Social Media Manipulation

Martin Luther Posting His 95 Theses is a photograph by Library Of Congress/science Photo Library which was uploaded on September 13th, 2018.

For the average user, social media is a trap. Learning how Facebook used algorithms and feedback to control what people saw was an eye-opener for me. I honestly thought what I saw was random, and I had choice and control of what I was seeing. However, discovering that the information I was allowed to see supported only like-minded ideologies and platforms and were used to pummel the user with posts to support someone else’s agenda was a wake-up call.

What a divisive tool to further separate people and communities! When I realised that “right-wing” and “left wing” ideologies were putting people in two opposing camps where neither side could see the information the other side was seeing was mind-boggling. Since I was limited on facebook to only like-minded posts – I couldn’t begin to understand why other people thought the way they did. Rather than a sharing of ideas and information, we were, in fact, limiting ourselves in a way that has not been done since the Catholic Church was in control of knowledge

Facebook and other social media platforms, unlike however misguided the Catholic Church was/is, only has one purpose – to make money (although it could be argued that the Catholic Church was a money-making enterprise as well). It does not have our best interests at heart. But Facebook and other social media are way more insidious and vast than the Catholic Church ever was. It not only can control what knowledge we have sent to us, but it can also do it for many more hours a day than the Catholic Church ever could (unless you were nun or priest) and manipulate us as never before in history.

We have to be proactive, not passive users of social media, and we have to understand how to control it and not let it control us. To this end, Rachel Metz has some of the best advice in her article “How to manipulate Facebook and Twitter instead of letting them manipulate you.” Take back power every way you can. The internet might have all the knowledge but that does not necessarily mean you are going to see it.

Have you ever felt manipulated by social media in a bad way?



Blog #3 How to Find Freelance Online Editing Work

Photo by Artem Podrez on

Now that I have decided to modify my career path from medical transcriptionist, a career in which I am barely eking out a living at 10 cents a line (165 characters) to editor, how does one go about finding work? I know I have the skills, being very proficient in English, having taught it, and experience editing it for English as a second language writers for publication, but how to manage to move into the career seems daunting. What are my options?

There are online sites that specialise in freelance copywriting, graphic design, law, marketing, and e-commerce contracts like Upwork and Fiverr.

Upwork has rather mixed reviews due to the sheer number of subscribers, many from places with a much lower cost of living than in Canada. The platform says it has over 12 million registered freelancers and more than 5 million registered clients. It posts 3 million jobs annually and does $1 billion worth of work on an annual basis This means the competition is brutal with very low bids from people that may have similar skills to mine. Also, it is not free, and both the employer and contractor pay a fee. For me, that would mean I would pay 20% for the first $500 billed with the client across all contracts, then 10% for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000. When total billings with the client exceed $10,000, a 5% fee is charged. So if I were to charge $25 an hour, I would only see $20 of it. With some people charging ridiculously low hourly rates, I may be overpricing myself out of contracts.

Some copywriters (not editors – listed themselves at $135 an hour!), while some intricate, complicated editing jobs were listed for as low as $10 an hour, making medical transcription look like the better option. Using a rate calculator conveniently provided by, in order to make 24,000 a year working 40 hours a week, I would have to charge almost $100 an hour which seems way overpriced. The rate calculator seems to take other factors into account when calculating the hourly rate since by my calculation for a 40,000 annual salary working 37.5 hours a week, the hourly rate is closer to $21.

Fiverr is another site that seems to be more geared to one-off jobs rather than building relationships. However, instead of bidding on jobs – you have to sell yourself. Conveniently, you do not have to use your real name – which is where your personal brand comes in. The disadvantage of Fiverr is right in their name, what can you get for 5 bucks. It seems that the rates obtainable seem to be rather low.

Finally, there is self-promotion through a dedicated website of your own creation. This is what I hope to do, but I wonder if I will be able to reach contracts going it on my own. There is security in going with an established freelancing site, particularly with payment.

Whichever way I go is a risk. Has anyone out there tried these sites for work and what would you recommend for a newbie?

Blog #2

Caribbean Animal Rescues and Social Media

“The greatness of a nation can be judged byt the way its animals are treated”

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes.” BrainyQuote, 2001-2022
authors/Mahatma-Ghandhi- Quotes.

When most people think of the Caribbean they think of gorgeous beaches, soft sand between their toes, and swaying palm trees. However, for any animal lover that actually leaves the resort, the reality is that it is a living hell for the creatures that live on most of the islands. Having lived on and visited a few of the islands I can attest to the rampant cruelty and neglect extant on the islands of Curacao, Bonaire, and Aruba.

