When you absolutely need to know which previously assassinated Russian czar has teamed up with the Lizard People to aid President Trump in his quest to build a Death Star under the guise of a border wall, Facebook has you covered.
Likewise, if you want to discover what an acquaintance from ninth grade thinks about Hillary, it’s the place to be. There’s also that one woman who is constantly facing vague and distressing issues that sound as though they may necessitate an attorney at some point. Then there are the dank memes and a few pictures of friends, family, and their children and pets.
But what if there could be more?
In this spirit the social media platform, in conjunction with the Poynter Institute, recently announced the Facebook for Journalists Certificate. Supposedly, it’s a curriculum designed “to make it easier for journalists to utilize Facebook and Instagram in their daily work — from newsgathering to storytelling to engaging with their followers.”
Given that Poynter’s mission statement is basically an impenetrable fog, this partnership is ideal and will greatly enhance the Facebook’s role in building thick bubbles, alienating friends, and occasionally alerting potential burglars to extended absences from your home.
First, I must admit, I didn’t actually attend the class as I eschew certification and verification whenever possible because I believe strongly in plausible deniability. My colleague, Matt Battaglia, also did not attend the class. He did, however, do some research on it and relayed his abbreviated findings to me. In the spirit of Facebook journalism, I think I’m nailing the ethos by going off that rather than reading more myself or going so far as to get certified.
With that in mind, here are four strategies for harnessing Facebook’s true potential.
1. Over-Saturate Everything with ‘Storytelling’ and Take Advantage of Humanity’s Nonexistent Attention Spans
When you sit down at your laptop or pull out your phone, pretend that a more woke and less offensive Blake from “Glengarry Glen Ross” is standing over your shoulder saying, “Always. Be. Posting.” Start first thing in the morning, and don’t stop until you collapse in the evening.
Democracy may die in the dark, but you know what isn’t dark? The soft, warm glow of millions of screens around the world. Use that light to illuminate truth and justice, with the occasional recipe for crockpot buffalo chicken dip that neither you nor anyone else will ever make.
2. To Paraphrase Grover Cleveland, Trust and Don’t Verify
Recent studies have shown that only 17 percent of people will click through to an external article. Only 23 percent will hit the “read more” button. Use that knowledge to your advantage when crafting narratives and sharing stories. Your page’s followers are only going to read the headline or first few sentences, so focus your energy there. Sure, you could craft compelling tales and put them on another platform, but lol stop being ridiculous. All your stories are belong to Facebook, plus your firstborn child. You should’ve read the terms.
3. Never Delete a Post, Issue a Clarification, or Back Down From an Update
Perception is reality, so go off half-cocked whenever you can. Sure, the story that confirmed all your biases may have been a complete fabrication, but remember that’s only true if you acknowledge it. The world needs dreamers and, assuming you post a sufficient amount, you can keep your own possibilities in the clouds while lifting up other like-minded individuals. (Unfriend anyone who has different opinions than you, no matter how trivial.)
4. Generalize, Berate, Aggregate, and Aggravate
You know who doesn’t think Facebook is a valuable tool for enlightening friends and family? Those people. But with a little strategy we at the office call the turtleneck—gentle pressure, relentlessly applied—you can gradually bring them into the fold.
Start with merciless mockery of everything they enjoy and believe in. Make everything personal. Force them to question their own humanity. Then, when they’re beaten down to the point of questioning their own existence, return to step one and build them up into the good humans you know they could be if they just tried a little harder to stop being everything they’d been until that point in their lives.
This is a crucial moment in our nation’s history. If we’ve learned anything from the last presidential election, it’s that if you shout into the abyss long enough, the abyss shouts back. With the simple steps outlined above, you can make sure your voice is one of the louder ones hurtling around inside of that dark chasm and echoing back to others. In times as dark as these, it’s important to harness that chaos and be heard in the din. The very future of the planet might just hinge on your narrative.
Also, Linda needs a ride from the airport to her hotel, if anyone in Seattle is going to be available this afternoon around 3.