have become. The expectations are great. These are two conflicting sides always at battle for balance in my life. They need each other. They can’t survive without the other. They are co-dependant entities in one body with one entity born from the other. It’s not the same as having multiple or split personalities. It’s a dualism that a lot of people who are entertainers and creatives have. It’s that dualism that allows us to be “on” and able to entertain people one moment, and become quiet and shy the moment that curtain closes. 

In spite of my internal struggle with my duality, I recognize that I’m so blessed to have friends around me. This keeps me from being “alone” in this world. I have very close, understanding friends that I have relationships with. Some of my friends I’ve known since high school. Some I’ve known only for a few weeks. Some are “super” women like Kimberly Swift, Charmaine Fuller, Kimberly Cooley and Regina Nyatui. Some are “super” men like Michael Burnett and Lloyd Parchment who are both intelligent, sexy, strong, good men that remind me that men like them do exist in this world. Without their perspective and encouragement to live my single life fully, I’d drown in heartache. There are a few more people that are on my list and they know who they are. They are the people outside of my bloodline that I can confide in and trust with my authentic self without fear of judgement. They make me laugh, comfort me when I cry and have an understanding of me as a person that others don’t. I trust that they won’t sale any stories to the tabloids and they always have my best interest in mind. They don’t allow me to fall and lay down. They don’t allow me to be right when I’m wrong. They know I’m crazy but they don’t discourage my brand of crazy because they know it has its benefits. They make me get up and keep going, even when I don’t feel like it. They remind me of my worth and never let me leave the house looking a hot mess. They protect me and I feel safe with them in my life. I don’t think they even realize the impact they have on my life. I pray that I can repay them for their unconditional friendship one day soon.   

There’s a reason why these particular people are my friends and have outlasted many of my intimate relationships. To someone on the outside looking in, the friendships might seem like a fluke. I’ve had men I’ve dated even verbally challenge the strength and validity of my friendships because they couldn’t believe I have these amazing people in my life. Well, amazing people, have amazing friends. My friends are all different people with different personalities and different talents. My friends keep me balanced and they keep me sane. They help and encourage me to be Super and they still love me when I’m not. They give me tough love when I need it and allow me to be vulnerable also. Some of my friends are near me and some are far away. What demonstrates genuine friendship is that no matter how many days, weeks, months or years go by, with one phone call, we can catch up. The positive energy doesn’t vanish if we’re in different cities, timezones or states. I appreciate them for that. They are my heroes. Superheroes need heroes, too.

I will always need, love, appreciate and value them all, even the ones I didn’t name. I am ME because of THEM. I am Super Woman because I have Super Friends.  If you want to know who I am, look at my closest friends. They are a direct reflection of me, and I of them.

What about your friends? 

 

Here I go fighting with Facebook…again

Over the last few years, I developed a small following of individuals on Facebook and on some other social networking sites.  A lot of it is solely for the purpose of networking for The Brand, some of it is entertaining and some of it is actually social. Of my current 1,800 Facebook friends, I probably know 10% of them personally and another 10% I’ve met casually or are acquainted with outside of Facebook. Over the past several months, Facebook has implemented their own form of “Community Standards” that allow people to anonymously complain about people’s pictures and wall posts that they find “offensive or inappropriate”. It covers things such as harassment and (Facebook) identity theft also. What I’ve found is a) it’s just another tool for haters to hate, and b) it’s not protecting anyone from actual harm. Young adults are still being bullied via Facebook and there are still hate mongers, racists and plenty of inappropriate and offensive things slipping through the cracks because the haters only care about reporting what they think needs to be reported, not what protects society as a whole.

Recently, for the second time, someone reported one of my photos as “sexually explicit” and “inappropriate”. The photo they were referring to is actually the back cover of “The Goodie Bag”. In the photo I’m wearing a bra and panties, with black stilettos while laying across and bed with a gorgeous male model holding one of my legs. My breasts, my behind and my vagina are not visible at all. There’s no kissing, touching or hugging taking place in the photo. My body is barely touching the male model’s. It’s a beautiful picture of me. The photo is sexy without being overtly sexual and it speaks to the tone of “The Goodie Bag”, while it leaves something to the imagination. If someone thinks the photo is more than that, it’s their opinion and they are entitled to it. Just like I’m entitled to look fabulous in the photo. The truth is, the pictures inside of “The Goodie Bag” are a lot sexier and the language is completely sexually explicit. It’s erotic fiction; it’s supposed to be. I know that it was likely a hater who reported the photo because they don’t have anything better to do. I can’t wait to see how they will react when the pictures forThe Goodie Bag II” come out.