There is hope however, several charitable organisations have cropped up in the last 10 years to try to mitigate the suffering of the animals. Whereas before the “Asiels” (shelters) were mainly a place to take unwanted, captured, sick or hurt animals to be euthanised, new management has started to take a more proactive role in animal welfare, with educational activities, a rescue van for transport, a dedicated police person to intervene when necessary, and veterinary services. While euthanasia is still a service that needs to be provided due to the extreme numbers of unwanted animals on the islands, they are starting to take a greater role in the prevention of cruelty to animals. Unfortunately, donkeys were not in their mandate.

Consequently, one of the earliest “rescue” operations to crop up to fill this need is the Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire Bonaire is a very small island only 40 kilometres long and about 5 to 12 kilometres wide with an area of 288 km2. It is one of those strange places where abject poverty sits right next to extravagant wealth. In 1993, a Dutch woman, Marina Melis and her husband Ed Koopman started a donkey sanctuary. When the donkeys that were originally brought to the island as work animals were abandoned for gas-powered technologies, they were left to run feral in an environment they were not native to, and where they bred and were left to suffer horrendous abuse, be killed or injured in road traffic accidents, suffer from infectious illnesses such as tetanus, and to die of dehydration and starvation ( the island is a desert).

If the sanctuary was left to only obtain money to support the operation from locals it would have been doomed to failure. Initially, tourists were invited to tour the sanctuary and donate since “westerners” (North Western Europeans and North Americans) have a more charitable view towards supporting animals and the disposable incomes available to do so.

However, with currently over 700 donkeys in the sanctuary (can you imagine on an island of only 288 square kilometres and hardly any forage!) the costs are prohibitive.

Social media to the rescue. The sanctuary created a website that has proven effective in not only publicising the plight of the island’s donkeys but creating an adoption programme and eliciting donations from all over the world. Against the misguided idea that the “wild donkeys” (actually a feral invasive species) need to be protected as part of the “culture,” the sanctuary provides a safe place where imported forage bought with donated funds and veterinary care and medicines sustains the donkeys it rescues.

Social Media? – Good God What Have I Done?

Social Media? – Good God What Have I Done?

I am older – not old per se, but I am no spring chicken. This was brought home rather pointedly when I had to contact Tech Help at Algonquin x3 to get access to the course.  The tech person was surprised by my student number being so low – he had not seen one that low yet.  I am one of 183,000 alumni of Algonquin, but probably in the first 40,000. Is there anyone else in their 60’s signed up for this course? Shout out if you are out there.

According to the Pew Reasearch Centre, I am not alone in trying to figure this out. I thought I was proficient in Facebook, having been on the site since 2004, but this year I learned how to block people for the first time. I had never had to block anyone before, but with the trucker protests, I had to figure out that button out since I did not want to see any more profane, violent, idiotic posts from people I thought were friends whose inner thoughts I realised I did not really want to know – send me pictures of happy, funny animals, not far-right political crap.

 Emanuele Del Rosso
8 February 2022

Moving between sites was the first challenge.  First the Algonquin site, then the OntarioLearn site, then the Brightspace site and now WordPress. All with different user names and passwords – which my computer is supposed to remember for me but does not appear to do well, hence all the calls for help.

I think I need an even more basic course, cuz man this is hard. My first assignment was a dissipointment since I did not comment on other people’s posts – I did not even see where they were after the first time. For some reason, I thought they would appear in the little message box.

I knew this was going to be hard – but now I am supposed to link in at least 2 promotional social media posts? I don’t really want to link this to my personal Facebook page, I never use twitter – am I supposed to create new ones? I have not figured out that one yet but I will, I have a message in for the teacher, I am sure she is going to be sick of me before this course is done.

In looking at the other posts made by my fellow students, it appears that I am really outclassed. They are so sophisticated and have a purpose. I had not really thought that far, nor had I thought of doing all the detailed reaserch. I thought a blog was just expressing myself, not so much promoting my ideas. I am really going to have to re-think this. I have a lot of opinions and ideas – but I guess I was not ready to promote them.

Whoo whoo! I now have a twitter account.

Interesting article on how older adults are using media: “Older adults use social media to compensate for fewer in-person interactions, UAH study says.” We are invisible.

Since I knew nothing about twitter this article helped: