Facebook Troubles

I don’t believe in ill-wishing anyone or anything, but if I were that sort of person, FB is the one entity I would ill-wish for all the trouble they’ve caused me. Luckily, if the rumor is true, they are doing it to themselves without any help from me. (What I heard is that they are having financial troubles.) I don’t care enough to check on the rumor to see if it’s true, but it makes sense. They have a terrible business sense, embracing those who do harm and all but destroying some who are totally innocuous. Like me.

First they banned my blog. They have labeled it spam, which is totally unfounded as well as totally nuts, and there is absolutely no recourse. Next, they banned any URL stemming from my blog. For a while, I let it go, just stayed away from FB altogether, but several friends I’m connected to only on FB told me how much they miss seeing my blog in their feed. And besides, my absence from FB killed all book sales. (That was the only platform that worked for me to sell books.) So I got around their stupid block by reblogging my blog onto another blog, and then posting that link. It wasn’t a total workaround, because very few people saw it, and of those who saw it, very few people bothered to click on both links (the link to the reblog and then to the original blog). Some people did comment on the photo, so at least that was good.

I have the reblog blog set to post automatically to FB, but now, FB won’t accept the automatic post. I have to reblog, then manually cut and paste the reblog intro onto FB (can’t post the whole thing because of the aforementioned URL is included) along with the reblog URL. Then I have to change profiles from my author page profile to my personal profile so I can share the blank space with the URL to an URL.

If you’re confused by now, I don’t blame you. I know what I’m doing, and it confuses the heck out of me! And that wasn’t the end of it.

The photo that from the original blog post stopped showing up on FB because of that devilish URL of mine. I’d post the photo separately for a while, and so did a friend, but that got to be a pain. So now what shows up on FB is a post with a big blank space where the photo should be.

To add insult to their injury, FB keeps sending me notifications of what other authors are doing on their FB pages, and asking why aren’t I? Sheesh.

So, views to my blog are down, limited now to those who go to my blog directly. And book sales never picked up again, and in fact are non-existent.

So, do I care that FB is having problems? A resounding NO!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Facebook’s Vendetta

Facebook is continuing its vendetta against me. It still has my blog URL banned, still say my blog is a spam site, and there is no recourse since they don’t answer emails, snail mails, or online help messages. For a while, I just let it go, figuring if they didn’t want me, I didn’t want them, but a few people mentioned how much they missed seeing my blog on their feed, so I got in the habit of reblogging this blog onto another blog — Dragon My Feet — and then posting that URL to FB.

That worked for several months, but suddenly, all photos that had been part of that reblog — the photos I use to illustrate my posts — disappeared from Facebook going back to when I first started reblogging. I experimented with uploading the photo directly to Facebook, and also uploading a new photo to the reblog, and those photos are still on F. So now I know — they have extended their ban of my URL to any reblogged photo that originated here.

I thought of continuing to upload a duplicate of the photo from this blog to the reblog, but then I rethought that idea. It’s only a matter of time before their bots notice that my so-called spam URL is posted on the reblog, and then they will ban that blog, too. For now, I will continue posting the reblog URL on FB, but for those FB friends and acquaintances who want to read my blog, now would be a good time to sign up to get notifications directly to your email address. (Scroll down to the bottom of the left-hand column and click on “follow.”) As with FB, you can simply “like” a post if you want me to know you were here and don’t want to leave a comment, but of course, I am always appreciative of any comment.

If it weren’t for those friends and a group or two that I keep up with, I’d be done with FB. One of the groups I keep up with is my own Suspense/Thriller Writer’s Group, though I am considering disbanding it or at least denying members the ability to post. It used to be a fun group, but less and less as time goes on because of all the changes FB makes. In fact, FB has been messing with the groups again, so I had to change the group from “public” to “private” because if a group is public, now anyone can join without being okayed, and most of the people who want to join are spammers. Real spammers, not people like me who got caught in the FB fly trap. The problem with disbanding is that first I have to remove all 3,500 members one at a time. I did that for another group I had and it’s no fun.

