Sunday Rantasaurus Rex

This is not part of my newsletter. The MAIN purpose of this particular post, is to help people understand what’s going on in social media and how small business owners are affected (DISCLAIMER: This is going to be a rant so if you’re triggery or snowflakey, don’t like to read, prefer pictures to words, leave now lol. But if you really want to learn and understand, pull up a chair and bear with me.)

Yes, I desperately need a new social media platform.  One that is unbiased, believes in free speech and free market and equality. All the big ones that everybody uses, are now corporate owned (by the usual cronies) and corrupted with algorithms, bots, virus spawning ads, blocking mechanisms, data mining, etc, owned and run by the biggest, wealthiest cronies (cronyism or crony capitalism, which is  NOT at all, classic free market capitalism) out there, enriching themselves on our backs. But if you aren’t a small business owner or an anti establishment truth teller, you won’t notice. Furthermore, you probably won’t even care because it doesn’t directly affect you. But it actually does. You see, the struggle is real. I hate to use that overused stock phrase, but in this case, it’s spot on. And if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. No grey areas here.  It will eventually directly affect you.

I wanted to address what Facebook (FB) is doing to us small business owners. Yeah, yeah, I’ve talked about it a hundred times in the last 3 years. You’ve heard of the frog in a boiling pot, story, right? They’re using this tactic on FB, so you don’t even notice you’re being boiled alive. Or boiled right into invisibility. As they hold your customers hostage, soft-mafia style, to extort money from you so you can supposedly get your posts seen to the large customer base you worked so damn hard to acquire. This is not drama. And this is no joke. I am being harassed by FB, daily, with their stream of incoming notices, trying to harass me (see image further down) into giving them money. They ruined my income because I relied too heavily on their platform for my business. I don’t need anyone to tell me that was a huge mistake. I’m well aware. But it was working and when this is my sole source of income (my art), and something is working great, you focus on work and not other social media. I had been exhausting myself with other platforms (that no one really used and / or didn’t work well) and galleries (who are politicized and prejudiced) who act like your employer and not an employee (which they are!), to sell your art, taking a whopping half of all sales. It’s not right. So I focused on what I had control over, what worked and what felt right. That being, running my own show and using FB as the main means to do it. Then they stuck the knife in and began blocking my visibility. Consequently, I have lost 90% of my income. I. Am. Not. Kidding. I cannot pay them to boost my posts. I tried all that for over a year, and I can swear to you , it doesn’t work. It’s not designed to work. It’s designed to extort an endless stream of money from you. There’s been countless videos done by people who have proven this fact. They give you fake ‘reached’ numbers to trick you into thinking something is working. But the proof is in how many people will like, comment and share the posts. And those numbers never change from when I boosted or not. It’s a scam. I have been wanting to get away from FB for a long time now. But everything I’m trying, either uses the same methods as FB or they just don’t work at all because no one’s really using them. I need something new and have exhausted myself looking and trying. If anyone has info on a great platform that is open, honest and works, let me know. And DO NOT send me links to video how-to’s, or suggest twitter or deviant art or steemit. I HAVE TRIED THEM AND THEY DO NOT WORK. You can see the ones I use by going to my website but there are 3 times more that are not on my site, that I have tried. There must be something. I cannot believe the entire internet is fouled up now, the way FB is.

