Posted by: patenttranslator | April 30, 2013

If We Can’t Trust Social Media, What Can We Trust These Days?

“Does your company have a FaceBook fan page?

I can send 500 to 1MM “Likes” within a few days.

We can add “Likes” to build your online following.

Consumers assume that a company with lots of “Likes” is established and reputable.

Call me so we can discuss the benefits. Results 100% Guaranteed!

Frank B.

FaceBook “Likes” Expert

[toll free phone number] 

P.S. – We can also help with YouTube Views, Twitter Followers and Mass Emails. Call us…” 

This was an e-mail that I received a few days ago. I wonder how many people received the same e-mail from Frank B. Thousands, for sure, if not millions.

Social media, including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, is becoming so important that companies pay their employees to maintain a company blog, or use people like Frank B. to manufacture fake followers.

You can usually tell quite easily corporate blog posts from posts on real blogs about issues written by people who have something to say as I wrote in this post more than two years ago. They always have a bland, uninspired, transparently self-serving post about how wonderful their company is with a few hundred words once or twice a week, most of the time with absolutely no response from readers.

Now, these fake blogs can have hundreds of followers and thousands of likes just like real bloggers thanks to people like Frank B.

It is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to distinguish the real thing from a fake in just about anything these days, including social media. There are 143 fake blog comments in my spam queue right now and my Dashboard tells me that a utility called Akismet blocked 56,199 spam comments so far. Sometime, the spam gets through the utility and I spend a few seconds reading it before I realize what it is. And sometime Akismet blocks real comments from people who have something to say, usually when they praise my blog because that is one distinguishing feature of fake comments. So if you wonder why I  failed to respond to your lavish praise at some point, the chances are that Akismet sent your comment to the spam folder.

Of course, if you are really, really good at faking, there is a bright future for you, young man or woman, in politics. As George Burns used to say, “If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made”.

Based on what he was saying a few years ago, candidate Obama had absolutely nothing in common with president Obama. My explanation for what happened is that president Obama must be an evil twin of candidate Obama, and the real Obama, the one who was promising us real healthcare reform (not a bailout of the private health insurance industry) and transparent government (not vicious prosecutions of whistle blowers) and all the other things that sounded so wonderful in 2008, is imprisoned somewhere in an undisclosed location, sort of like The Man in the Iron Mask, who was supposedly the legitimate heir to French throne, was allegedly held imprisoned in the Bastille and other prisons by Louis XVI.

The fakers on the social media sometime send me fake e-mails under names that I am bound to recognize so that I would click on attached links. I can usually tell quite easily that these are fake e-mails because, for example, I am called “Steve” in fake e-mails purporting to be from my kids. Obviously, my kids would never call me “Steve”!

 I wonder how these cheats got their e-mail addresses. From Faceboook? Or is my e-mail being monitored by some geeky hacker somewhere? It is quite likely because I used to receive fake e-mails from a translator who passed away several years ago who only had an e-mail address on AOL.

 Cheating and faking is an important skill now, very much in demand in the 21st century.

 If you don’t have this skill in your skill set, you are unlikely to find good employment and prosper.

 You will probably end up writing a bitter blog that nobody will bother reading, and at some point you may become so desperate that you will decide to engage the services of somebody like Frank B. who will get you hundreds or thousands of fake likes on Facebook and fake tweets on Twitter.

 

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Responses

  1. Oh, there are a few jokes to make from your post, but I will only resort to asking, what do all these fake likes and superlative self-made-by-paid-employees comments do for these companies???
    I just don’t get it.
    Social media has become an amazing marketing media – which I have no personal interest in being a part of, and thankfully a few people around me feel the same.
    Our lives are becoming so fake that I find myself wishing I would have been around as a Neanderthal… you were born, you lived for a bit (if you were lucky enough to survive childhood), hunted, gathered, used a club to thwart off your enemies only to be swallowed by a lion or crushed by a mammoth – or have the amazing Homo Sapiens defeat you to oblivion and eventually invent the fake social media.

    Wishing you a wonderful and REAL day!

    Like

  2. […] "Does your company have a FaceBook fan page? I can send 500 to 1MM "Likes" within a few days. We can add "Likes" to build your online following. Consumers assume that a company with lots of "Likes"…  […]

    Like

  3. @Abwords

    It is quite likely that cheating and lying was as common among Neanderthals as it is among humans now. The only difference was that back then they would be eaten by a lion or crushed by a mammoth in their thirties or early forties, and now we have the advantage of living well into our eighties or nineties, in an assisted living facility that takes good care (or not) of demented residents who have Alzheimer’s disease – I read somewhere that something like 70% of people over 80 have Alzheimer’s.

    If you take a look for instance at the history of the Roman empire, clearly, they were cheating, lying, murderous SOBs just like modern humans.

    After all, fiddling while Rome is burning, a popular pastime of current politicians, was invented in Rome more than two thousand years ago.

    Like

  4. “Cheating and faking is an important skill now, very much in demand in the 21st century. If you don’t have this skill in your skill set, you are unlikely to find good employment and prosper. You will probably end up writing a bitter blog that nobody will bother reading, and at some point you may become so desperate that you will decide to engage the services of somebody like Frank B. who will get you hundreds or thousands of fake likes on Facebook and fake tweets on Twitter.”

