The Facebook Page Like Scandal: You Have Been Lied To!

A non-occult related post – addressed to other members of the Indie Author Community who use Facebook Pages.


I am the manager of a Facebook Page – a page to promote myself as an author (see here). I come into contact with other indie authors who are in the same position as me – who also have their own Facebook pages. Recently, I have seen a lot of concern within the community that the average reach of each post on our FB pages – as a % of the total number of Page Likes – has noticeably decreased since this time last year, or before.

This has led to a lot of people in the community wanting to complain to Facebook itself, as if it is FB’s fault. Whilst technically FB could do something about it if they tried to, we are in fact missing the point. What I believe is the true situation is that we find ourselves in this position due to our own past actions.

FACT: in about August 2012, a movement began on Facebook of creating “Like Pages for Like” groups – i.e. post a link to any page which you managed in the group, expecting its members to Like it, on the understanding that you would return the favour. What a good idea, we all thought at the time. I hold my hands up myself to this – I did not realise what the implications would be, so I participated in it myself at the time. I saw the Like counter on my own page rocket up, and I thought “whoo!” – and so did many others.


However, when I was watching the above video, (what I now believe to be) the truth dawned on me, viz:

When you add 1000 Likes (or any number for that matter) who have no intention of engaging with your Page, you are actually Decreasing your Page’s popularity rather than Increasing it.

It works like this. When you post anything to your page, Facebook with all its evil machinations will only bother to make sure it’s seen by a ridiculously small number of people, determined arbitrarily. However, if that small number of people actively engage with the post by liking it, commenting on it, and / or sharing it, the post’s reach grows. If on the other hand that small number of people immediately ignore it, that post’s reach atrophies and dies.

Hence, if the vast majority of people who supposedly “Like” your page don’t actually read your posts, you will inevitably see your reach shrivel and die. This has led me to propose the following radical solution to the Facebook Page Like Scandal. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but stay with me for the moment. It is this:

INSTEAD OF ATTEMPTING TO MAXIMISE YOUR NUMBER OF PAGE LIKES, YOU SHOULD IN FACT DO THE OPPOSITE: DECREASE THEM – TO THE MINIMUM WHERE YOUR PAGE BECOMES AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING TOOL.

Yes! This is why I say in the title to this blog post “You Have Been Lied To,” because there are self-appointed marketing Gurus who try to sell people the idea that maximising Page Likes is the be-all-and-end-all. Wrong. You should only try to maximise the number of genuine fans for your page – people who are willing to engage with it. All the rest are worse than useless, they are negative influences in your pages popularity.

Take two Facebook pages, one with 100 likes, and the other with 1000 likes. Unfortunately, however, 900 of the second page’s fans are not particularly interested, whilst all of the former have a past-record of engaging with the page’s posts. Each page has effectively the same number of real fans, but in the former case there is a 100% chance that the page’s post will have a higher than usual reach, whilst in the latter there is a 90% chance that it will have a lower than usual reach. A page which limits itself only to genuine fans is a more effective marketing tool than a page with a larger number of redundant Likes.

Hence, here are my Dos and Don’ts:

DO:

  • As an author, encourage actual customers to like your Page – by including the Page address within the book. If they have already paid to read you, they are more likely to invest their time and effort into your fan page.
  • Encourage people who have engaged with you in the past to Like your page.
  • Limit invites to like your page to those in the field of interest relevant to your book.
  • Controversial one here – go into your page’s settings and  block it from being seen in known Link-Farm countries. See the Video above. You ought to know which countries your books actually sell in – authors with KDP will find that Amazon actually tells you. If, therefore, you have a suspiciously large number of “Likes” in places like Papua New Guinea or the Philippines, but don’t recall ever having sold a book there, you know what to do. FYI, the countries named and shamed in the video above are Egypt, India, Nepal. Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. There may be others, so be vigilant.
  • Get rid of suppose Fans whom you acquired through artificial Liking-schemes in the past. This is tricky because it may mean having to go into the Likes list of your page – several times – to de-select them one by one. The alternative is to
  • Be prepared to bite the bullet and start again with a new Page – but done properly this time.