I’m gonna tell a story. Let these words paint a visual. Immerse yourself in it and pretend it’s you. Try to feel it…
Imagine you own a little shop somewhere, doing what you love in a nice place you live. You work every day and own an honest business. You’ve been at it a long time and it’s slowly grown into something you can rely on and be proud of. You offer something unique. People come from all over to enjoy your products. You don’t live a lavish life, but you have enough, and that’s what matters. Oddly, you suddenly gain the support of another larger store in your town nearby and they drive business your way. You reciprocate. You’re doing ok. Everyone is. You can breathe. Then one day, unprovoked and out of the blue, the large store owner decides they want some of your money. Why??? Well, just because they consider you their competition now, regardless of the fact they are way bigger, have tons more customers and are actually wealthy and live a lavish life style. They set up road blocks and obstacles that block access to visibility and parking for your shop. They build an extension to their already huge store, that directly covers your shop entrance. They hire someone to tamper with your phone lines so anyone calling, gets an ‘out of service’ recording. They pay someone to intercept your outgoing mail, delivering it to them, instead. They open your mail and collect your customer data and start offering your customers, a similar product. Most of this you are unaware of, as a small business owner. Sure, you know the annoyance of the big store building and expanding, now covers most of your shop’s visibility, but you have no idea about the thing with the phone and the mail. You start wondering why no one returns your calls. Why no one is calling you. Why no one responds to the ads and discount coupons you send them in the mail. Things that usually proved to be great marketing, have zero effect now. So you physically start asking around. You go in other small shops in the area and find that similar things are happening to all the other small business owners. You start connecting the dots and discover the common denominator. The BIG store that is expanding by leaps and bounds. You see your old customers, streaming into the big store, so you approach a few and ask how they’ve been… small talk, They mention  this big store is now offering a similar product like you do. The customer thought maybe your shop closed because they hadn’t heard from you and they didn’t even think to come check, after hearing a ‘out of service’ recording when they phoned you. You had become invisible, because of the big store. You are furious. And rightfully so.  You decide to hire someone to look into things. That’s when you find out about the mail stealing, customer interception and phone tampering. You storm into the big store’s main office, and demand to speak to the owner. Not willing to wait and be put off, you just barge right into their office and confront them with their criminality. They are smug, in their expensive suit and surroundings. They do not deny your claims. Rather, they smirk at the power they have attained and offer you a deal. They know you can sue them but they also know they can drag it out for years and bankrupt you in the process. Besides, they’re friends with the courts and can easily pay them off. And you cannot afford all that drama and stress. Your little shop is your livelihood and your only source of income. They offer to put up a sign so people that go to their shop, will know your little shop is back around their expansions, if you pay them a certain amount, every day, of course. If you don’t pay them, they won’t put the sign.  So you reluctantly agree. You already have no money because they have drastically cut your sales by their expansions and control, but you do it anyways, having a shred of hope that things will turn around. The sign they put up, has a counter on it, that records all the people who pass by it, so you will know it’s working (lol yeah, right!). You can trust those numbers because the big store owner told you it’s reliable (lol trust a crook lol) and that in no time, you will see great progress. So you pay. You watch the sign with it’s reliable numbers, going up, up, UP. Yet no one is coming into your shop. You pay a little more, for a slightly bigger sign. You see those numbers increase a bit. But no one is coming into your shop. Now, you haven’t completely lost all your customers. You have 6 or so that keep coming back. Making their way around all the road blocks and expansions, to gain access to your little shop that they love. You are so thankful for the faithful ones! But honestly, you feel guilty because they are the only ones supporting your business now. You know it can’t last forever and you don’t want it to because it’s not fair. You pay for a slightly bigger sign, in hopes to generate some new customers or catch a glimpse from some of the old ones going into the big store. Nothing changes but those numbers still keep going up. It makes no sense. You have become obsolete, unneeded, unwanted, forgotten and invisible. You decide it’s time to relocate. So you close up shop and move out. You sell your little home in the little town you loved and lived in for so long. You say goodbye and go on an adventure, in search of a new place to call home. But everywhere you go, you see more of the same BIG STORE. They’re everywhere now! Then you notice that everywhere these big stores are, there’s little shops blocked out. You also see the signs… Most are now empty and long closed. Tragic! You see the endless streams of people going into the big store. They do not see the little shops or the signs pointing to the fact some are still there, in the shadows. No one sees the signs. They have tunnel vision on the big store. They feel good about giving their money to the wealthy and ruinous, small business killers because it makes them feel… I don’t know… empowered? That’s hilarious lol. They can save a penny, buying from the big guy. Oh, that’s so damn thrifty! give that schmoe a cookie for the shear brilliance of that idea. /facepalm.  So then, the small business owner (you)… the one who closed up shop and took off on an adventure to find a new home, kept traveling and searching. No one cared. No one thought, “Wow, I haven’t see so-and-so for ages… I wonder how they’re doing?” They were too busy picking up the crumbs under the table of the mega wealthy, daddy warbucks, big store owner. And they felt good about that. End of story.

