Wednesday, February 10, 2016

LIKE yourself more and share feel-good posts LESS on Facebook

HALLIE EPHRON: Every day I spend much more time UNsubscribing to newsletters I never asked for than actually reading one. And for the first time in months I recently subscribed to one!

It's all because of Facebook. I posted:
Speed bump: I just "liked" my own post
I'd inadvertently LIKED my own post. In the comments, a familiar name popped up (from Facebook and she comments here.) Yochaved Miriam Russo said:
Actually, it's a good idea to 'like' your own posts -- I haven't gotten into the habit, but it makes sense to do so. 
She included a link that introduced me to Rick's Daily Tips. Rick Rouse writes a newsletter chockablock with very useful tips for clueless Internet dwellers like me. Stuff like: Facebook algorithms tip in your favor when you like your own post.

His latest newsletter had something that shocked me.

He warned against clicking on or liking or sharing what he calls "feel good posts on Facebook." You know, the kind that you click on and share because they're cute... Like:

Adorable, right?

I am very careful about what I click on and rarely get stung, never open emails from sources I don't recognize, but when I saw this tip I knew I had some learning to do. 

Rick says what looks completely innocent could be “Like and Share Bait.” After it's been LIKED and SHARED a lot, it gets replaced by something offensive or a spam image or links to a virus that downloads when the next person clicks on it. 

So thanks to Rick I'm done SHARING those kinds of posts - and LIKING myself a whole lot more.

Here are some of Rick's other posts that you might like... and maybe like me you'll end up signing up for his newsletter. There are worse ways to waste your time.


  1. This newsletter sounds like something well worth reading. Who knew there were so many pitfalls out there???
    Fortunately, I haven't yet been scammed by this sort of thing, but it would never occur to me that "liking" something could create such a problem.
    It always amazes me that there are people with such skills who spend so much time dreaming up all these ways to create problems for Internet users . . . somehow it just seems like such a waste.

  2. Hallie, that's fascinating. I'll check out the newsletter and links. Thank you.

    I "like" all kinds of things on Facebook. I'm not sure if any of my recent computer problems came through Facebook, however. Possibly they were caused by the invasion of the false "friend" requests that are a special problem right now. The hacker takes a photo from your friend list and and creates a request for you to friend them. What they hope for, and what often happens, is you think that you already friended them or forget you did and "friend" your friend who is already your friend. I was taken to a strange site once or twice before I caught on.

    Then there are the false friend requests that are are not disguised as friends you already have. If I don't recognize the person requesting, I send a brief and friendly message asking how did we know each other. They usually say something like, I enjoy your comments on Jungle Red Writers. I've never had a problem with that type of request.

    I've only had one unsettling experience. It was a few years back. I had a friend request from a woman who talked as if she knew me. It seemed real but I asked how we knew each other. She said something reasonable, but looking back it was too generic. Now I am more careful in asking for specifics, as I try not to insult anyone. After all this was how I reconnected to my childhood babysitter and her sister who was also my friend... countless other happy reconnections. So, I friended her, and she messaged me (look how FB is changing our vocabulary and word usage). We chatted a little and I told her I didn't remember her, so she offered to send me a photo. Right. She was a he. I don't want to detail the rest of the story, but it was resolved.

    I still like Facebook.

  3. Thanks for sharing that, Reine -- I try never to accept a friend request from anyone I don't know but it never occurred to me they could be spoofing me.

  4. Joan, I agree it does seem labor intensive... and for what? Then I read about gullible people who get scammed out of thousands of dollars thinking they were helping a "friend" and it make sense.

    In case anyone is interested, we get spam posted in Jungle Red comments -- 5 or 6 every day... but the spammers don't post in the NEW posts they post in old ones. Again, so labor intensive and for what?

  5. it's all so aggravating isn't it? when I get a request from someone I don't know, I take a quick look at their profile. You can tell right away if the picture doesn't match the pronoun, or if they have no other photos or posts.

    see, and we could probably write a whole page while wasting this time!

