Farewell, AllFacebook

AllFacebookLogoThere were some big changes in the work situation of your hero, 9, this week, and I hope they were changes for the better.

The blog I have been editing and writing as a full-time job since September 2011, AllFacebook, is now a part of SocialTimes, which is now part of the Adweek Blog Network. Get all that? If you really want the boring details, here’s the press release.

So, I now work for Adweek, albeit sort of indirectly. This is cool. I’m hoping that the Adweek name opens some doors that were previously tough to crack. I loved my experience with AllFacebook, but one of my biggest frustrations was the fact that we always seemed to be in the “second group” of media outlets when it came to receiving important news about Facebook. Having to write a story from scratch when a fully detailed version, complete with interviews, was already posted elsewhere was a part of my job that was tough to swallow.

This is only the second day since the transition, so it’s tough to reach any conclusions, but so far, things are promising. We shall see.


The cats’ litter box contains more useful nuggets than my work email lately


I have been tempted …

I don’t dislike public-relations people. PR on the whole isn’t that different from journalism and blogging, and I understand that trying to get the word out about companies, products and services is their job. For those who don’t know, I work on a blog about Facebook. The percentage of emails I receive that have nothing whatsoever to do with Facebook has been on a steady upswing, despite my efforts to alert senders that they’re barking up the wrong tree, unsubscribe (when applicable) and pound away at the spam button in Gmail.

No matter how much I try to clean up my email box, I can’t even begin to tell you how much of my time this process wastes on a daily basis.

First off, as I have said in the past, 99.99% of emails with “STORY IDEA” in the subject line are completely mistargeted and useless.

Second, when your email begins with a greeting to my former boss (who has not been a part of my blog since April 2012), the blog’s founder (whose byline last appeared that same month, after very limited involvement over the year prior to that), or a person I’ve never heard of (common mistake when sending mass emails, but still a mistake), you are already starting off down one strike. One strike becomes two strikes when you claim to be a regular reader of the blog, yet you address your email to someone who has not been a part of it for almost three years.

Third and most important, if you are emailing the editor of a blog that writes about Facebook, how about, oh, I don’t know, actually pitching a story that is related to Facebook? When I skim through an entire pitch or press release and don’t see the word “Facebook” once, smoke comes out of my ears.

Finally, in the cases when I take the time to reply to flaks and remind them that I am interested in Facebook and only Facebook, writing back to try to push a completely unrelated story is beyond foolhardy. I actually had one person who pitched a story with no Facebook angle whatsoever write back to try to sell me on the story with this gem: “Well, the company does have a Facebook page.” Really? So does my softball league. You don’t see me writing about that, do you?

Oh, yes, and one more pet peeve of mine is the misuse and abuse of the word “expert.” I have been writing about Facebook since 2011, yet I don’t consider myself an expert. Working for a company that runs Facebook ad campaigns or helps businesses create pages on Facebook doesn’t really make you an expert, either. So the fact that you are available for comment tells me you are just trying to get your name out there, which is fine, but I’m not biting.

If I want to waste time during the work day (and who doesn’t?), I will waste time pondering fantasy sports moves, playing Words with Friends or checking Facebook, like just about everyone else does. I should not be wasting so much time on emails that are as useful as tits on a bull.

Absolutely brutal Facebook Lottery spam email

If you fell for this, YES, I AM TALKING TO YOU!

Wow, I mean, are spammers even trying anymore? I don’t expect spam emails to follow the Chicago Manual of Style to the letter, but how about at least trying to at least slightly resemble English? This gem below, clearly unedited, was of the “Facebook Lottery” variety (for the love of God, people, there is NO SUCH THING as a Facebook Lottery):

From: info@aim.com
Reply-to: facebookwoldwide.lnc@gmail.com
Sent: 3/30/2014 4:15:55 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: FACEBOOK ONLINE LOTTERY PROGRAMME 2014, CONTACT E-mail: (facebooklottoworldwide.lnc@gmail.com)




BATCH NUMBER: 2551236002/244

SERIAL NUMBER. 55643451907

TICKET NUMBER: 5647600545189


Dear Winner ,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual Final draws held on the (25th Of March 2014.) by Face book group in cash Promotion to encourage the usage of Face book world state dollars) each on the Face book group promotion Award Attached to ticket number (5647600545189) and Ref No (2551256002/244) Serial Number (55643451907).

The online draws was Conducted by a random selection of email you where picked by an Advanced automated random computer search from the Face book in other To claim your $600,000.00USD the lottery program which is a new innovation by Face book, is aimed at saying A BIG THANK YOU to all our users for making Face book their number one means to connect, communicate,relate and hook up with their families and friends over the years.