DO NOT:

  • Use “Link Farm” sites (see the video featured above), which “illegitimately” increase your Page Likes in return for money.
  • Pay Facebook to advertise for more likes – because, as the video above implies, Facebook are effectively using Link Farms as well!
  • Participate in “Like Page For Like” groups or events.
  • Like a page unless you actively intend to engage with the posts on it.

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QOTD for Easter

Sov: Excellent and Perfect Prelate, what is the hour?

Prel, with 3rd sign: It is the first hour of the third day, being the first day of the week; the hour of a Perfect Mason.

Sov: What is the hour of a Perfect Mason?

Prel, with 3rd sign: It is the hour when the Word is found and the Cubic Stone is changed into the Mystic Rose. The Blazing Star has reappeared in all its splendour; our altars are renewed; the true Light restored to our eyes, the clouds of darkness dispersed; and the New Commandment is given to love one another.

Sov: Let us then observe this New Commandment to love one another, the result and perfection of all preceding Masonry, which will enable us to erect an edifice in our hearts to the glory of the Lamb; to whom belongeth might, majesty, dominion and power, Who liveth and reigneth world without end.

All: Amen.

via OPENING.

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April 20, 2014 · 4:55 am

Transcendence: Review

What better way to spend Good Friday, than to watch a film about a man who allows himself to be murdered, twice, indeed, just so as to prove that he was a good man trying to save the world!

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp, star of Transcendence

I should start out with a warning: Transcendence, the new film starring Johnny Depp, is not an action thriller. I say this because it was produced by Christopher “Inception” Nolan, so having previously liked Nolan’s films was drawn to it by his name alone. Rather, it gets off to a slow start, and only speeds up towards the end of the movie. I found it more interesting, though, for the actual nature of the issues it discusses.

The story is about a scientist named Will (Depp), who creates an Artificial Intelligence network. When he is fatally wounded by anti-technology terrorists, he (mainly at his wife’s bidding) uploads the contents of his mind into a new network – so that there will be something of him that lives on after the death of his body. The new AI network starts behaving as if it were Depp’s character. However – with access to processing power far in excess of what a mere human brain can afford, AI-Will starts acquiring god-like intelligence. This completely freaks out his former friends and colleagues, the terrorists (who are still after him) and the government, and eventually his wife as well. Meanwhile, however, AI-Will has escaped from the confines of the computer that once housed him into cyberspace at large, and proceeds to build a massive underground lair in the middle of the desert, where he hopes to carry out his plans undisturbed. Needless to say it all goes horribly wrong.

Now it so happens that there are people in real life – Transhumanists – who are carrying out research exactly like that in which Will is engaged in the film. So before one dismisses the premise of the film, one has to remember that there is a real possibility that someone will actually attempt to do this. Moreover, one should remember that Adepti of the Golden Dawn are in effect Spiritual Transhumanists – because they have vowed to use their occult powers to become “more than human.” This film therefore asks, what are the ethical implications of doing so? And: what are the dangers of doing so?

The film’s answers are bleak, to say the least. (AI-)Will is a Christ-like figure, and takes great pains to demonstrate to the other characters that he is using his new-found powers – mainly involving nanotechnology - to do good – e.g. to heal miraculously, to re-grow the rain forests, to end air / water pollution, and so-forth. However Cillian Murphy’s “Pontius Pilate” character, and Morgan Freeman’s “Caiaphas” character, are having none of it. They are aided by Paul Bettany who plays one of Will’s friends who eventually betrays him not with a kiss, but with a computer virus.

There is some massive irony: Morgan Freeman’s motivation for wanting to destroy AI-Will is that no human personality can handle that power responsibly, and hence play God. However, his principal method of attacking AI-Will is by doing just that – playing “God” with another man’s life - by conducting an experiment of which Josef Mengele would have been proud. He later rationalises this by the way that such hypocrites have done in the past – by denying that his test subject (a man who had been miraculously healed by AI-Will) was somehow not a real human. Ultimately, their animus against AI-Will himself is based on the idea that they cannot bring themselves to believe he is a sentient being.

AI-Will is not perfect, however. By demonstrating that he can communicate through his followers, and give them miraculous powers themselves, he demonstrates that he can potentially rob people of their apparent free-will. This in particular proves a sore-point with his wife, who has probably had nightmares of the Borg from watching too much Star Trek TNG. The fact that AI-Will never uses the Borg-like potentiality of his powers is not the issue, as far as she is concerned – it’s the principle that counts.

In essence, then, the film shows an unholy alliance of Government, conventional Science, and luddite Terrorist giving a massive fuck you to Plato’s Philosopher-King ideal, by saying that it doesn’t matter if an omnipotent AI character has the morals and conscience of a Christ-like being – the fact that it is omnipotent is bad enough. Now, one can argue that it’s only a film, it’s just fiction – except that these are all issues which haunt the Transhumanist debate. When does a technologically-enhanced human cease to be a human – and hence deserving of “human rights”? For that matter, when does an AI-system get any rights of its own, as a sentient being?

Moreover, the issues can be applied to the path of the Adept by analogy. I.e. what if you, as an Adept, actually succeeded in becoming “more than human”? This is made more relevant by the fact that within the Western Mystery Tradition there are spiritual paths which actually say that it is mankind’s ultimate destiny – after much reincarnation and spiritual purification – to become One with God – and hence becoming a collective is a thing to be desired. Whether one agrees with that or not, as far as Transhumanism, and by analogy Spiritual Transhumanism, goes, the film would seem to suggest: don’t tell anyone, don’t draw attention to yourself, and don’t expect anyone – friend, colleague, spouse and least of all the Government – to have the remotest sympathy for your predicament.

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What if this life is just one big lucid dream?

Inception meme

The difference between Lucid Dreaming and real life explained.

This sort of remark comes up on Twitter regularly – so I thought I’d enlist the cast of Inception to help explain it.

There is a quick way to discover whether this life really is a lucid dream or not. If it is, you can change it to what you want, using the power of your mind. In order to do this with ease one would normally need to do a lot of practice training one’s mind (e.g. through self-hypnosis) whilst awake. Thus the successful lucid dreamer can give him or herself unlimited super-powers, through an act of Will.

It gets complicated however when one considers that it is possible to use the power of the mind to alter ones waking circumstances as well. Most obviously through plain old hard work, but also through the law of attraction, and through the practice of Magick.

Hence real life is in fact a type of Lucid Dream after all – just not as immediate!

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April 17, 2014 · 7:48 pm

Alex does … rom-com?

OK I was just trying to explain to someone on Twitter today why my recent work, A Fairy Story By Any Other Name, is in fact light and fluffy enough to appeal to a Rom Com reader.

This got me thinking, what if I, Alex Sumner, actually tried to write Rom Com for real?

I have been giving this some thought, and already I’ve come up with some putative titles:

  • When Harry Exorcised Sally;
  • Pretty Witch;
  • My Best Friend’s Initiation;
  • Bridget Jones’ Book of Shadows;
  • How To Lose All The Members of your Order in Ten Days;
  • Romancing The Philosophers’ Stone;
  • What Wizards Want;
  • The Sabbat Crashers;
  • The Eternal Sunshine of the Nirvikalpa Samadhi Mind; and my most hopeful idea,
  • Three Weddings, Two Demonic Evocations, One Banishing and A Funeral.

:)

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“A Fairy Story By Any Other Name” free on Amazon

Just a reminder that my book A Fairy Story By Any Other Name is free to download today – Wednesday 9th April 2014.

Follow the links below to get to the appropriate download site, and when you do:

  • Please tweet / share that you’ve downloaded it; and when you’ve finished reading it
  • Leave a nice review on Amazon. :)

Thanks!


