Monday, March 19, 2012

Changed Facebook format forces major changes

New coding has halved Legendary readers

Market placement techniques which took effect on March 1 are forcing blogsters into obscurity.

It's as basic as which brand gets prominent, easy to find placement on supermarket or Wal-Mart shelves – while Brand X is indifferently shelved in other, more obscure locations - over there, mister or sister, behind the Hula Hoops, right next to the Pet Rocks.

Frozen out of most official sources of information, or, worse, forced to comply with a 10-day hold on “public information act” requests for even the most basic information - a policy that turns information into history, not news - The Legendary has experienced an overnight decrease in readership.

Starting in early March, Facebook changed its corporate policies and began a strict program of "archiving" certain groups of “friends” painstakingly assembled over the period of several years.

Suddenly, The Legendary group consists of three members.

Even more difficult, all attempts to post news items to the group – and others – results in only the insertion of a URL code, nothing more.

Establishment types with the backing of corporate sponsorship, however, take prominent placement over all others' attempts to place items of interest, dominating the pages in the same way as in more traditional media, the insertions replete with photos, logos, video and comments. Others in less favored categories are relegated to a dry as toast notation of a URL which, when clicked, leads to the blog of its original presentation.

The result is an overnight 50% decrease in page views, and the trend is continuing downward.

The new pattern of information control and management would not be so egregious if one did not have the distinct impression that the “accredited” media has no problems with obtaining information.

The people who are so eager to let you know every last detail of some Hollywood drunk's latest peccadillo with cocaine or shoplifting are able to get official news releases at will.

The truth is that the news and information policies are set by men and women who are either operating behind a badge as certified law enforcement officers, or did at some time in the past. Those who are not were often prosecutors who traded up to judgeships, congressional or legislative seats, or executive department appointments at some critical point in their careers.

It's no surprise to thinking people that ideas are marketed in much the same way as any other commodity or luxury item, through sales information as well as other, more intangible means such as movies, situation “comedies” and news presentations.

Take a look at the campaigns against smoking or other tobacco use launched seemingly overnight a decade in the past.

These campaigns, which used the techniques of psychological warfare, methods such as isolation and social ostracism, resulted in a basic sea change in peoples' thinking.

The net result was simple enough. Governments state and local derived huge benefits from tobacco purveyors penalized in class action lawsuits brought by state attorneys general.

Eric Holder's 1995 anti-gun message -
“Make guns like cigarettes” contributor Charles C. Johnson found a C-Span clip of then U.S. Attorney Eric Holder outlining a plan to "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."

Mr. Holder, who went on to serve as a Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, remarked that at the time people were beginning to “cower in doorways” to smoke cigarettes.

Holder was addressing the Woman's National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to "change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC" about guns.

"What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that's not cool, that it's not acceptable, it's not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes."

Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation's capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials "that make me buy things that I don't really need." He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.

Ah, yes, I'm sure we're all familiar with that particular continuum. Leads to harder stuff, you know.

Local political leaders and celebrities, Holder said, including Mayor Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, had been asked to help. In addition, he reported, he had asked the local school board to make the anti-gun message a part of "every day, every school, and every level."

Every level. Sounds rather totalitarian, doesn't it? At every level.

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