Phil Friedman

5 years ago · 4 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Can You Believe This?

Can You Believe This?

RECENTLY POSTED AS A BIT OF SATIRE ON, AND ABOUT LINKEDIN, THE RESPONSE WAS... WELL, MIND-BOGGLING...


So, it was last Friday evening late, and I sat there at my desk and laptop, missing the Friday night silly sessions that we used to have on the LinkedIn group, Writers 4 Writers. Because the traffic on the group was visible only to group members, it was a great way, and a great time for a group of about 50 active writers to blow off steam at the end of the week bantering, punning, telling jokes, writing limericks, even arguing and "insulting" one another. At W4W, there was a feeling of trust and camaraderie that bloomed on Friday evenings late, when all our brains were fried from the week's activities.

Unfortunately, the last round of changes that LinkedIn made to group operating procedures pretty much killed W4W, or if not exactly killed, left it comatose. The thought of which was making me somewhat melancholy, especially in the circumstances.

You see, I have been ranting against LinkedIn's policy of choking down the distribution of independent writers' long-form posts (and it seems updates, as well) to those writers' connections and followers. And while there is a significant number of LI members who seemed to understand the problem and sympathize, there is a stubborn knot of LI apologists who just can't seem to see what the fuss is all about. It is an almost insurmountable problem in communication, never mind logic, to get such people to see that there is a problem with what LI is doing in contravention of the promises it made to indie writers, when it first invited them to, as LI put it, "...publish on LinkedIn."

As a result, there I was last Friday evening thinking about those weird and wacky online W4W interludes, and about all of LinkedIn's anti-organic-networking moves over the past year or so, when... it came to me.

What if I framed the problem in terms that were more familiar and described circumstances to which people could better relate... mail delivery...

Can You Believe This?





So, I found and posted this on both LinkedIn and beBee.

Please take a minute to read and digest it. And ask yourself if you believe it.



The comments that came in were, to say the least, mind-blowing...

Mind blowing because more than half the people commenting on LinkedIn not only thought the news report was genuine, but expressed one degree or another of agreement with the reported initiation of shredding mail arbitrarily, rather than delivering it.

Comments like, "This could be a great idea. I only wish it could be implemented here in my country..."  Or like, "...sounds like a pretty sensible cost-saving measure."

Not only didn't they get the joke... they didn't get the point...

Which in my darker moments confirms me in my belief that society is hell-bent for devolution into oblivion. But once again I find myself digressing.

I am assuming that you read the news bulletin, and that you noticed:

1. The CNNN logo.

2. That the U.S.P.S. logo stands for United States Pistol Service.

3. That the name of the cited Postmaster General is Linkedensure.

4. That the text refers to "artificial un intelligence.

5. That the name of the consultant social media firm is LinkedOn.

6. That the name of the LinkedOn CEO is Jiff Weener.

Okay, I grant this last point doesn't really carry much weight... because admittedly the personality and integrity of the LinkedIn CEO appear similar to those of an... Oscar Mayer sausage...

Can You Believe This?

To be perfectly blunt, the comments garnered on beBee to the identical posting were much more intelligent, with nobody missing the point entirely. Which tells me, at least, that people on beBee appear to actually read the post more often than do the denizens of LinkedIn, where the predominating ethos encourages one to comment and be "seen" as much as possible, never mind taking the time to construct a contribution to meaningful dialogue.

One fellow on beBee did criticize the post as being a "crude" hoax — which it is definitely not... a hoax, that is. The post is intentionally crude because it represents what is intended to be a satirical reductio ad absurdum of the social media policy at LinkedIn and elsewhere of using algorithmic control to filter and choke down member-to-member communications in contradistinction to the expressed wishes of those members.

In my book, a critical feature of satire is that it must not be so convincing that the irony goes unnoticed...

I have personally long been of the belief that good satire draws you into belief in the beginning, then after a while lets you start to kind of wonder whether something isn't amiss, and finally, brings you to the flash of understanding that you've been had. That experience, properly conducted, causes the reader or listener or audience to go back over in their minds what it was, what assumptions they made, that enabled the satirist to draw them along for as long as he or she did. And that, hopefully, leads to a further inventory and questioning of the validity of those assumptions.

It's almost embarrassing to feel moved to explain the point of the posting, but I am going to nevertheless. The posting was intended not to fool anyone, but to get readers to recast in their minds the question concerning the algorithmic manipulation and control on social media in a more familiar setting, in this case, that of daily, person-to-person, business-to-business, business-to-person, and person-to-business mail delivery, upon which we all depend.

And perhaps how you come down on the original issue concerning social media, depends whether, upon reading this spoof press notice, you could actually believe it. — Phil Friedman


Author's notes:  I don't write much about social media, except for the occasional piece about the failings of some of the platforms, in particular LinkedIn. And the occasional article on the psycho-sociological issues surrounding the presence of social media in contemporary society. If you found this post of interest, you may want to look at some others of mind:

"Arrogant Control Is Not Leadership on Social Media, or Anywhere Else"

"Take Your Algorithm and Shove It !"

"View Counts on Pulse Posts Headed to Oblivion"


If you'd  like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other LinkedIn articles — whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post.


About me, Phil Friedman:  With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation. And in a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.


Can You Believe This?The (optional-to-read) pitch: As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve the clarity of their thought, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal confidently with disagreement.

To schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult email: info@learn2engage.org
                

Text Copyright 2016 by Phil Friedman — All Rights Reserved 
Images Credits:  Phil Friedman, and Google Images


Can You Believe This?


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Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #34

#46
Thank you Pamela for reading, reading, and commenting. I have been trying to tell those who embarrassed themselves that it was all in good fun, and that they should take it as a heads up to read more carefully before commenting --- which is a message I have been preaching for several years now. (I've almost earned by Divinate) I've also found myself trying to explain the difference between a "scam" and a "spoof", the former undertaken to fool, the latter undertaken in goodwill just to befuddle temporarily at first glance, but then be clear as to its true nature. Long live Alfred E. Newman!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #33

#44
Javier C\u00e1mara Rica, I understand and believe that beBee's approach is the correct one., as it eliminates the temptation to post provocative articles and photos simply for the sake of creating controversy. Thanks.

Javier 🐝 CR

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #32

#38
Phil Friedman is a brilliant marketeer. But this strategy is not possible on beBee as a "relevant" click or a comment don't distribute the content through your followers , because beBee look for relevancy. Anyway beBee will be promoting automatically buzzes with more "relevants"... great improvements are coming ...soon !!!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #31

#41
@Sarah (Sally) McCabe - I'd call it chilling. Makes you wonder who out there you're talking to. More the reason for all of US to stay in touch.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #30

Andrew Books -- see, I hit return too soon. You know the piece I'm tallking about --- https://www.bebee.com/producer/@phil-friedman/conversations-with-my-wife-about-my-writing

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #29

#34
Okay, Andrew Books, while it's very good to hear from you and that you're doing well, I have to question whether your judgement is somewhat rusty -- what with you thinking that my satire is better than my stand up comedy. My stand-up comedy has gotten me some tentative offers to do gigs in Manitowoc and a Casino at the Dells -- subject only to my completing and sending my video performance of the article I published a few months ago.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #28

#37
I admit to being skeptical about Candice Galek up to and following her interview by online friend David Grinberg. Clearly, her campaign, as you call it appropriately, is brilliant, because whether you like it or hate it, if you post a comment, you distribute her posts to your network of connections and followers . And that is organic reach on sterioids given how many people are moved to comment on her posts. But I digress. Candice and I crossed virtual paths -- due to some common experience with South Beach -- and we've bantered back an forth, and traded some ideas. And David Grinberg was right, she is a down-to-earth, bright, serious, but not overly self-serious, businessperson, with a clear agenda, which is the growth of he firm. Some people may not like her campaigns, but they are effective. Thanks, Rob McNaughton for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #27

Thanks, Andrew Books, for reading and commenting. Good to hear from you again, and that all is well. The results on this piece we very scary for me, because they indicated that a high percentage of people on LinkedIn don't read before commenting. Anyway glad you liked it more than my stand up comedy piece, which I thought was pretty good. https://www.bebee.com/producer/@phil-friedman/conversations-with-my-wife-about-my-writing . Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #26

@Rob McNaughton - thank you for the kind words, and for sharing the post. Truth be told, I've been talking about this for nearly a year, not continually, but consistently. And there are a lot of people who have expressed themselves in support. And, to be sure, a smaller, though significant number who have said they don't see why LinkedIn can't do whatever it wants to do. I suspect that a good portion of the latter, are also those who don't see anything wrong with the USPS arbitrarily shredding 50% of the mail being carried across the country. Go figure. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #25

#31
Yep, @Wayne Yoshida, it is. And I kept my spoof pretty blatantly discoverable. Candice Galek did a spoof after me, and made it so realistic it fooled (and so embarrassed) so many of the dense on LinkedIn she eventually deleted the post and all the embarrassing remarks with it out of compassion to those who had spilled their dinners in their laps. Cheers.

Wayne Yoshida

Wayne Yoshida

5 years ago #24

Phil Friedman, thank you for this follow-up, since I missed your CNNNNN original release. It is like the statement "This is a true story" in the movie "Fargo." But some people still didn't get it.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #23

#28
From what I saw, Lisa Gallagher, Candice did receive some rough comments on the spoof she posted on LinkedIn. But Candice is a big girl, and my understanding is that was NOT what caused her to delete the post and the comments thread. As I understand her -- and she is obviously free to correct me or clarify the situation -- is that he spoof piece was so realistic that most of the people commenting thought it was real, embarrassed themselves with dumb comments, and some complained about having been tricked into saying dumb stuff and thus being embarrassed for having been taken in. To my mind, they were rightfully embarrassed for being such dunderheads who comment before really reading and reflecting on what they are talking about. But, hey, Candice is apparently a kinder person than I, so eliminated the source of their embarrassment on a "professional" platform. Let's not confuse this with taking down a post because a few people made nasty comments about it. Cheers

