What's a Like Worth?

When it comes to businesses on social media, A 2013 investigation estimated every like has a value somewhere between $214 and zero.

TL;DR - It's probably zero, as most of the time users who like a business are already customers.

So, do likes help create sales? Probably not, according to Harvard Business Review, whose article clearly demonstrates a lot more research into the topic than what I did while on the couch today. Under proper controls, sales don’t show much change between those who have and have not liked a page.

Yet, my new year’s resolution for 2018 is to like more stuff on the internet.

The internet of today is different to the one I grew up on. Back in the day, posting of personal information, things like surnames and photos, felt about as natural as giving out your home address to strangers on the night bus.
Something changed over the years, and that something was Facebook. Since 2007, social media, and phones with cameras have completely flipped the way humanity interacts with the internet. Millions of people who had never heard the connecting sounds of a dial up modem began to flood the internet with pictures of their face, their food, their pets. Other things...

Liking things, with a Twitter heart or a Facebook reaction or Instagram love is another form of sharing personal information. Almost always, a face and a name gets included in those interactions. It's for this reason my old web instincts have prevented me from trigger happy like-clicking. From 2018, that's changed.

Why? Whether you like it or not, the likes of you and your connections define the viewpoint of what you see on social media. The algorithms behind your newsfeed filter and tweak to deliver content based on likes. This means that failing to like and share the things you think are funny or important can lead to things you don't think are funny or important taking priority on the newsfeed of your contacts, and falling out of prominence entirely.

Liking things is also a great way to support content creators and connect them to a wider audience. It might not lead to sales - sharing and word of mouth is better for that - but it can help a little with extending exposure. And thumbs up, hearts, and most of the other emojis are like little forms of encouragement too.

It’s not only content creators that get happy feelings from seeing likes. Everyone does! In 2018, the time of pretending we’re not influenced by social media’s algorithms is finished. Of course we all want likes and upvotes and validation. A society where social media rankings determine our self worth and employment opportunities is still a long way off, so we should revel in this segment of the twenty-first century where sending a positive vibe to someone anywhere in the world is as simple as clicking a mouse button or pressing a thumb down on the glass of a phone screen. Be a light in the darkness. Shape or disrupt the echo chambers you’re stepping into every day. Like things, because the opposite is not liking anything, and who wants to do that?

P.S. You may notice that I don’t embed social media widgets on my website, because my old school thinking is still that we shouldn’t tell Facebook and Twitter Analytics all the pages we visit. If you want to follow Bradism.com on social media, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and, occasionally, Instagram.

If you like Bradism, you'll probably enjoy my stories. It's my dream to be a famous author, and you can help support me by previewing one of my books from Amazon below, and purchasing it if you like it.

The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.

My Least Favourite Robot

I liked the old coffee robot in my office. We weren't, like, best friends, but I did feel a meaningful connection with it. Probably the way a lab rat develops amity for the lever which delivers a treat.

Old coffee robot was boxy and dark, not sleek and white. Old coffee robot had buttons that went click when you pressed them. Old coffee robot never said much, and I appreciated that.

I never had a chance to tell old coffee robot how thankful I felt to have it in my life. After the end of year break, I strolled into the kitchenette with my coffee pod and empty mug, and coffee robot was gone.

I hate the new coffee robot. It doesn't have buttons, only circles that flash in a repeating loop. When you touch them, nothing happens. Or does it?
The first time I put a pod in new coffee robot, hot coffee started gushing out. My mug was still in the microwave. I mean, in the microwave robot…
The second time, when my mug was in place and ready to go, I inserted a pod and nothing happened. Was it a joke? You should never joke about coffee.
“Make coffee,” I requested.
Nothing happened.
I touched a circle.
Nothing happened.
I lifted the hatch, to see if I'd put the pod in backwards. New coffee robot whirred, and sucked the pod away from me. I had to remove my mug, open the robot and rummage around in its innards. I dug out my pod and re-inserted. New coffee robot, smugly, jettisoned coffee onto the bench.

New coffee robot never says much either, but a tension lingers in that silence. A distrust between man and machine. There's a fresh kind of hate, percolating.

Emojicly and Literally

My day/summer:

image 1667 from bradism.com

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Writing and Delayed Gratification

Writing is one of those pursuits which demands a lot of patience in order to find satisfaction. The lag between writing a draft of something, and seeing it published can be years (and even then you would probably feel lucky). Writing is not like going for a run, or building a model, or preparing a bowl of cereal, where there is an instant surge of gratification upon completion of the work.

Over the course of 2017 I wrote about 130,000 words of short stories, flash fiction, and on my novel projects. All by hand... Add on top of that the same 130,000 words being typed up, edited, and expanded. Another set of thousands of words on synopsises (boiled down to multiples of 300). How many of those words were eventually published? About 8,500 so far. Plus another 15,000 worth of journal entries as well.

Four notebooks filled with words.

You know, I'm quite okay with that overall result. But, there are a lot of times along the way where I think, hey, maybe the hours it takes to write 150,000 words a year could be better spent on something else? Maybe this writing dream I’m holding onto so tight might actually be a big turd? Maybe If I dropped it, I would just feel relief?