It’s getting to the point where this blog is my only interaction online. Twitter is absurd, LinkedIn is worthless for my needs, and if there was ever any possibility of signing up with Instagram, it ended when FB bought site. I also lost interest in Goodreads when Amazon bought it.

I suppose I should go through and delete some of those old accounts (Google just emailed me and told me I had too many weak and duplicate passwords, and most of those are for accounts I haven’t visited in years.) Though chances are, I will do the same thing with those accounts that I do with FB — just keep on doing what I am doing . . . or not doing.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

I am a Victim of Content Scraping

I’d never even heard of content scraping until yesterday when I found my article Why I Write About My Grief posted on two other blogs. The other blogs did not quote the article, nor did they reblog it. (When an article is reblogged, only the first paragraph or so shows up on another blog, with a link back to the original blog.) They stole the entire thing. One of the blogs was hosted by WordPress, so WordPress suspended the blog for violation of services. The other blog was not hosted by WordPress (it’s a self-hosted blog powered by WordPress, which is a completely different matter) so I have no recourse except legal means. Sometimes courts will take action against a “scraper,” but more often than not, if it is an automated theft by special programs rather than copy and paste by humans, there’s not much that can be done since the site will simply disappear and reappear under another name.

Apparently, search engines cannot distinguish between scraped content and original content, so the plagiarized content (let’s call it by it’s real name) shows up first in search results since it is the newer content, which makes the theft even more of a problem. If you are the victim of scrapers, there are some things you can do to fight back. First, take the steps outlined in this article from WordPress Support: Content Theft – What to Do. Second, you can follow the suggestions in this article: Content Scrapers – How to Find Out Who is Stealing Your Content & What to Do About It. Third, ignore the situation but take steps to make sure you get the credit.

If you decide on the third option, the easiest way to get at least partial credit for future plagiarized material is to use a link to your own site in your content, such as the link to my grief in article in the first sentence of this blog. Even better, add a promo to the bottom of the blog so that no matter where the article appears, information about you as the author will go along with it. That’s what I decided to do: add a promo to the bottom of my blogs. Regular readers will forgive the intrusion (I hope), new readers will learn a bit about me, and any bot that steals my content will also spread the word about me and my books.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free. Print books can also be ordered from your favorite bookstore.

Blogging is Morning, Writing is Evening

I was afraid that when I got involved with writing my new novel I would have to stop blogging, but here I am. I discovered that blogging and writing are two entirely different types of composition, using different parts of my brain, so one does not supersede the other.

Blogging is my morning writing, which I do on the computer. It is linear, logical, and entire of itself. The beginning and ending not only bracket the body; they reflect each other like sunrise and sunset or birth and burial. Because I keep it short, knowing how difficult it is for some people to read online, I can see the article all at once, which makes reblogging easy. (If good writing comes from rewriting, why shouldn’t good blogging come from reblogging?)

Writing is my evening composition. It is linear and logical in that every reaction I write is preceded by an action and every action is motivated, but the process of writing is anything but logical. A hand/mind connection comes into play at night when I sit in a cocoon of light, pen in hand, paper before me, that doesn’t seem to apply during the day or when I am at the computer. That is the time when magical things happen on the page, when subconscious ideas come to fruition. Sometimes the ideas come slowly and the words come hard, in which case I go to bed early. Other times my hand can’t form the words fast enough, and I lose the idea. Those nights I go to bed early, too. But sometimes, oh sometimes, the ideas come, the words flow, and the night goes on forever.

Of course, when morning comes, my linear mind takes over, and I chuck some of that immortal prose into the trash. But I do keep a few of the pages, rewrite others, and the story grows.

I write for myself, more so now that the possibility of never getting published is finally sinking in, but who do I blog for? Myself, too. This journal is a message from the blogging part of my brain to the writing part and if it pays attention, my writing should improve. At the very least, I am developing a database of writing hints for when I (or you) need help.