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #22

#25
Paul \, I think we need to adopt your term "Linkies," I like that! Yes, I missed Candice's post on LI. I agree, if she was getting a lot of un-civilized comments over there I don't blame her for taking it down. She has a lot of positive support on beBee!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #21

#25
Paul \ who storm around giving everybody what for. :-)

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #20

#23
Thank you Skip Boettger, for saying so. And for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #19

#18
@Andy Parr - In the words of Paul \, I resemble that remark. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #18

#21
I believe it was on LI that Candice's post created so much static, and was taken by so many to be real, rather than satire. I don't presume to speak for her, but I can sympathize with her chagrin to post a piece of satire that is relatively innocent, only to see hundreds of people embarrassing themselves by taking it serious and commenting to that extent. And I understand why Candice elected to take it down. Certainly not her fault that people on LI speak so often with absolutely no preceding thought, but I for one full understand her feeling uncomfortable about the circumstances. So kudos on Candice for acting responsibly. Cheers!

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #17

#20
Hi Phil Friedman, I did read it on beBee. I didn't see it on Linkedin. Amazing how different the reactions are from one platform to another with regards to the satire and yes, other things too. I haven't been on Linkedin much over the past month.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #16

#19
Well, that's interesting... and good, Candice. Good, because it may put @Lisa Gallagher's mind at ease to be able to find and read it. And interesting because your experience coincides with mine as to the difference in reception of the two platforms. Cheers and thanks.

Candice 🐝 Galek

Candice 🐝 Galek

5 years ago #15

#13
I did leave it up here, there did not seem to be the same problems 😉

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #14

#15
Phil Friedman and I posted comments to her post on beBee. .I think.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #13

@Lisa Gallagher, thank you for reading and commenting, and for the kind words. I have to disagree, however, with your remark to Candicen Galek, who perceives correctly that the point of satire is not to fool or confuse, but to get someone to see things from a viewpoint outside their usual zone. That is one of the reasons I was so disturbed by some of the responses to my post. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #12

Candice, I understand how you feel, when people take a spoof seriously and embarrass themselves by speaking out so boldly and confidently when they haven't a clue. But remember I warned you about not making it too realistic, for then they will blame you for their dense behavior. Be consoled, however, that you've gone up several levels on my respect scale, by exhibiting the cojones (pardon the expression) to talk about the mid-step and own up to the error. Cheers! #11

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #11

I have to say Phil Friedman recognized the link didn't match the Article that I had my "Aha" moment! I enjoy satire. Candice, you should have left yours up!

Candice 🐝 Galek

Candice 🐝 Galek

5 years ago #10

Love it.. I tried something similar but it was much too real. People were up in arms, or just straight believed it. I felt bad to the point I personally messaged people who did not realize it was an attempt at satire. And subsequently deleted the post.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #9

#9
Chas Wyatt, that is not surprising. I have a theory that the LI algorithm has much more difficulty dealing with the uploaded photo updates, because they do not contain recognizable text. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #8

#1
Thank you, Dean Owen, for the kind words. I do not want to appear self-impressed (although I may have caught the virus from spending too much time on LinkedIn), but part of it might be that, among other things, I've written hundreds of press releases and notices for a living -- well, at least, part of a living. So I the form of the bulletin is pretty realistic. I did, however, as you correctly perceive, go out of my way to let people know it was a satirical spoof, not a hoax -- if they would just take literally a minute to actually read it. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #7

#2
Milos Djukic, your support is both valuable and greatly appreciated, for you are one of those who really "get it". And you do plenty by liking and sharing all over the place, so the absence of a comment by you on LinkedIn is to me completely inconsequential. Be well and cheers, my friend!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #6

#4
@Mohammed A. Jawad - I can understand completely how people whose first language is not English could miss the cues, although I do not understand how anyone could think that having 50% of the mail shredded by algorithmic edict could be a good idea. Thank you re-reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #5

#3
John White, MBA, yep, it was weird with people making comments about what a great idea it was. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

5 years ago #4

Phil Friedman I came across this news...after briskly reading it I gave a thought: what's funny going on and now there's planning to trim and shred mailing. Now, after reading this post with clear exegesis, I give a chuckle to our silliness in blindly swallowing news without proper jawbone exercise, and there's the rub, indigestion and wrong conclusions. :)

John White, MBA

John White, MBA

5 years ago #3

I found the humor, Phil Friedman. Glad I ducked out before things got weird.

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

5 years ago #2

Reductio ad absurdum is sometimes my main weapon :) Brilliant Phil Friedman, I have not respond on LI for obvious reasons, but here I can

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #1

Forgive them father because they haven't got a clue - or perhaps people just quick read CNN articles. But anyone with half a brain would should pick up on this in an instant. It was a brilliant piece of satire with a clear message.