what the f*!k is wrong with these social media influencers?

guess what?

While you hustled away at your 9–5 and came home to a soggy TV dinner and Netflix, influencers were making billions. Influencer Marketing Hub says the influencer economy had grown from a $1.7 billion industry in 2016 to around $6.5 billion in 2019.

And even though the influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $9.7B in 2020, they took a big hit like everyone else when the pandemic struck. Sure, influencers are still there, chugging away on Instagram, making cash money. But the all-expense-paid trips on private jets with designer clothes have gone by the wayside. Instead, more favor content that touts the benefits of hunkering down and spending less on non-essentials.

Travel influencers have stopped pushing $800 carry-on backpacks and $100 Merino wool T-shirts and started advising us on the best facemasks and hygiene essentials to carry when we need to go grocery shopping.

But, there are still those influencers that just don’t get it. They don’t see that it is no longer “business as usual” and continue to act as if our lives are not upside down. We all need to realize that we live in a new reality, and if we all get on the same page, will be much better off.

The fact is, people will always look up to the beautiful and famous humans in society. They will gravitate towards the movers and shakers wearing designer handbags, drinking Voss water, and snapping selfies with the latest iPhones. There will always be a place for the faux-fluencers as long as unbridled capitalism reigns supreme.

The problem with these influencers and their economy is that the number of people who can afford these luxuries is getting smaller every day. Sadly, most wage-earners are under the impression that if they keep slogging along to their job, they will be able to afford an Instagram lifestyle one day.

What’s sad is: It will never happen in this society as it is now.

Well-meaning working-class citizens will go to their graves standing up for the billionaires and the beautiful people because they hope to be just like them one day. But, the chances are that regular folk, like you and I, will never see a billion or even a million dollars. If we are working 80-hours a week at our desk jobs, no matter how frugal we are, we will never get a lifestyle like the hashtag-homies on social media.

Are we living vicariously through the lives we see on social media, or are we romanticizing the life we want to live?

The influencers are doing us a disservice by normalizing uninhibited spending on a designer lifestyle we are never likely to be able to afford. Most get their products free on top of a hefty check for convincing you to max out your credit card buying expensive shoes and hair products made from the tears and blood of marginalized people.

It’s time the pandemic did some good and showed us a new kind of influencer, or better yet, an anti-influencer. Instead of blonde twinkies telling us which sports-drink to buy, we need more people advising us how to start businesses and get better jobs. Instead of movie stars pouring their tequila down our throats (sorry Dwayne, I do love your work, man), we need more nutritionists advising us on foods that best boost our immune systems.

Instead of suntanned teeny-boppers bringing us along on their all-expense-paid trip to Bali, we need more experienced travelers showing us how to travel safely post-pandemic.

We need more influencers giving away information and experienced-based advice and less uncontrolled spending of money none of us have anymore. Instead of trying to get us to buy things we don’t need, we need anti-influencers who focus on the things that will give us a better life.

How much longer do we keep giving power over our lives to the people and corporations who only want to profit?

They try to capitalize on your goodwill and your hope that someday, you can have the luxuries they all seem to have.

  • It’s time that more influencers step up to the plate and start doing what it takes to make everyone’s lives better
  • It’s time we call out influencers who lie to you and make you think that the only thing that defines success is excess
  • It’s time we stopped using pretty faces, fit bodies, and fat stacks of cash to get people to buy more shit they won’t ever need
  • It’s time to JUST BE REAL

Who is watching out for you? Perhaps it’s time to take back our own best interests and become our own influencer or start putting our trust in the right kind of people.

Call me your anti-influencer.

When I try to tell you the truth, you are not looking at a botoxed talking head. I won’t use sex, power, greed, and shame to make you buy things you are never likely to need.

I may suggest something to make your life better, but you can rest assured it can enhance or improve you. I may provide advice contrary to what the so-called “gurus” and life coaches say, but I will always give it to you straight, and it will reflect what I have already done myself and had success doing.

I want to help you find success, whatever your definition of success is, even if you think you want to be a billionaire, or even an influencer yourself.

It’s time to shake things up, and together, we can do that.

These words may be coming from a nobody, but they are not empty promises and platitudes. It’s time you expect more from your influencers!

So, if I call out a movie star for bad behavior or give you my take on the latest advice from the internet marketing gurus, you can be sure it’s coming from a good place. If I see an opportunity to make you think, I will take it. We will not always agree, and that is okay. If you have a differing opinion, make your stance known. I don’t want to exist in an echo chamber, so get your voice heard!

