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Hey there, kiddos. Leviathan here. Today we’re going to talk about spamming your friends on social networking sites, something a great many people are irrefutably guilty of. So I’m going to need to sit you down for a second and preface this to cushion the blow a little bit.

Here, have a cookie. I’m not trying to make you feel bad for promoting yourself, champ. After all, I do it too, and shameless though it may be, there’s nothing wrong with it. Want a milkshake? Sure you do. Listen slugger, I get it. Everyone that has something that they want seen or heard needs to spam to some degree, there are few other effective options for simply getting your stuff out there short of renting bus-ads or billboards, and who has the money for that?

Are you comfortable? Great.

Like I said, sport, I’m not going to make you feel stupid for having something to promote. That’s super. I will, however, take great joy in making you feel stupid for mass-messaging indiscriminately at such a volume that even if the thing you’re trying to promote is legitimately great, I cannot, on principle alone, bring myself to have any interest in it whatsoever. It’s not the idea of promoting yourself that infuriates my bitter sensibilities; it’s the tasteless manner in which people choose do it that awakens the beast in me.

So, with that in mind, get off my damn couch and try not to take this too personally as I proceed to address:

The Spamming Issue

I spend a great deal of time on Facebook – mostly because I’m largely isolated from the world around me – but like to think I’m still at least partially involved in it. I don’t do an excessive amount of interacting with people, but I occasionally post something that I find amusing or impressive, and sometimes I’m just trying to make my friends and acquaintances think I’m witty.

Mainly because my self-worth is derived from how many imaginary thumbs-up I receive.

A lot of the time, though, I’m literally just staring at it. I’m what doctors call “nightmarishly hyperactive” you see, meaning that my brain is constantly seeking some manner of stimuli and as such I’m in a perpetual state of crippling boredom if I can’t find something with which to occupy my time.

That’s where Facebook comes into play. It’s like an opiate for the attention span. I’m not sure why, but it seems to subdue me. It’s calming, if a little creepy, to voyeuristically observe the digital world outside my electronic window. I can laugh at and mock whoever I want without the inconvenient punches to the face that sort of behaviour involves in real life. Also, I can do it naked and drunk if I so desire, without the irritation of having to explain myself to the authorities.

“Show me the sign that says I can’t be naked in wal-mart. Show me!”

The abhorrently verbose point I’m making here is that for me, Facebook is a distraction. Just like Spongebob Squarepants, it bombards my overactive neurons with useless yet novel information, which amuses me, thereby stifling the otherwise unstoppable flow of anxiety and neuroses caused by things like work, debt, and just the general bilge that tends to collect on a person’s life when it falls into disrepair.

You know what isn’t amusing? Constantly being invited to events and pages that anyone who takes so much as a passing glance at you would know you’d never be interested in.

I cleared these at the beginning of the week.

It’s one thing to send an invitation to everyone on your list when you create an event, or to show off your new band, side project, student film, YouTube channel, etc. I’m usually good for a like or a follow, provided you’ve got reasonable spelling and/or an aesthetically pleasing, acceptably symmetrical face.

It gets slightly bothersome when you factor in that literally everybody has something to promote these days, making my notifications rise like the American deficit with people desperately begging me to subscribe to their band’s page, which more often than not has no songs up, and little more than a blurb of text and a few terrible promo shots. Even that is an excusable offence, however. I don’t mind so much when people send one invite or request out, even if we don’t know each other that well. That, along with e-stalking, is the most common use of social networking after all, and who am I to decry either pastime?

How else would you know that she likes Twilight , Sushi and Maroon 5?

What really gets me imagining elaborate and gruesome revenge scenarios is frequency. If I don’t respond to your first twenty invites, what do you think the twenty first is going to accomplish? If you said: ” Well, it might make you want to forcibly insert my keyboard into my rectum, widthwise and without lubrication”, congratulations, you’re not one of the idiots I’m railing against. Or maybe you are, and that’s the reaction you’re going for. Well, I don’t get down like that, dude. Post an ad on Craigslist or something.