This isn't a whinge. In fact, I've got the solution. And seeing that I'm 33 now - double the maximum age of any of 2017’s Lego sets - I feel like I’ve matured enough to start giving some tips. So here it is, my Bradvice:

If you want to be a writer, give it all you've got, but balance your efforts against something that provides instant gratification. Your brain needs the dopamine. So, lift something heavy, climb a hill, brew some beer, learn how to introduce yourself in another language. Finish a puzzle with your family. Take a dump by the side of the road in the wind. (That last one is my dog's daily goal.)

For me, when I want to create something, and writing grows frustrating, I have programming as my balancer. I can tool around with PHP and JavaScript, and git push to production as frequently as I want. It does make me feel good.

Coding can also get frustrating sometimes. At that point, I go to bed and then I get up and eat breakfast.

The Beauty In Infrastructure

My kitchen window looks out over a train line. It's not a bad thing, in fact, it's part of the reason we moved here.

A passenger train visible between the roofs of houses.

I've been sad lately about the lack of train noise coming from the tracks. An upgrade down the line required a line closure for almost four months. Then, last week, just before sunset, I heard the dinging of the level crossing. I looked out the window to see a train slowly rolling along the track beneath a salmon streaked sky. Moving in the opposite direction on the bike path was a rider on share bike, making their way through suburbia. It was a really nice image which juxtaposed a few of the awesome parts of modern society. Infrastructure in motion. I smiled.

The trains are back now. Yesterday morning I turned up to the station along with forty other people, staring at their phones, boarding the arriving carriages without interacting. There were no celebrations or fanfare. No one said anything out loud, but I felt something in that air-conditioned, diesel-scented air. A hundred passengers thinking the same, relieved thought: Fuck buses.

Ripening in the Sun

I was asked for ID today when buying beer. Can I really pass for 17? In a few months I’ll be double that age. I took it as a compliment, but I would have preferred something like, “Hey Brad, your novella on Amazon was really funny and cool.” I guess I'm carrying another consecutive dud beard.

Later on, when I was standing after picking something up off the ground, I involuntarily farted. This made me feel very old. But I laughed about the toot, which made me feel a little immature at the same time.

Age is just a number, but it’s the result of a quadratic equation.

Hot Jokes

Vanessa wanted a low-fat, healthy dinner so I baked a chicken breast for her. You should have seen her face afterwards when I told her I'd cooked it covered in oil.
"What!?" she said.

Hot Shit 2017

screenshot of a Spotify playlist showing a song added "in a few seconds"

As we rolled into January, I had some gardening to do in my Spotify playlists. Part of that was moving older tracks from my “Hot Shit” playlist into my “Hot Shit 2017” archive. There was a degree of sadness involved in this beyond the implication of being another circuit of the sun closer to death. I was also losing the original “date added” tags for each song.

On the playlist, the date added is 99.9% meaningless metadata, only really useful for things like showing that I liked that Imagine Dragons song ten months before Channel 7 overlayed it on top of Home and Away and Kitchen Drama Rules ads.

I guess I’m a metadata packrat, something I’m working on overcoming. Gone are those added dates in Spotify. And that Outlook mail archive from my past jobs? Odds are much higher that I’ll delete it rather than ever revisit it. Also, I really should chuck away the cassette tapes of things I recorded off the radio when I was thirteen, and which currently sit in my wardrobe. Not because of the RIAA, but because I pretty much remember what’s on them. I recall the general gist of the emails. I know approximately when I first liked a song. That should be enough.

All around my house is evidence of things I’m only holding onto for nostalgic purposes. I did some (late) spring cleaning last week, put everything I was going to get rid of into a corner of my study. It’s still there.
I should take a lesson from nature. My body is constantly replacing dying cells, skin and bone and organs refreshing at various rates. My body is not a packrat. It’s not holding onto useless cells that will never be used again, stacking them in a corner somewhere.

I wonder sometimes about how consciousness really works. Am I an entity, or just a collection of now-cells with access to memories. And by memories, I mean the gist of the way my brain thinks things went down. Do I really need to worry about spiralling closer to death each year when in fact I’m actually dying every minute, every second, every character, two thousand deaths just in the time it took me(s) to write this entry?

Bradism.com is metadata. Right. Non functional, just information about feelings and lessons learnt over the years. Sometimes I read back, nod my head, smile at my old experiences. But they’re not my experiences. They’re from the life of some million-deaths-ago Brad. The only thing he and I have in common is a domain name.
Anyway, that’s the excuse I use when I laugh out loud at my own jokes from 2013.

Roger Federer Australian Open Burger

500g beef mince, turned into patties with crushed Weet Bix instead of bread crumbs. Rest in fridge for one set.

Cook on medium heat on both sides for 3 minutes.

Layer with Swiss cheese and close the roof due to 150° heat.

Lay on a bun, with many slices (of pickle).

Serve for the match.

A Third Manly Poem

Lots of noise these days about social media’s “intelligence”. In my opinion, overrated.
Twitter wants me to follow Trump? Not going to happen.
Facebook suggests friendships with people I would pretend I hadn't seen if we passed on the street.
Instagram? Based on my interests, Discover displays pictures of Germans on tractors, fields stretching into the distance. Why? I grew up in the city. Never been to a farm. Never squeezed an udder. When I arrived I couldn’t believe the fresh air. Horizons in every direction. A feeling in my heart like a suburb was a trap. Where will I end up next? There’s no wifi here. I’ll never know.