I want to help, and I hope you let me prove that to you.

It’s time for a new kind of influencer. We need to unsully the word and make it mean something.

Let’s do this!

how to stop facebook from tracking you online

Did you know when you signed up for Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, you gave them explicit permission to use your microphone? Ever wonder how targeted ads show up in your feed when you have only ever talked out loud to someone else about it?

Is Zuckerberg listening to your private conversations? No, I am afraid not.

There is no proof that a guy is sitting in an office somewhere in Menlo Park, listening to you screaming to your partner to bring you toilet paper. Facebook has denied allegations of privacy violations time after time, and as much as we want to believe they are spying on us, there is no way yet to prove it.

There’s never been any concrete evidence – beyond hearsay and anecdotes – that Facebook is recording your real-life conversations.

The fact is, the mechanics involved in listening to your private conversations and mining it for keywords wouldn’t be an easy thing. But that is not why you should know that they aren’t listening.

They don’t need to listen; they already have all the data they need from you. But, if you are not the trusting type and still want to block Facebook from having access to the microphone on your device, do the following:

On the iPhone:

  • Go to Settings
  • Choose Privacy
  • Tap Microphone
  • Toggle Facebook to OFF

On Android:

  • Go to Settings
  • Choose Apps & Notifications
  • Locate Facebook
  • Tap Permissions
  • Toggle Microphone to OFF

Easy-peasy.

how does facebook track me?

When you sign up for Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, you agree to their data policy. On Facebook, you agree to let them collect data that “includes information about the websites and apps you visit, your use of our services on those websites and apps, as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us.”

Facebook also always knows your location. When Apple and Google announced new features in their operating systems that allow users to limit apps from knowing your location, Facebook threw a fit and wrote a blog post telling everyone that it would dramatically affect the user experience. Believe it or not, the blog post tries to make the argument that protecting your privacy is bad for you.

But wait, there’s more. Facebook also analyzes “photos and videos we think you’re in, such as your profile picture and photos you’ve already been tagged in, to create a template for you. We use your template to recognize you in other photos, videos and other places where the camera is used (like live video) on Facebook.” – Facebook help center

Thankfully, in the help center, they explain how to turn this “feature” off.

And finally, Facebook touts an ad marketing service called “Lookalike Audiences,” which goes even deeper into the data they collect from us and allows advertisers to target people by their ages or likes. The feature lets marketers examine their existing customers, audience, or even voters for predispositions — like big spending or left-leaning ideals — and have Facebook find other users with similar inclinations.

This information is by no means exhaustive, and if you want to find out exactly what data Facebook collects, find out straight from the source.

how do i make it stop?

Frankly, there is no way to completely stop all the data collection behind the scenes, even on other websites and platforms. But, there is a way to prevent other websites from sharing information with Facebook about you.

Go to your “Off-Facebook Activity” (the link takes you directly there), and you can see which sites and apps are sharing data. Once there, you can clear your history, turn off tracking for specific websites or apps, or stop this tracking completely. To be clear, if you turn tracking off, Facebook will still get information about your activity; it just won’t be associated with you or your account.

the only way to stop facebook, messenger, and instagram

On the internet, you and your attention are the product that platforms like Facebook are selling to the highest bidder. These platforms are making billions by giving advertisers audiences with unlimited attention.

They record every scroll and click. Every time you hesitate to look at an ad, Facebook knows you showed interest, and because they know, so does anyone with a credit card who wants to target you for an ad.

Sadly, many have given up trying to protect themselves and look at data collection as a necessary evil. They willingly trade their attention and privacy for the “privilege” of using these social media apps for free.

Until we force Facebook and the others to stop making money by monetizing our attention and activities, we may have to accept that these platforms will know our every move and will sell that information to anyone with cash money.

The only way to make sure Facebook is not tracking you and associating that data with you and your account is to delete it entirely from your lives and devices.

(Note: Before you delete your Facebook account, you may want to get a copy of your data file, especially if you have pictures you want to save.)

  • Click in the top right of Facebook.
  • Select Settings & Privacy, then click Settings
  • Click Your Facebook Information in the left column.
  • Click Deactivation and Deletion.
  • Choose Permanently Delete Account, then click Continue to Account Deletion.
  • Click Delete Account, enter your password, and then click Continue.