I understand that it takes a great deal of time to individually go through every single friend in your circle and decide whether or not this particular string quartet or snuff film or platform boot clearance sale is right for them, but believe me, it’s time well spent. The overall ignore/like ratio will change favourably based on the demographics you choose to pander to, and the amount of people who’d like to see you finger-bang a paper shredder will fall accordingly.

Yes, that’s a harsh and vividly-worded overreaction to something that in actuality is quite trivial. In case you haven’t caught on yet, that’s kind of my thing. Really though, it’s a sound marketing strategy.

When one of these articles goes up, I do my part to spread it around, but when I do so, I don’t just copy and paste a blurb about how great of a writer I am and that my musings will be universally cherished and are a gift to humanity at large. I am self-aware enough to realize that not everyone will be interested in my ranting fits, and as such do my best to target a specific sect of my list, namely, those who might enjoy reading my vitriolic tangents. First, I ask myself: “Is this person literate?”  On the off chance that the answer is yes, I ask myself if they’d be inclined to donate approximately five minutes of their time to reading my opinions, or if their attention span would even stretch past the first paragraph.

Sure, not every one that I send a link to will respond, but the amount of feedback I receive greatly outweighs the sum of those who don’t reply, and when someone doesn’t reply, I make a mental note not to send them the next one. That tactic is crucially important. I’ve already reached out to them, they’ve conveyed their disinterest, end of interaction. I do not, as so many do, resend the identical message to the person as little as 24 hours later. Doing so will often make the recipient that much less inclined to pull you out of a fire.

 Brock Douchemissile invited you to “plz help!”

The point is, when I send someone a link to my article, it’s because I respect them, and value their opinion of my work. It’s a compliment. It says; “Hey, I made this, and I legitimately think you might get a laugh out of it.”

So when someone invites me to spend $400 on a bottle of vodka that’s overpriced to begin with just for the ‘luxury’ of reserving a semen-stained booth at an overcrowded club event they’re throwing, it says to me “Hey, I think you’re a fucking moron, and might enjoy paying way too much money to hang out with a bunch of sluts and coked up assholes.”

If you absolutely must invite me to something I more than likely won’t give a fragment of a fuck about, at least take a moment to make things even superficially personal. If you’re in a new band and want me to give them a listen, say hello first. Especially if it’s been a long time since we’ve talked. Use an inside joke or something specific to our friendship that makes it clear that you’re not just going down your list sending the same message to everyone. That approach makes it painfully clear that I’m nothing but a potential ‘like’ or another name in the ‘attending’ column as far as you’re concerned, and it makes me wonder what you’re doing on my list in the first place.

Perhaps that’s a valid question, what the hell are these people doing on my Facebook to begin with? I know for a fact that I’m not actual real life friends with every single one of them. Maybe the onus is on me to cull the names that aren’t instantly recognizable. Or better still, simply un-friend those who wield the hammer of invitation irresponsibly, but I don’t want to do that. A lot of the guilty parties in question are people I do consider legitimate friends, and wouldn’t be so petty as to delete them over an influx of spam.

Despite what my weekly foray into bitter-old-man-itude would have you believe, I’m actually a pretty laid back guy, and it takes a considerable amount of genuine social ineptitude to piss me off enough to spin a minor grievance into a 1500+ word article. That should really say something about how wildly out of control this issue is, and I know I’m not the only person seething with volcanic rage over it.

Then again, maybe I am. I suppose it’s entirely possible that I’m the only person to have ever been annoyed by this and my entire tirade has been completely self indulgent. Well, I’m totally fine with that, and if you aren’t then you’ll just have to start your own blog about what a pious, self righteous bastard I am and then mercilessly spam the crap out of my Facebook with the link.

Ironically, I’d probably read it. I’m incredibly self-involved.

Here’s the deal, dear reader: spam is an unavoidable part of digital life. A necessary evil, if you will. When used properly, it can be an effective tool for making your work known to those around you. Unfortunately, when used carelessly and without discretion, it’s also an excellent way to make yourself an unwanted annoyance to the exact people you’re trying to impress with what you’ve made.

If you use a little common sense and isolate your most identifiable demographic instead of employing blitzkrieg tactics, it is literally impossible that you won’t see a more successful result. You’ll also be amazed at how few flaming bricks come sailing through the bay window of your living room.