Back to my rant…

I want to show an example of what I’m being harassed with by FB, on a daily basis on all the pages I own and run. They do not give you a means to opt out. The option finally did appear on my big art page, after weeks of harassment and I have used it a few times, then it disappears again. Doesn’t stop them from continuing though. The option is absent from my other 5 pages.

This is a screen capture of the usual harassment. The equivalent to a paid sign:
20for17more

I now get more notices from FB, trying to squeeze money out of me than I do from the 4k+ people that have liked my pages. Something is VERY wrong with those stats. My big art page has been reduced to an audience of about 6-12 people who always see my posts. That’s it. 12 max. Out of 4,173. Four thousand, seven hundred and forty three. It is being done on purpose, by design and relentlessly, with the sole purpose of getting money. Because, after all, I’m their competition. How can anyone think this is ok? This is not even paying for a service, which I am totally ok with, IF IT WORKS. This is a platform that plasters every page with ads they’re making a ton of money on. Last time I checked, FB was a mega corp worth about 165 billion dollars, owned by some of the world’s wealthiest people (who are very biased, mega crony and evil, in my opinion).

A lot of us are being affected by this. Sadly, a lot of us give up because we cannot fight this monster anymore. It’s impossible for me to stop doing my art, so I won’t give that up. But I do want to quit FB. They collect our private info and use that, too, for gain. It’s not right. It really bugs me when I hear people go on and on about hating stores like Walmart, because they’re gigantic corporate mega monsters who ruin small business, yet they don’t bat an eye at using and supporting FB. There. Is. No. Difference.

I’m going to keep struggling and trying to win this battle. I know there has to be a way.

I also know people can help by clicking the ‘like’ button, instead of just apathetically scrolling by for more eye candy. If you really want to help, then do. I have grown so weary of asking for such a simple little thing. But then, the way FB works, is they stall your posts from appearing in the short time window you have to get the most likes so your post is organically boosted without having to pay. See how they work? I have studied this for years now, so I see the facts before my eyes. There is no arguing it. It is what it is and it is CORRUPT by design, for gain. Classic, problem> reaction> solution. (look up,  hegelian dialectic.) Their solution. An endless hamster wheel run to nowhere.

Back to the story I told…

I have started off on a journey (again) to find a new place to relocate (cyberly speaking). But everywhere I go, I see the same Big store conglomerates (think FB, etc), overshadowing the small shops, imposing rules, demanding money and eventually putting them out of business. The same tactics are being used. It’s no coincidence. They WANT to destroy small business. This is not capitalism. It’s the opposite… It’s cronyism, with the socialist end goal of monopolizing everything, owned by a few. This is what it always does. It’s bad for everyone else but the cronies. There has to be an answer, other than exterminating every last rotten one of them lol.

So, in conclusion, if anyone reading this has some real answers, some well proven ideas that work, let me know. Do not… I repeat, DO NOT toss me a bunch of links, videos or stupid advice. That doesn’t help me. I’ve been wracking my brains with this for over 3 years now, so I’ve pretty much covered it all. I need something new. Something that works. Not FB, not Twitter, not steemit, not SEEN, not MINDS, not Tumblr, not Deviant art, not Pinterest, not LinkedIn, not Instagram (owned and ruined by FB), not print ads, not galleries (on or off line). Gosh, I’ve tried them all, I think. I want to know what works for small business and why it works. Not assumptions, not hearsay. Something online has to work. All hope can’t be lost…

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