Source – Facebook Help

to remove facebook from your device

Android

  1. Go to your Android’s settings and open your application manager.
  2. Tap Facebook.
  3. Tap Uninstall.

– iPhone and iPad

  1. Press and hold the app icon.
  2. Tap the x that appears.
  3. To confirm, tap Delete.

Source – Facebook Help

Take it from me; life without Facebook is not horrible. As long as you don’t need Facebook to promote a business, life without can free up some time and attention for you.

If you don’t want to be so drastic and you want to keep Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, know a lot is going on behind the scenes that we don’t see, and as hard as we try, there never will be a way to be completely private on the internet.

That is unless you go off the grid and live in a van, down by the river.

I’ll bring my flannel shirt and Crocs.

we need saving, but we can’t do it with outrage

Scrolling through my social media feed is like flying over a battle zone. A trip to my favorite restaurant usually means some entitled Karen or Ken complaining they had to wait too long or upset because they had to wear a facemask and shield to gain entry.

On the road, people are getting cut off, and angry tempers flare.

Everywhere you go virtually and in real life, people are treating each other like shit. Trolls have come out of hiding, encouraged by their Tweeter-in-Chief. The racists, misogynists, and incels aren’t afraid to show their true colors anymore because even those of us who check their behavior are getting tired of being the voice of clarity and justice.

What happened to just being kind and pleasant? Why so much outrage?

trump didn’t create this

That’s right. As much as I love to hate Trump, he didn’t create hate. Hate has been a thing worldwide for as long as we have been walking upright, maybe longer. We pay so much attention to it now because everyone has a camera, and it is in our face 24/7.

  • White woman called the police on a Black man for existing? Let’s get that bitch on video!
  • Dude in a MAGA hat doesn’t want to wear a mask in Walmart? You are now Facebook-famous!
  • Cops harassing, beating, and killing Black people? Let’s finally give the police what they deserve!

I don’t usually go off on political rants (yes, I do), but it’s good to finally have the ugliness on display for everyone to view, just for the reason that people can now see we haven’t been lying about the injustice all this time.

The only problem is that we have become so focused on our hate — conservatives and liberals alike — that our whole lives are just varying levels of outrage.


This is how it goes for me. I will most likely be working, maybe catching up with my people on Facebook or Instagram, and old Zuck knows just which buttons to push to get me on a fire-breathing rampage of comments and shares that now has turned into hours.

My work, forgotten.

Now, not only have I done my duty and outed the source of my outrage, but I just alienated every one of my friends and followers. Zuckerberg loves that because now more people are furious and spending all their time on the platform sharing their outrage.

Do you know what else we are doing? We are interacting with his ads. We are making him wealthier while spreading the rage around the internet.


Yes, we should focus on society’s social ills like racism and income disparity. But at some point, we have to escape the cycle of fury and start treating other people like gold.

In America, eventually, we are all going to have to come together — no more Trumpers or Libs — and do what we can as Americans to fix this mess we have created. Yes, Trump put us back 20 years, but he also shined the light on the cockroaches living on the underbelly of the country.

How many more people in the world understand what Black Lives Matter is all about? How many more people finally see the truth about racism and police brutality? How many more Americans are now aware that the rich and powerful are pulling strings in the world, and all this time, we have been making it easier for them to get wealthier and untouchable?

Now that we know the real evil of the white supremacists and evangelical right and are finally doing something to combat it, don’t you think it’s time we started addressing the hate and division in society?

be nice

My fourth-grade teacher is turning over in her grave because I am using the word “nice” so much, but it does describe the point I am trying to get across.

I’m sure Mrs. Redman will agree that it’s time we all started treating each other better. Right now, we are all on fire from the sheer volume of vitriol spilled around the world and on social media. We are all walking wounded from the constant barrage of spite and anger.

But don’t expect Zuck is going to let up anytime soon on his quest for his first trillion dollars.

We need to take it upon ourselves, every one of us, to start treating each other with respect and stop reacting out of outrage. Sure, there will always be the McConnells of the world who deserve every bit of hate they get, but the majority of us are good people, despite our fucked-up view of the world.

We deserve better treatment, which is not privilege or entitlement talking; that is the facts. Black, white, right, left, rich, poor, man, woman — we deserve better than what we are all receiving from each other.

It doesn’t matter if you identify as a Proud Boy or QAnon; all you are is misguided and have fallen under a spell of stupidity. You still deserve to have dignity and be able to enjoy your idea of a good life without hate and anger from all sides. But, if you want respect, you have to give it. You have to treat everyone else like royalty if you’re going to be King of your castle.