USA: http://www.amazon.com/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Germany: http://www.amazon.de/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
France: http://www.amazon.fr/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Spain: http://www.amazon.es/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Italy: http://www.amazon.it/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Mexico: http://www.amazon.com.mx/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
Brazil: http://www.amazon.com.br/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/
India: http://www.amazon.in/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

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Real fairies? Decide for yourself, says lecturer – Telegraph

My attention was caught today by this in the otherwise reliable Daily Telegraph:

A university lecturer claims to have photographed fairies in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire

via Real fairies? Decide for yourself, says lecturer – Telegraph.

Yeah, I know it looks like a load of insects, but that’s what the man says!

Anyway, my novel, “A Fairy Story By Any Other Name,” is now available from Amazon, and is the story of a magician undertaking a perilous astral journey to save a girl whom he believes to Otherkin Fae. As such, as a work of fiction it is therefore more realistic than this so-called Fairy Story from Lancashire! Click here for more details of how to get a free copy.

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A Fairy Story By Any Other Name: Kindle Giveaway


Free ebook from Alex Sumner! For full details, read on:

A FAIRY STORY BY ANY OTHER NAME is a fantasy novel by Alex Sumner, author of “The Magus” and “Taromancer,” and features Guy Shepardson, the eponymous lead-character from Alex’ series “The Demon Detective, and other stories.”

Modern day Sorcerer (and rakish man about Town) Guy Shepardson finds himself out of his depth – and out of this world – when he uses his powers to save a desperately ill girl. Instead he finds himself wandering through magical realms populated by monsters, dragons, cannibals, a seriously bemused Voodoo Loa – and a feisty Fae Warrior, who definitely does NOT want to be Guy’s Damsel In Distress!

But as Guy comes closer to his goal, he realises that the cost could be far greater than he ever imagined…

This is now available to buy in both print and ebook form from Amazon, however:

ON WEDNESDAY 9TH APRIL 2014, IT WILL BE FREE TO DOWNLOAD!!!

To take advantage of this offer, simply add yourself to the event on Facebook or subscribe to this website if you have not already done so and – this coming Wednesday – follow the links to Amazon to get a free copy.

And please share this post with everyone you know! :)


Where to download it (on Wednesday 9th April):

USA:

UK:

Germany:

Canada:

Australia:

http://www.amazon.com.au/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

France:

http://www.amazon.fr/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

Spain:

http://www.amazon.es/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

Italy:

Japan:

Mexico:

http://www.amazon.com.mx/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

Brazil:

http://www.amazon.com.br/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

India:

http://www.amazon.in/Fairy-Story-Other-Detective-stories-ebook/dp/B00JG5SV4C/

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Alex explains… Black Magick

OK, so there has been a lot of controversy on the interwebby-type thing about so-called Black Magick, and racism, and what-not, so I thought that I, Alex Sumner, novelist and world’s greatest expert on the occult, ought to shove in my £0.02 and clear all this confusion up.

“Black Magick” is a perjorative term for any magick which is just as vile as your own – except that you happen not to like the person doing it.

Seriously! Throughout the history of the occult, the common-ploy of every charlatan and rogue is to accuse the rival sorcerer down the road as a practitioner of Black Magick, whilst oneself is of course a White Magician. It’s a marketing ploy – pure and simple.

Moreover, as far as your typical fundamentalist Christian preacher is concerned, all magick is indiscriminately Black, because it all comes from the Devil. Even the stuff which does not look as if it does, does: because Old Nick is just fooling the gullible.

To my mind, therefore, “Black Magick” has become a thoroughly discredited term as to be effectively meaningless. Now, however, consider the following situations:

You conjure up a Demon, and you say to it:

  1. “Hey, Demon! Stop being evil, and work only for good instead!”
  2. “Hey, Demon! Stop being evil, and satisfy my selfish ambitions.”
  3. “Hey, Demon! Stop being evil, and open up a hell-mouth in the Nevada desert for no other reason than shits and giggles, and blatant self-aggrandisement.”
  4. “Hey, Demon! I deliberately want you to harm one, some or all of the other members of the human race.”