This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants and Scam artists All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 companies’ and 30,000,000 individuals’ email addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program takes place every three years.You have to be Rest assured that this is Real and Legal..and there are Some Scam artists around…Thanks to the FBI…216 of them have been arrested… The software corporation to encourage some few individuals with web site and email addresses promoted this lottery.

Your name was selected in a raffle that was made on the 28th Of March 2014. so we need your fast response so that we can proceed with the delivery of your fund .You are required to contact our payment dept via e-mail:

E-mail: facebooklottoworldwide.lnc@gmail.com

Phone: +1 (301) 678-9083

With information below in order for us to complete your winning certificate and for further information regarding the disbursement of your lottery win.











you can also contact the FBI Agent in person for more information and advise and give him your number so he can call or text you.

Email: investigation.onlineoffice@gmail.com

Remember all winnings must be claimed not later than 20 of April 2014. After this date, all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake. To avoid unnecessary delays and complications please remember to quote your

reference and batch numbers in all correspondences. Furthermore, if there is any change in email address please contact us on time To enable him issue you certificate of winning Accept my hearty congratulations once again.



I mean, where do I start with the mistakes, obvious red flags, and blatant stupidity in this one?

  • The reply to email is facebookwoldwide.lnc@gmail.com. What does “woldwide” mean?
  • From the desk of the president? Facebook doesn’t HAVE a president. The two top executives in the company are Mark Zuckerberg (CEO) and Sheryl Sandberg (COO).
  • It’s Facebook, not Face book.
  • “You have to be Rest assured that this is Real and Legal..and there are Some Scam artists around…Thanks to the FBI…216 of them have been arrested…” I hope this asshole is No. 217. Is that sentence even English?
  • Why are you asking for an email address? You obviously HAVE the fucking email address. I got an email, didn’t I?
  • “you can also contact the FBI Agent in person for more information and advise and give him your number so he can call or text you.” Even if a Facebook Lottery DID exist, what role, exactly, would the FBI play in it?

If anyone fell for this, they should never be allowed to use a computer, cell phone, tablet, or oxygen again.

Ladies and gentlemen … we have a winner!

I often post stupid messages left on the Facebook page of the blog that actually pays me to write for it, and many of them are royally stupid, but this one has no competition. It’s in a league of its own.

The look on my face when I first read this …

Obviously unedited (this may make your skull ache):

to whomever is working at Facebook I’m not asking you to like this just try to here me out is it really considered harassment adding people that we already know that are family relatives no is it ever considered harassment to be adding people that are famous could that be considered harassment I say again no what I am saying is this there is no need to keep suspending people for 30 days this here is the United States of America all of us Americans have the freedom to choose who they want to have to be adding and sending requests out to people that they want to be friends with I don’t consider that harassment right there at all that anyone notice the differences between of what is harassment and what is not harassment in this case I’m right I also know whom your boss really is and that happens to be the president of the United States of America and that would be your new boss in which he runs everything around in the United States of America and that would be Mr. Obama so I say to all of you I and speaking only on behalf of the millions and millions plus the millions of people live in this country in this world is going to have to learn the answer to they are the ones that want their answers answered there are the people including the millions and millions plus the millions of people that are so angered and infuriated at all of you for doing this to them suspending them for 30 days I know what a 30 day suspension is on a calendar and it’s not the kind of suspension that the millions and the millions plus the millions people so I say to all of you ease up on your terms of policies on Facebook we have our American rights to fight back it we had to do when you get this please read very carefully and remember this message that I’m sending to you is not considered spam thank you for your time

Oh my GOD, where do I start?

Dude, take a breath. And while you’re refilling your lungs with oxygen, there’s this thing called punctuation you might want to consider. You went 351 words (Microsoft Word counted, I couldn’t be bothered) without a single comma or period. This has to be some sort of world record.

Now that I am done being a grammar Nazi, what in the blue hell are you talking about? And why should people who write a blog that covers Facebook give the slightest crap?

I hope you get suspended from Facebook for 30 days and are not allowed to return until you produce a comma.


Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone

It has been brought to my attention that I am not allowed to complain about my current situation regarding the lack of power and response from Jersey Central Power & Light because there are people who are worse off than I am. Well, duh.

I know I am fortunate that our house and cars didn’t suffer any damage, and that our family is unhurt. But that doesn’t make what we’re going through right now any easier.

I have friends who lost everything. I have friends who will be able to salvage their homes, for the most part, but at great financial expense. I have one friend who is lucky to be alive after deciding to ride out the storm at her family’s now-totaled beach house. And after seeing pictures and video of the devastation, my heart hurts for people I have never met and will never meet. No one should ever have to experience what the victims of Hurricane Sandy are currently going through, particularly the hardest-hit victims.