  6. Thanks to you, Hallie, I will NOT "like" any such posts on Facebook again!

    I haven't been on Facebook in a very long time. I sign on about once every couple of months on a Saturday and sign right off again after a few minutes. FB just takes up so much time! I could lose an entire afternoon if I don't watch the clock. In the past couple of years I did receive a couple of friend requests from people I never heard of, people who supposedly are FB friends of a favorite author. I couldn't find any posts from them at the author's FB page, so I just ignored the requests. I occasionally have had a friend request from someone I've "met" here at JRW and I accept those, but not necessarily for a couple of months because of how infrequently I sign on.

    Like others have said, it's too bad the abusers don't use their skills to do something positive.

  7. Facebook, I agree Deb ad Lucy, how to pre-crastinate and procrastinate at the same time.

  8. I'm relatively new to Facebook (I know, a very late adopter), so appreciate information like this. I try to limit my time there and respond only to posts where I know the people. As others say, it can be a time suck if you aren't careful, and apparently a virus incubator, too.

  9. Thanks for sharing this stuff, Hallie. I thought it would look selfish to Like my own posts. Guess I'll do it now! Also good to know about the cute things. Assume pix of friends' children and grandkids don't count. ;^)

    On my author page I do switch to all my other identities (two pen names and three pages I administer) and Like my post as them just to try to fool the algorithm a little. Also apparently important to like and respond to every comment on an author page post to keep it alive.

  10. Does anyone remember there was a toy (maybe in Japan?) that was an egg (or maybe a baby?) that you had to carry around and turn every so often or it would "die"? Something about how this was giving you an idea what it was like to be a mother... but it's a good metaphor for Facebook.

  11. I don't like my personal posts, but I do try to like any posts I make to my author page. As Edith said, it bumps the algorithm.

    I only accept friend requests from people I know - either in person or through a respectable Internet community (like here). I usually only repost things from people I trust. And yes, I've been the victim of "new friend request from an existing friend" scam. Usually I check my friend status and send the person in question a message: Did you delete your old profile or do you have a new page? In most cases, they've been spoofed.

    Also, all those FB quizzes? Don't click on them. They harvest a boatload of information that is really best to keep to yourself.

  12. As a confessed Facebook addict, these were all helpful hints and I thank you!!

  13. Diane Hale here.

    Since I follow Kim Kommando, the computer queen, I've known about the various fb scams out there. Thanks to her posts, I don't click, or click & share all those "cute" or "pathetic" posts, & don't participate in those "what color are you" type quizzes. She also posts links to free or inexpensive programs to better protect your computer.

    Thanks to a hacker, I had friends getting a second friend request supposedly from me. But thanks to several friends who contacted me, I went through the process of re-securing my account. Learned that it's important to regularly change your password.

    As with anything else, if it looks too good to be true, it is. So to use a phrase from the old cop show NYPD Blue, be careful out there.

  14. Hi Hallie,

    Thanks so much for mentioning my blog and newsletter in this post. I appreciate it very much. I try my best to help others get the most out of technology and stay safe while enjoying the Internet and all that it has to offer. Thanks again for helping me spread the word!


  15. Not long ago I had a guy I'd accepted as a friend (because we seemed to have mutual friends in the community) send me a private message that said, "By reading this you just agreed to send me $10. Please contact me to arrange payment."

    Really? That was a scam tactic that made me laugh.

    These are great tips -- thanks so much. I'm going to get better at being active on my author page -- one of my 2016 goals -- so the tip about Liking/replying to all comments is great.

    Hallie, when I see that JRW has deleted a comment on the blog, I'm always SO curious about what the commenter wrote. Do people actually leave mean-spirited/objectionable comments here? That's nuts!

  16. Hallie and Rick, thanks so much for the useful information. I do LIKE everyone's comments on my author page, but didn't know that I should LIKE my own posts. Now you can bet I will.

    The only generic things I ever like on Facebook are cute German Shepherd pics and cartoons:-) Have never had a problem with those, at least so far.

    Rick, signing up for your newsletter now.

