One of those Facebook days

You know how it is

As the cliché goes, it’s complicated. We met about six months ago and argued about almost everything and about two months ago we came to an understanding. It’s very special. Quiet. Grown-up. A lot of the time we don’t say anything. Not very me-words at all. On Sunday we’d both had too much to drink and something was said I took badly. It was my ego that did it. What was said could have been true, just in the context it was said. I took it to mean in every context and I was hurt and upset. I did the stupidest thing I could chose out of my massive long list of utterly stupid things I keep handy, lightly oiled and ready for instant deployment for situations like this. I wrote on Facebook. I deleted it before I could send it. I wrote another, more restrained, much more bitter and pretentiously self-pitying version. I deleted that too.

Then I did a hugely uncharacteristic thing and thought about why it bothered me. The answers were pretty simple. Because I had drunk too much. Because I can see how it could have been true. Because of how I took it. Because of the stuff in my head. Because I was thinking like an idiot, projecting my own doubts and insecurities onto the words someone else had said and saying ‘you said that!’

That’s the trouble with words. Once they’re out you can’t decide what anyone else is going to think about them. You can say ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ but it doesn’t matter. Once it’s out you’d better hope the other person thinks the same way you do because there’s nothing else you can do but hope. You can’t decide how someone else is going to interpret your words. You can’t decide how they’re going to feel.

Brand New Degree

Once upon a time someone worked for me who as a brand new graduate said one of the most stupid, 100% gold-plated guaranteed just plain wrong things I have ever heard and trust me, I’ve heard a few: “I say what I like. People have to take me as I am.”

I don’t know what they teach in universities these days, but they don’t. People don’t have to do anything you think they have to do or say they have to do, unless they have a gun at their heads. Even then it’s still their choice, not yours. People don’t have to take you as they are. You don’t have control over what’s in their heads. But you need to be aware of what’s in yours.

So I didn’t send it. Nothing at all. Not even, ‘we need to talk.’ Because we really didn’t, not then. In the morning I checked to make sure I didn’t send the silly, petty, hurting, pathetic thing I’d thought, something more suited to coming out of the mouth of a fourteen year-old than the person I hope is me now. I hadn’t sent it.

Dead dogs in a skip

But it was still a shock when the same person sent me a picture of what looked like dead dogs in a skip on my phone. I thought maybe somehow my message had been sent after all. I thought it was a metaphor, or maybe just an indication of where I should end up along with the dogs for being such an arse. It wasn’t quite the Mafia-style horse’s head on  my pillow, but it felt not far off. It was only when I went onto Facebook on a laptop that I could see the whole thing. The dogs weren’t dead although they were in a skip, tied up for transit in a way I can’t see the Royal Veterinary College recommending. The words that weren’t displayed on my phone were on a bigger screen explained what was going on, asking me to make it public.

I did more than that. I tracked down the phone numbers of the people who definitely know what was going on with these dogs and posted it, so they should be getting one or two calls around about now.

I think things are ok with my friend. I hugely hope they are. I really do try not to be a total arse these days. Mostly I think I avoid it. And I’m truly sorry when I don’t. I think I’m finally growing up. A bit, anyway.

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Lies, damn lies and Facebook

I was thinking of advertising somewhere. Sorry, I meant leveraging my cross-platform modalities. And where better than Facebook. Well as it turns out, practically anywhere. I think my ad would have done better in the newsagent’s window in Aldeburgh, frankly. It would certainly have been more cost-effective.

I had an ad there for a month. On Facebook, obviously. The results were memorable. Two click-throughs. Two. In a month. I certainly remember that.  Then Facebook phoned: “Would I like to buy an ad?”

Well no, Facebook, I bought one and nothing happened so I won’t be buying another. “We’ll look into it,” said Facebook. And by an AMAZING coincidence there were 50 click-throughs in the next 24 hours. I must be born lucky that way.

Over the next week my little old Facebook ad, the one that garnered no clicks at all for a month, managed 150 click-throughs to the Amazon page I’d specified. The results, or ‘insights’ as Facebook’s newspeak has it, were impressive, or they would be if my stats-inclusive BSc put most of its emphasis on BS.

Facebook Insights

In the new amazing world of business school MBA Advanced Know Nothingness, ‘insights’ just means ‘some numbers.’ You can tell the quality of them by the way they record website hits (a search engine crawled across it) instead of visits (someone actually went to the site). This is the upside down-world of insights, Search Engine Optimisation and ‘creative’ content. In the modern Alice Through the LCD the medium isn’t just the message, it’s actually more important.

So here are some insights anyone on The Apprentice would be proud to trot out.

150 clicks. £60. 9 new Facebook likes. Net sales – er one.

The ad was straightforward. Buy Not Your Heart Away, now, in paperback and Kindle. Click here.


That was it. There could only be one reason to click on it, to go straight to the Amazon page. It’s not exactly ambiguous. I never saw the ad. No-one I know has ever seen the ad, but then, considering a friend’s house-to-rent is on there most days and she’s never even considered using Facebook let alone paid for it maybe that’s not too surprising.

That house is advertised on another website, one that’s nothing to do with Facebook. Nice-looking house.

Nice of someone to run an ad for it without the owner knowing.

There’s one difference between those two ads, of course. Mine was paid for, my friend’s wasn’t. But they both have at least one thing in common. They don’t produce any results.

Whatever you do, don’t buy a Facebook ad. It’s a total waste of time and money. But it’s the transparency of the con-trick that’s the most insulting part of all.

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