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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Fake Followers Floundering

"including politicians, models, actors and authors." - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/11/technology/twitter-fake-followers.html


Social media has had a real problem for years. One by one, it's slowly being addressed but to  see authors being quoted, instead of other professions like musicians, artists, etc. should be a wake up call not only to the creators but also to the audience.


Me? My career is I.T. and I've been on the internet since the mid 90's, so I could see this coming years ago. Advertising in its current format is failing. I even wrote to the CEO of Unilever with my observations and beliefs about this, so I'm not just an idle keyboard warrior saying, "I told you so," after the sky has started falling in.


So what happened? The society of old shoved adverts under our noses. We rebelled with add blockers. People desperate for social media fame went as far as cementing their heads in microwave ovens - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-42271150 - shooting each other with .45 handguns - https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40438207 - and more, in order to get those all important views.


Brands that were desperate to be seen, actually ended up getting a social conscience and not only started pulling their adverts from controversial media (exactly the kind of media that was required to get heads stuck above crowds) but also started firing employees that shamed the company even when they were on their own dime - https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/12_outrageous_job_losses_due_to_mishandling_social_10202.aspx - and not much of this is a surprise. Amid claims that social media companies were cooking the figures of how many eyeballs had actually seen the adverts sold, https://www.jonloomer.com/2014/02/11/facebook-fraud-response/ - it came as no surprise that advertisers would scale back their social media advertising spend.


For the corporations, they are now turning to sponsoring the new wave of content. That will fail too, but for different reasons which mostly boil down to too much of it, in a market which will become very saturated, very quickly. They need to change tack more drastically. As I wrote to Unilever's CEO, I had no clue who Tom Dickson was, but now I know all about his company Blendtec through their videos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBUJcD6Ws6s so advertisers are still working their way through the obvious.


But where does that leave the creators... you know, the authors?


Buying likes has been the common way to boost your ratings and in a rushed world some people are likely to latch onto you not because of the book reviews, but due to popularity, in a search for a quick decision on which of the mahoosive number of books to buy next.


 However, the social media platforms have now hit problems. People have woken up to the personal data scandal and all the pushing and shoving. Trust has taken a hit... and so have stock prices. Big companies are being levied with fines which, to be honest, are just chump change to them, but are a signal that legislation is coming. The US saw the UK's GDPR and want their own. California are drafting laws and it's all going to get ugly.


But where does that leave authors and readers?


What? You're looking to me for an answer?! ... for authors, the same old grind will continue. I can see self published authors having a harder time than ever in getting their head above the parapet. Ethics appears to be making an impact; across the board people are being judged as much for who they are and what they stand for, as much as they are the works they produce. Among a certain percentage of the population, I can see this becoming a larger slice of the decision pie.


Among the readership, I think it will make it more difficult for some people and probably narrow the choices for those that haven't got the time to put the effort into their choices.


Long story short, it has always been tough for the little guy to get noticed. The ways to game the system worked for a little while, but now that door is closing and the indie book world itself will have to find a new way.