Hello everyone, I'm Facebook Martin and this is the racquetball trick.

Thursday, 11 December, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Without getting into a lengthy exposition of my historical pronouncements derriding Facebook, let's get right to the point :

Step A.

mircea_popescu Namworld can you be bothered to run a similar thing for me ? it's been half a year since i last tried them, moar lulz can't hurt.

So he agreed and I sent over the usual hodime to be employed on Facebook's... books.

Step B. He just reported the results :


If that's not legible you can click it, but anyway : Facebook claims that in exchange for my 40 bux it showed an ad to an article of mine a grand total of 205`359 times, on average 7.47 times per person for a total of 27`491 peoplei resulting in 627 total clicks of which 447 unique. Which would make the nominal per click cost of this campaign about 10 cents, or roughly speaking >100`000% what I normally pay. But that's okay, because they can't provide the sort of volume I normally get anyway.ii

Step C. Fortunately, we also have tools.iii

$ grep -nc "facebook" trilema.com-Dec-2014
$ grep -nc "GET /2014/bitcoin-in-argentina-exactly-nothing-to-do-with-the-derps/" trilema.com-Dec-2014
$ grep -nc "GET /bitcoin-in-argentina-exactly-nothing-to-do-with-the-derps/" trilema.com-Dec-2014

The catch here is that normally Trilema articles are preceded by the year, whereas the Facebook ad was directed to a version without the year (it still resolves to the same article, it just doesn't share the same URL), which allows us to distinguish between the two. Thus we're now in the blessed possession of a coupla interesting tidbits :

  • Roughly half the Facebook clickers set their referral, whatever that might mean. Somehow I doubt it means "they're well informed computer users that understand the difference between a browser and an internet". Maybe that's just my bias.
  • Out of the 627iv total clicks Facebook claims to have sent, barely a quarter actually made it over.v

  • Out of the 13k reads some article I published this month got this month, a little over 2% are due to Facebook while I'm paying for it. If I didn't bother paying they wouldn't practically exist.

The importance of this bit can't hardly be overstated, once you wrap your head around the revolutionary notion that it is not Trilema which is judged by Facebook, but vice-versa!

There's little debate to be had over the point that reading Trilema is by far the best way some random Facebook user could be employing his time. There's also little debate to be had over the point that Facebook's nothing to nobody. On account of its sheer size it simply can't be anything but this sidewalk everyone tramples on. In this perspective, the fact that Facebook reports "a lot of traffic" is by and large irrelevant : they don't go anywhere good. A large pile of cars turning around on a very large roundabout, not ever getting anywhere would scarcely constitute "commerce". Sure, you could perhaps spend a lot of borrowed money to make a very large roundabout. You could perhaps find a large number of bored / angry idiots to drive around on it endlessly (especially if you don't charge for the gas). But this is no sort of economic activity, it's just an elaborate waste, of everything. The participants could all be dead for all it'd matter to anyone - and turning this on its head, Facebook could just make a trillion bots to click and post on each other's walls, it'd be equally important.

So no : Facebook doesn't matter, in the contemporary world. Not economically, not culturally, not in any way, shape or form. It's just a cultural epiphenomenon with delusions of economic importance stemming from a fundamental misunderstanding of the economics of culture by pedestrian sorts of thinkers. Just like myspace was in its heyday, just like hi5 was shortly aftervi, Facebook is a colossal waste of everyone's time.

Or at least, that's what I think about it. But mind that with Facebook, some article I wrote got 13`851 reads, whereas without Facebook the same article got 13`547 reads. I can thrive just fine without it. Can it survive without me ?

  1. Which, since they're doing this repeat thing, would perhaps mean that the total Facebook population that meets the (not so well defined) "interested in Bitcoin" criteria would fit four times over in Tyler, Texas. []
  2. Think about it - if Facebook were as huge as you think, it wouldn't have to wrap my ad around 7.5 times to earn a hodime. Sure, I could "relax the criteria", but if I did that, what exactly is the putative advantage you imagine Facebook offers against self-help stuff ? Oh, that it costs way too much ? Ok, anything else ? []
  3. Since the month's log weighs in at 460 MB, we will be using actual tools, such as grep. []
  4. We don't know (mostly because I couldn't be bothered to check) if our 304 are unique. In fact, for all we know the difference between 627 and 447 is made out of 14 different people, one of which clicked the ad 167 times - perhaps under some sort of misinformed notion that this somehow hurts Trilema. In which case the total results of the Facebook campaign are half what they seem plus one bored/angry guy who knew Trilema from afore anyway. []
  5. Why would this be ? Speculative explanations include bots doing "research". []
  6. You don't even recall that one do you ? []
Category: Meta psihoza
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5 Responses

  1. Wow...it truly is the scam of the millennium.

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