No more hate and division. No more demagogues.

We all need to come together against the evil in society and start treating each other like brother and sister. The human race will not survive divided as we are. From here, it only gets worse until we won’t be able to stop killing each other in the name of whatever cause we choose to place our loyalty.

All that will remain if we do nothing about the hate in this world is a smoking husk of a planet and a page in some alien civilizations “what not to do manual for intelligent societies.”

Be nice or die in outrage — your choice.

real people, places, and lives are the best part of instagram

My endless scroll often consists of paper-thin and tanned people and influencers, frolicking in Bali in designer swimwear. Perfectly-posed pictures show off their “best” features, beckoning you to join them in their made-up fantasy lives.

Okay, stop it, Jason!

I don’t have anything against the “fake” influencers anymore because, underneath, we are all the same, and they are entertaining. Shouldn’t we be all-inclusive and include all body types and life situations when we talk about positivity? How can we say we love people of all kinds when we demean thin, fit, and “beautiful” people to boost our message?

My Instagram feed is a combination of thin and fat influencers. I love cisgender and straight couples as much as I like LGBTQ people.

I am slightly obsessed with two kinds of folks right now — travelers and people with tattoos. Tattooed travelers light my fire.

I even follow several goth-type people because I love their style and anyone who can rock a black overcoat and Doc Martens in summer is my hero.

I also like other real people who make me laugh and cry. I like people who are closer to the real-life average. Who dare to enjoy their lives and refuse to be less than because there are haters offended by bodies with sagging moobs and stretch marks. They live despite the fat-phobic, homophobic, misogynist, ableist, racist, and sexist incels and trolls.

The thing about it is — all bodies and people are good. I love seeing curvy and full-figured women on the beach in revealing swimwear and much as I love a thin woman sweating it up in a gym. I like getting a peek into the lives of well-muscled, bearded gods, as much as I do the 400lb guy showing off his 100lb weight loss for the camera.

I love seeing the life of a struggling creative as much as a CEO posing at her desk with a Rolex.

The things that most people hate about Instagram I love. I love duck-lipped blondes with sportscars and impeccably-posed brunches on the savannah. I love people wearing gobs of makeup as much as I love a more natural look. I love seeing the broke influencers posing on fake private jets with champagne and stacks of 100 dollar bills because they think it will get them more likes.

Even more than body types I see every day, I love the real lives of these people. More than posed pictures in exotic locations, I look for the imperfectly perfect moments in our days.

These are the posts without 100 #hashtags at the end, and never more than one filter.

These are the solo woman traveling the American west — writing and sleeping in AirBnB’s. They are also a disabled father and mother suffering from depression, giving their child the happiest life ever.

You will also find more writers sharing their poetry and lives filled with books and word processors. I like to see accountability videos and family outings. I love the hilarious mother who says FUCK a lot and makes me laugh-spit my coffee at least once a day.

I love the wannabees, the wantrepreneurs, and the micro-influencers. I love the single and happy powerlifters. I even like to see my friends who are sex writers being naughty, even when I have to explain to my wife why my feed is full of naked people.

I love the real parts of life — the pimples and the stretch marks, the unpolished pitches, and the off-the-cuff comedy. I love the family photos where no one smiles, and the delicious images of what you feasted on for dinner last night, even if I would never eat it.

I like dogs and cats and nature pictures. I want to see the view outside your window this morning, and the daisies you saw when you went for a walk.

And, in case you think no one appreciates you, I love every damn selfie you post, from the drive-thru at Taco Loco to standing in the bathroom with the toilet behind you.


Do you know what we need to see more of on Instagram? Real people, real life, real situations. We already have plenty of the staged poses and perfect makeup; we need to see more of the ones in harsh sunlight with a butt-cheek hanging out at the beach.

Every body-type is beautiful, so strip off the layers and show that skin! Don’t just show us what you look like made-up, show us what you look like 30 seconds after you open your eyes. Don’t show us your meal before you eat it; show the after-belly and the sauce you dripped on your white T-shirt.

I want to see two bearded dudes with beer-bellies kissing in the moonlight in Paris and the real-life Ken and Barbie rushing through O’Hare. I want to see the pictures of all their kids when they get home.

I can’t get enough reality.

Remember when reality was good? Pay attention, Instagrammers!

how to use social media to promote your blog without losing your sanity

My blog contains links to products and services I promote, and if you buy, I receive a commission. It’s not enough for an iPad, but I can get a large Caffè Americano every day if I want. These links don’t cost you anything, but they mean the world to me because they allow me to continue running this blog and provide free content to my readers. See the Affiliate Disclosure.