***yes, there are haters everywhere…including on Facebook***

Once again I find it completely hilarious, and hypocritical, that someone thinks that one of the best pictures of me on Facebook is “inappropriate” with all the near naked women in thong-kinis all over that very same social network. Some of these other women go so far to gain attention that they actually “tag”  people in their photos forcing innocent people to have someone else’s nakedness displayed all over their wall for all of their friends and relatives to see without prior knowledge or consent. You have to be a “friend” to see my pictures, unless you “like” my fan page. If you “like” my fan page, you know what the purpose of it is and there’s no need to report anything because you’ve made a conscious choice to be included in the content by willingly clicking the button. No one forced you into it. No one “tagged” you into it without your knowledge of consent. You made a choice. If you don’t like it, don’t look. Pun intended.

We have the freedom of choice. Or so I thought. But Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook developers seem to think that they have more freedom of choice than the users of Facebook. Now that Zuckerberg is a gazillionaire, you can’t add him as a Facebook friend. You can’t send him a message to his inbox, you can’t tag him in a post or picture, you can’t write on his wall or ask him to join a group. He has been stalked into hiding from the rest of us. But he hasn’t done much to protect users like us from being stalked. He has made himself completely untouchable via the social network that he created (or stole, depending on which version of the story you decide to believe). However, he’s constantly making decisions for Facebook users that compromise our right to choose for ourselves. What’s with people being able to add you to a group without you knowing what the group is about? According to Facebook, only your friends can add you to a group. But it’s hell to remove yourself from these groups. The option isn’t even available for mobile Facebook users. It must be done from a computer. That’s not fun.

I’m am constantly and randomly being added to groups by my “friends”. Usually it is the “friends” that I don’t actually know personally or am not acquainted with outside of Facebook or they’d know I don’t want to be a member of a group I know absolutely nothing about. There’s nothing wrong with creating a group to market your product of service, supporting your beliefs or charity, but the beautiful thing about consumerism is that people get to select where they go for their products and services. The beautiful thing about America is that we can all have our own beliefs and support our own charities without being forced to participate in someone else’s.  As a consumer you get to opt out of unwanted emails or be placed on “do not send” lists. Facebook groups are not like that. The creator or any member of a group can “add” any of their Facebook friends to that group without any forewarning.  You find out you’re a member by notification. It’s like walking into a game of Russian Roulette that you didn’t know was taking place, and someone puts the gun to your head, pulls the trigger and *bang!* you’re a member of their group. Every time I get an email notification from Facebook I feel like I got jumped into an online gang. I get bombarded with other people’s opinions, thoughts and ideas through my personal assistant at all times of day and night. Some stuff is interesting, but for the most part it’s an overload of information that I don’t have the time or patience to read or understand. I don’t get to turn it off  immediately. No, that would be too convenient. I have to go to my computer and click “Leave Group”. Then I get threatened again with a message that says if I leave the group I’ll have to be invited in order to return to it. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a gang? Or even the mafia?

I don’t know which is worse, how Facebook allows haters to harass people using their “Community Standards” as a tool of suppression, or how they allow groups to target people at random for mandatory participation. All I know is that if I created a group and forced people to participate, someone, somewhere would complain and I’d be threatened by Facebook – again. Well, while Mark Zuckerberg sits in his Ivory Tower away from us peasants, passing his Facebook laws, I will continue to do whatever I like and post my pictures on my Facebook page, regardless of who does or doesn’t like it. You do not have to be my Facebook friend. It is your choice. I, unlike others, won’t force anyone to participate by adding them to a picture or group that they aren’t actually in or want to be a part of. I respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves, whether I agree with their choices or not. 

I’ve also decided that regardless of how many haters complain, I’ll remove my incredibly beautiful photos from“The Goodie Bag” when Facebook bans all of the haters, pedophiles, porn stars, naked wanna-be-models, racists and bullies from Facebook. So take your time and enjoy the photos. And if you want to know what all the fuss is about, purchase a copy of “The Goodie Bag” here.