But this does not mean I am not allowed to complain.

Have you ever complained about your boss or your work situation, whether on Facebook or while out with friends? Well, guess what: There are people who are much worse off than you are. There are people who work in sweatshops for pennies an hour and receive beatings from their bosses. So I guess you are not allowed to complain about work anymore. That annoying customer doesn’t compare to a boss with a whip.

Have you ever complained about your relationship, or your significant other? Well, guess what: Right now, there are people being physically and mentally abused by the people who supposedly love them. You were cheated on? Hell, there’s probably a chick somewhere who just found out that her boyfriend had a threesome with her best friend and her sister. So by that logic, you are not allowed to complain about your relationship anymore.

The weather? It’s worse somewhere. You hate Monday? Monday is just another day when you’re in prison.

Think of the things you complain about on Facebook, or in conversations with friends. I’m willing to bet that no matter what topic you come up with, there are people worse off than you.

So unless you can tell me that you have never complained about anything trivial in your life, don’t tell me not to complain about something that is far from trivial. I have many friends on Facebook who vent or post repeatedly about topics I have no interest in. Rather than expecting them to tailor their conversation to my tastes, I simply move on. There will be other conversations.

Email subject lines that make me cringe

I absolutely love working full-time on an established blog, but every job comes with things that make you just shake your head, no matter how content you are overall, and mine is no exception. And the thing that makes me shake my head on a regular basis, often several times daily, is my email inbox.

Me, several times a day, minus the suit and tie

I have posted repeatedly about the emails I get that are in unrecognizable languages, or that come from people who think that a blog that covers Facebook is Facebook, but plenty of contributions in perfect English and (allegedly) targeted specifically toward our blog make me wonder what people are thinking.

When I see the following subject lines, I know a migraine is sure to follow, and I’ll tell you why.

Article, article idea, story, story idea: I have pretty much stopped reading emails that come in with these subject lines. For every 1,000 I get, 999 are completely useless, and I will gladly run the risk of missing the one that isn’t. The vast majority contain stories about topics not even remotely covered by our blog. And the miniscule percentage of emails that do involve Facebook are either stories that state the obvious (This Just In: People Use Facebook To Communicate With Each Other!), ancient news (how to use Facebook’s new timeline, which debuted months ago), or babbling by someone claiming to be a “Facebook expert.” I have been working full-time on a blog about Facebook for nine months, and I still don’t consider myself a Facebook expert, so you are not a Facebook expert, either, just because you helped the flower shop down the block create their page.

Bylined article: These are even better. Instead of writing an article that nobody asked for, how about bringing me a steak and a bottle of wine that nobody asked for? It would be a lot more useful, and tasty, too. Do we run guest posts? Sure, but it makes much more sense to have some communication beforehand. Besides, most of the ones that come in have many of the same issues as the ones described in the last topic, and most have already been published elsewhere.

Is available for comment: Whenever a big Facebook story breaks, we get bombarded with “experts” who are “available for comment” on the news. And in 99.9% of the cases, I have never heard of the person or the company. I would be better off walking around the streets of Hoboken and stopping random strangers to ask their opinion. In some cases, I would be better off interviewing my cats.

These aren’t email subject lines, but since I’m on a roll, here are a couple of tactics that annoy the living hell out of me:

Trying to bullshit a bullshitter: While I already admitted that I don’t consider myself to be a Facebook expert, I do have somewhat of a clue after covering the social network for nine months. When people try tricks like tying together two things that have nothing to do with each other, it gets annoying, and I’m not falling for it. You may have updated your marginal Facebook applications, and it may have coincidentally happened the week before the company’s IPO, but the two have nothing to do with each other, so don’t even try this approach: “In conjunction with Facebook’s IPO, we added the following features to our app.” In conjunction with the Yankees losing to the Braves this afternoon, go fuck yourself.

English as a fourth language: I realize Facebook is a global company, and I am not one of those snobs who thinks every inhabitant of planet Earth should speak English or go drown themselves, but our blog is written in English, by people who speak English, so if you want us to write about your application, you need to find someone to help you describe its features in English. If I don’t understand it, I’m not going to write about it. I don’t expect a press release to read like John Steinbeck, but if it reads like Latka from “Taxi,” I will give up and move on to the next story.

The only bright spot about all of these annoying emails is that when I click open and find something useful, I appreciate it that much more. So the next time you want to send a “story idea” to a blog that covers Facebook, and your story is “How The Brady Bunch Would Have Used Twitter,” walk away from your PC, drive to the nearest store, and buy yourself a clue.