You pull up a chair to your laptop to write a blog post, but you get distracted, and soon, your writing session has officially turned into a scrolling session. You had the best of intentions when you sat down at your desk with a steaming cuppa and a creative glint in your eye. That was two hours ago. Now your coffee is cold, and your writing — forgotten — as you read just one more meme about Trump.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Two years ago, I was angry with social media. Facebook had just gotten hacked. Twitter was a troll’s paradise. Instagram was full of influencers I couldn’t relate to in the slightest.

I was sick and tired of it all.

Facebook went first. I killed all my business pages, copied my data file, and closed it. Twitter was next. I had eight accounts—all of which I deleted. I deleted the Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat apps off my phone.

The cleanse lasted for about a month. Then I got tired of not talking to my parents and kids in the U.S. and reinstalled Messenger. Next, Twitter showed up because I wanted to be part of the #writingcommunity.

Instagram appeared not long after. I finally gave in to Facebook because I wanted to be part of some Medium.com discussion groups.

Now, I’m using social media more than ever, but I use it differently. Most of my social media use is to promote my blogs and my writing on Medium. I am part of quite a few groups where I can post my work, and it will get read. I have a writer page. I am quite active everywhere.

I’m back posting on all the major social platforms–Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all get used throughout the day.

There are a million stories of people breaking free of social media, only to return later. We can rage against it all we want, but social media has it’s place if you are a blogger. 

Why Social Media is Important Right Now

Social media may not be the future, but it’s what is happening now. The future may belong to virtual reality and augmented reality. Artificial intelligence may take over very soon. But if you want to get your name out in 2020 and beyond, you have to be on social media.

People fight against social media and try to discourage others from using it. They think they are above it all. But where are they posting their complaints and calls for action? They are connecting on social media. Social connects us in ways that humans have never seen before.

Even email is losing its grip. It’s still a great strategy, but only 17.9% of recipients will open your email, and the click-through rate is a dismal 2.7%.

More people are banking on social media. Sure, you are at the mercy of the platforms. Algorithms change all the time. But, with such a huge audience available to us, it would be silly if we didn’t take advantage of this opportunity before it’s too late.

There are ways to be healthy if you remember to use social media in moderation.

You Can Be Active on Social Media But Not Obsessed 

Many of us worry about wasting time scrolling when we should be creating. It’s a valid concern, but there are ways to have a healthy relationship with social media.

My social media cleanse showed me what life was like when I don’t spend all my time staring at my phone. I wrote more than I ever did, and I felt better when I wasn’t on a constant infinite scroll.

Don’t get me wrong. I spend time on social media. But, I have a lot of time in the day when I close the social tabs and put my phone out of reach. I’m writing for six hours at a time. I’m also reading everything I can.

I’m at the beginning of a content strategy where I will be promoting my personal projects constantly. I’m sharing my work on all channels, even the personal ones. It’s a little unnerving seeing my face everywhere, but I’ve committed to seeing this through. I’m going to do the best job I can.

I’ve learned that you can be active on social media, but not obsessed with the likes and comments. I’ve developed more focus now. When I’m writing or spending time with my family, I can ignore the notifications on my phone with ease.

There are ways to use social media healthily, like reducing the time spent scrolling, and unfollowing accounts that are negative and cause you stress. Maybe you can commit to using social media only for business purposes or set a goal to not look at your phone when you should be writing or creating.

The key is to have a healthier attitude and only consume things you want to consume.

How Do You Feel About Social Media?

We still see people who don’t want to commit to using social media to promote their blog or creative endeavors. The reasoning that holds them back from doing whatever it takes to be a successful creative is a mystery.

Yes, negative things are happening on social media. But there is a thing called choice, and you can choose not to absorb the negative.

You can choose not to engage with the trolls– nobody is forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do.

Are you tired of seeing political posts? Hide them. I do, and my feed is lovely most times. Even Twitter makes it easy to get rid of people who don’t add value to your life.

You don’t owe anyone a follow. Don’t feel like you do.

Social media can be a circus if you let it. The key is to have a healthier attitude and only consume things you want to consume.

Ignore and unfollow. Repeat.

If you are a writer or creative, you should be going all-in on social media. You should be taking advantage of every opportunity available.

The key is not to let social become an obsession where you constantly scroll for hours on end. 

Everything in moderation wins the race!