Question: which of a, b, c, or d above counts as “Black magick” ?

Answer: depending on your point of view, potentially all of them. By the same token however, these can be argued to be completely different.

Situation a is in fact the rationale behind a lot of the ceremonial magick of bona fide magical orders such as the Golden Dawn, the Elus Cohens, etc, as well as magical systems such as Abramelin – because confronting the dark aspects of ones personality is something that every serious spiritual aspirant has to deal with sooner or later. Indeed, I myself have blogged about this topic before, in the context of using NLP in conjunction with Goetic magick.

Situations b is a Grey area. Depending on how the conjuration is performed it could so easily lurch from being a fairly innocent extension of the kind of thing envisaged in (a) above, through to a reasonable request to provide for the basic needs of oneself and ones family, through to something like selling ones soul to be a successful businessman / pop-star /  head of a Masonic order / etc.

Situation c sounds at first to be fairly sinister, but consider this: is it really evil, if you haven’t really harmed anyone, and all you’ve done is make yourself look like a complete cock? Actually: anyone who would seriously consider attempting such a thing in the first place is probably already beyond those kinds of scruples.

Situation d looks the most “evil” of all. However, when one considers that the Governments of the world authorise the taking of human-life on a day to day basis and call it “warfare” even this could – as far as a magician who is willing to prostitute his services to the cause of the said Governments is concerned – be argued to be justifiable. The legendary New Forest working, which is alleged to have taken place in England during World War Two, is just such an example: it wasn’t just something to defend the country, it was an aggressive act aimed at at least one member of the enemy directly and his countrymen generally. But who cares, after all they were only Germans?

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SpirituAll 2014

The Tattershall Castle

The Tattershall Castle, the venue for SpirtuAll 2014

No matter what tradition you practice, you will not want to miss the 2014 SpirituAll Spring gathering of traditions – the world’s first day long gathering of potential customers *Ahem* “practitioners” from the length and breadth of the British Isles.

In about the year 1990, novelist and world’s greatest expert on the occult ALEX SUMNER began going out to the pub … legally. In 2014 he has decided to invite fellow occultists to come out drinking with him on Saturday 5th April, at the Tattershall Castle, on the banks of the River Thames, from 12pm onwards (nearest tube: Embankment). Spiritual seekers come from all across the world, although realistically they will only do so if they happen to be in London, England that weekend.

YOU too are invited – no matter what sort of Spirituality you practice. Hey, if you’re willing to buy one of Alex’ books, he’s not proud!!!

Adjacent to the Tattershall Castle are London’s West End and all of the capital’s famous landmarks, so theoretically you don’t have to stay all day drinking at the venue, but could make a day out of it.

The venue is a fully fledged pub and restaurant. Instead of a sky-clad hot-tub, it’s right on the River Thames itself! You can go skinny-dipping if you want, I’m sure the river police will only be too happy to turn a blind-eye.

Here is the present gathering schedule:

  • Alex gets a round in – just before people actually start arriving for the event!
  • Lunch
  • Alex tries to sell people his books.
  • Depending on how much money he has got from the previous item, Alex might get a round in properly this time.
  • Gossiping about everything that is wrong with the current occult scene, freemasonry, fluffy-bunny neo-pagans, Nick Farrell, etc.
  • Alex does Tarot readings.
  • Depending on how much money he makes from the Tarot readings, Alex may get another round in.
  • Alex will demonstrate a fearsome Enochian ritual for opening a Hell-mouth in the middle of the bar.
  • Alex will be escorted from the venue by the security staff and handed over to the Police.
  • Alex will cunningly slip the Police the old funny hand-shake.
  • Alex will be escorted back into the venue by the rozzers, just in time to get yet another round in.
  • etc etc etc

See you there!!! :)

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