    Steve, if you have some time, I recommend you reading a work, “How Real Is Real? Confusion, Disinformation, Communication,” written by the late Professor Paul Watzlawick and reading the Chinese novel, “Dream of the Red Chamber,” by Cao Xueqin (translated by David Hawkes and John Minford). The latter might be too long for elder people like us, but it reflects exactly what Watzlawick was talking about: (real or fake) realities or perceptions.

    Watzlawick argued that the reality perceived is a result of communication which is very likely to be manipulated. It´s a matter of power (and money).

    Social media are easily manipulated. Those translation portals are about the same story. They abuse their position of trust. The abuse or manipulation is a kind of corruption. (“Afra Raymond: Three myths about corruption” at TED worths listening.)

    However, I don´t think this blog post of yours bitter at all and I´ve read it with great interest. You don´t need Frank B. Like me, we fake a few languages to make a pretty comfortable living. :-o)

    Like

    • My blog posts are not bitter, I hope.

      I do not shy from tackling controversial subjects, but I try to generally keep an upbeat tone in my conclusions, even if I am saying that the country and the world are going to hell in a hand basket.

      Sea of tranquility, that is what I aspire to.

      Like

  5. Let is say, metaphorically, “a lion” (to be swallowed by) or “a mammoth” (to be crushed by) mean “getting no jobs” or “getting no decent jobs which you deserve even if you’re more experienced, skilled, etc. than a (fake) agency”. Being swallowed by a lion means simply losing jobs to those (fake) agencies.

    As you know, you don’t have to be the fastest not to be swallowed or crushed, you should just be faster than the slowest (when pursued by a lion, I am not sure about mammoths though).

    However, if a (fake) translation agency is trying to get more speed in order to get in front of you by “cheating and faking” (e.g. buying likes and putting a website with friendly faces illustrating diversity and multi-language competence in all fields of expertise), you may just as well feel an urge to get a move on.

    I am sure these “new” skills like manipulation, cheating and faking are not new at all. It is just names that are changing.

    Like

  6. I don’t quite understand why all those companies are trying to buy fake “likes” and the like, but I despise them for that even more than before. This is just another contribution to the general atmosphere of dishonesty on which the modern business culture is based, which is what prompted me to write this post.

    I certainly don’t need to do that for my blog, which has quite a few followers given the obscure subject that I am attempting to analyze.

    Like

  7. “I don’t quite understand why all those companies are trying to buy fake “likes” and the like, but I despise them for that even more than before.”

    So do I (despise). I think we can be truly equal competitors in contempt. What I don’t understand is why people are so easily duped into believing all this fake stuff. It certainly makes it hard not to despise “easy believers”, just as well. (Trying hard to get an upbeat tone as a conclusion…)

    Like

  8. I guess I cannot against both of you, Steve and Valerij, in contempt, because I do pity those gullible ones, instead of despising them.

    There is a Chinese phrase for such a phenomenon of people running after more “likes”: 隨大流 (following the mainstream, roughly translated). It’s always safer to stay with the majority, even when one knows exactly that the majority is wrong.

    Copernicus was smart enough to obscure his findings while Galileo Galilei wasn’t. And we know who suffered more.

    It’s a matter of power. When a power fight against another power, they come to a balance eventually. But, when there is no power to fight against a power, the majority concedes in order to avoid being crushed by the power. That’s where the zombification starts.

    We are lucky to have found our own clienteles and know how to maintain power balance with our clients. Those beginning translators have nowhere to go as to gain their experiences through agencies and portals. Even when they know there’s something wrong, their survival (das Zombie-Dasein) depends on their silently following “likes.”

    I read your blog posts, both of yours, Steve and Valerij, but I don’t even “like” you. You sound pretty much “elite translators” who do practically nothing for “The” Translator Community and provide no “hard data.” You explicitly show translation colleagues that you don’t believe in “We” and won’t do anything for “Us.” No wonder there was someone asking Steve to take out her comment and to delete her name from the follower list.

    Maybe, we are just lucky not to have to like fake likes and not to need fake likes, like poor soulless zombies.

    Now, here’s something for kids who are not yet zombified and who still can sincerely like something or someone:

    Like

  9. 隨大流 (go with the flow) makes sense under some circumstances.

    As a Japanese proverbs says: 出る釘は打たれる (a nail that sticks out will be hammered down). It is often better to lose yourself among the masses.

    But when it comes for instance to finding well paid work, the opposite is true. If you do everything exactly the way everybody else is doing it, you will work hard, and stay poor.

    You have to go against the flow. Otherwise, the system will chew you up and spit you out like everybody else.

    Like

  10. 出る釘は打たれる, my parients used to warn me.

    Sure, everybody wants to find well paid work. But where are the hard data? You don’t find them anywhere other than at those portals. They are real or really “hard” data. So, everyone goes with the flow to find oneself working hard and staying complainingly poor.

    Lucky us, we are able to swim against the flow, though we have to be prepared for being hammered down anytime. And lucky us, we are still able to take the hammering and stay sticking out all the time.

    However, Steve, you must remember “Thus Spake Zarathustra”? Try to recall while listening to Richard Strauss’ musical interpretation of that fantastic literary work by a lunatic übermensch:

    Being an übermensch is not always a bless, neither is being one of those elite translators. I am satisfied of being a merely technical manual translator.

    Like


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