  17. I've always had the odd friend request from someone I don't know or none of my friends know, but lately, I've had quite a flood of friend requests from men with no connection to me. I joked recently, saying that a new crop of inmates must have been released. But, seriously, it's annoying. They are usually older men, like in my age range, and I simply click delete or ignore or whatever the click is to rid myself of them. You have to wonder how many people are accepting friends that they know nothing about. I have had the friend requests from people I'm already friends with, too, and I've learned to ignore those.

    New to me is the advice to not like the "cute" posts. But, they're so cute! I will work on that one. I also need to work on not sharing the "contests" posts where it is a scam site from Disney or others. I just did that, and a friend pointed out that it was a bogus site. Oh, and the quizzes. I'm working on that problem, too. I've cut back on the ones I participate in, but I know I probably need to just avoid all of them.

    Hallie, the blog scammers are so irritating. I had someone on my blog post a comment on all of my past posts advertising something or other, and I thought, "really?" Is this activity a full-time job for them?

    So, thanks Hallie and Rick for the hints. I'll be checking out the links, too.

  18. On the comments I delete: they're spam. Mostly they're innocuous/bland "This site is so great and clever and wonderful" followed by a bunch of links to where you can buy Coach bags or Pakistani moving services or essay writing services or ... When I delete it I go in as an administrator and leave nary a trace. Those spammers are paid for every link they successfully post online.

    When it says "this comment has been removed" that's usually been deleted by the person who posted it but then had second thoughts or posted twice by mistake. I don't actually remember ever having to delete anything mean-spirited/objectionable. Really.

  19. I've removed comments in which I see an egregious typo or other mistake - and ya can't edit them afterwards! I'd rather remove and repost correctly.

    There was a doozy of a spam comment that slipped through yesterday morning for a little while, Hallie! Glad the deletions leave no trace.

  20. You know, I consider myself an old hand online, having 26 years of experience at it. But there are new ways to scam each other invented every minute, it seems, and it's hard to keep up.

    I'm taking a hiatus from Facebook, as of today, at least until Easter. In the past when I tried to do this it didn't succeed more than a few days. However, this time I've "given it up" for Lent, so God is watching, and I don't dare mess it up.

    It will be interesting to see if not being on Facebook makes a difference in the spam levels of my email inbox, which have lately gone through the roof. Also, I just read an article claiming that the Facebook apps use a lot of battery power on phones--20% more on Androids, and 15% more on iPhone devices. So I'm curious to see how deleting them affects mine.

  21. Glad to hear the "this comment has been removed"s aren't about mean people!

  22. Never the JRW, Hallie!

  23. Never scammed with a click, thankfully. I did click on Rick though. Thanks for the tip, Hallie.

  24. I'd be disappointed to see likes disappear and good news and charitable opportunities disappear from FB. Probably I would be crushed. My cousin Cindy has raised many thousands of dollars for Diabetes research. Our extended family has done the same for kidney disease, the condition that claimed our daughter's life recently, and I have been fund raising for PAWS, a great organization that provides highly skilled service dogs like my own now-deceased Kendall. They do this free of charge. After a steady few days of support I found contributions in my name suddenly stop. I will get my new assistance dog anyway, but I'm very sad about this complete turnabout. I understand, though. Truly.

  25. Hallie, I had one of those Tamigotchi eggs, enjoyed it for a part of a summer with nieces who also had them, then put it aside. Later, my favorite niece (don't tell the others) mourned the loss or demise of hers, so I passed it on to her with no regrets. They were rather clever, and would now seem quaint, like the Scholastic games for the old Apple IIs.
    I wish these scammers would find something useful to do with their time and efforts.

  26. TAMIGOTCHI EGG! That's it! Thanks, Mary.

  27. Thanks to everyone who clicked over to my blog. And thanks again to Hallie for this kind post.

  28. Oh, my, someone who can tell me about FB other than a kid (who will simply tell me to use Instagram). I wasn't aware of the dangers of liking "cute" posts, so thanks for that as well.
    And yes, I spend a lot of time unsubscribing from newsletters I don't have time to read. I'd rather read a mystery!