Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chasing Facebook "likes" on Z-Berg's B-Day

 Mick Jagger sings the words “I like it” 40 times during the 5 minutes and 6 second song, “It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll (but I like it).”

If I could get Jagger to like this post on Facebook it would be the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.

Today is Mark Zuckerberg’s 29th birthday and a good time to consider how Facebook likes have become the new currency of cool. It’s that way at least for those of us who are assured a gaudy accumulation of likes will lead to commercial success.

I wonder.

Are likes a true indicator of worth?

Do you like my book? Do you like this blog? Do you like me?

Did answering in your head those questions make you feel as awkward as I felt asking them in mine?

See, it’s like the Facebook birthday boy’s sent the whole adult world back to the Fourth Grade.

Likes are on my mind this week because as many of you know I’ve been doing some unseemly yet vain groveling for them.

A friend said starting a Thunderclap campaign might lead to a welcome burst of publicity for my book. It seemed like a good idea.

All I’d need to do was get 100 people to share my pitch for “Use All The Crayons!” and the Thunderclappers would make a PR ruckus on its behalf. Needed likes would surely ensue.

Of course, the results have been humiliating. They always are.

It’s like the time back when I had 97 Twitter followers over at @8Days2Amish. I’ve seen this done successfully by others so I thought I’d give it a try. I tweeted: “Get your friends to follow me and I’ll give you and the 100th follower a free crayon-signed copy of my book!”

Know what happened?

Over the next 12 hours five once steadfast followers bolted and I was back down to 92.

Let’s break that down: I had 97 people who “liked” me on Twitter. I asked these “friends” to introduce me to friends of theirs on the belief that we had common interests in 140-character wit.

I offered these friends a free copy of my book for their trouble.

And just like that five of these friends vanished into the e-ther.

Can someone explain the psychology of that? Was my request offensive? Were they afraid I’d actually follow through on the book offer? Did I got too far too fast?

It wasn’t like we were on a first date and I tried to steal second in the darkened movie theater.

And that’s a salient example. I remember actually doing that back in, I think, Ninth Grade.

I had a date with a lovely little girl. We went out for pizza and a movie. We were having a great time and I remember feeling like a real swashbuckling puberty pirate. I was poised to plunder. I can’t remember the movie, but after we’d finished the popcorn I thought, okay, I’m going for the breast.

And that’s just what I did.

Well, she was furious. She shoved my hand away and turned right to stone. She refused my fumbling apologies and didn’t say a word to me the rest of the night. Ever again, in fact.

I was dumbfounded. She’d given me all the signs. I thought I was cleared for takeoff.

I wonder how much worse it would have gone if I’d have told her that one day I’d give her a crayon-signed copy of “Use All The Crayons!”

It’s like that with this Thunderclap thingie. I thought, man, 100 shares should be a cinch. I have 380 Facebook friends, many of whom are among the 227 friends who’ve “liked” my book on its dedicated page. And I now have 260 followers on Twitter.

Just do the math.

Here’s what happened:

I put out a general note on Facebook asking people to share the Thunderclap link. I put a note on the book’s page asking the same. I tweeted the request. I contacted a handful of supporters and asked them to share it and dupe just two friends into doing the same.

I quixotically thought I’d have 500 in five days.


As of today, I have a measly 15 shares and two people who once “liked” “Use All The Crayons!” bailed on me and I’m back down to 225.

It’s like everything that happens in my promotional life is destined to wind up messin' with Sasquatch.

So Happy Birthday Mark Zuckerberg! We thank you for your gift to a world that now enjoys a simple, yet complexly layered way to measure our worth and that of all we cherish.

I like it. I like it.

Yes, I do.

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