48 Hours Later…

February 18, 2018 10:28pm
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Where did this weekend even go???

Deplorable Discussions
As one might expect, I’ve had a lot of discussions about mass shootings the last couple of days. A couple of them have been insightful, but most … have not … which I think has only built upon my anger because it truly is deplorable to spend the time immediately after a mass shooting that took the lives of 14 students and 3 teachers debating the semantics of what makes a mass shooting” or this notion that “there’s no such thing as an assault rifle.”

If anything, it’s really driven home the fact that as much as even I’m willing to consider that many factors are at work with these terrible acts, at the end of the day it’s ALWAYS been about guns, and the right just doesn’t want to talk about that.

The T-Shirt Idea
So the other day – I think right after the shooting took place, I left a comment on a friend’s post in the vein of “Fuck Your Feelings” … no, Fuck Your Guns! in parody of those smug Trump supporters who wore shirts saying as much at rallies back in 2016. At the time I joked that it would make for a great t-shirt, but left it at that until Saturday morning came around and another barrage of tasteless comments got me just fired up enough to actually realize that I had all of the tools to put something together in fairly short order…

I don’t know if I honestly expected to sell any versus it just being a funny jab at Trump supporters, but it was admittedly exciting when an actual order popped up for one after a Facebook page that was seeing a lot of attention that night themselves was kind enough to share a link to their 1,000+ followers when I asked!

As I watched the pageviews shoot up faster in 45 minutes than they had all afternoon, that’s when I started to think that maybe this could be something bigger.

Social Media Frustrations
Like I mentioned the other day in an earlier post, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how to make social media work for my creative projects. It always seems like you need followers to get visibility, but you also need visibility to get followers, and I’ve just never been able to figure out how to bridge that gap.

I was kind of hoping that maybe this idea would be a better social media fit because it’s punchy and controversial, as well as very timely now with so much discussion around gun control and how to move forward.

Pretty late into the night, I finally decided that if this idea did have potential, I needed a better presentation, so I started working on a single page website that features an essay of about 900 words to collect all of the thoughts that I’ve had around what we as a people need to do, also highlighting some of my biggest frustrations with the anti-gun control crowd.

That website can now be found at fuckyourguns.org.

You Can’t Beg People to Retweet You
I literally stayed up all night to finish the site – I think I finally went to bed somewhere around 7:30am, but for what it’s worth, I’m super proud of how it turned out.

My main goals were to A) focus on statistics, and B) make it personal, and I think I did both of those quite well.

I wanted the text to be a clear jab at the extreme gun advocates, but still convey that it doesn’t have to be that way … they just need to be willing to come to the table for an honest and open conversation, too.

After watching the success of the first share on Facebook, I figured that if I could get just one person with a mid-sized following to share a link to the site, I’d be golden! So I put together a list of people who I followed in other avenues – several comedians and a few other liberal activist types, and I sent them a simple tweet asking if they could help signal boost just like I had with the first guy on Facebook.

Mind you, I was super super nervous doing this because I know it’s not always smiled upon, but I hoped that I’d have just the right message to catch their attention in a positive way. Plus, I knew that they’d all been commenting about gun control over the weekend, so the request was on point. I was ready to wake up a few hours later and just have my mind blown when I pulled up the stats and sales!

SPOILER: Nothing happened.

Social Media Roller Coaster
All I could think about was how cool it would be to have a $50,000 check to hand over to a non-profit in support of gun control, or even $150,000! It really wouldn’t even require that many shirts sold, and damn if they wouldn’t make a powerful statement filling a protesting crowd with a sea of royal blue.

Though admittedly I’m not sure how the media would cover it without having to literally censor every single shirt!

This is actually a great example of why social media just drives me bonkers because just one taste – even a small one – and you know that the potential is there, if only you can figure out how to tap into it!

That said, there are a lot of nuances to remember … sharing and growth are meant to happen organically, not by you sending a tweet from a new account begging for a RT!, and sites like Reddit super frown on users posting their own links. I learned this the hard way once because I had some blog posts that I really wanted to share … got a ridiculous number of pageviews, but also my share of negative comments about not following the rules.

And that’s what makes it tough about social media – to know that there’s this giant firehose of users waiting to click links, but it takes a lot more effort than just passing by and wanting some in order to get any.

A Dwindling, New Hope
So I honestly don’t know what to expect and/or hope for anymore. I’d still love to see this take off and generate a bunch of money for charity because I really believe in the cause, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen and I really worry – both for this project and the cause in general – that a week from now gun control won’t even be a blip on the radar anymore because our shitty, short attention span news cycle will have moved on to a dozen other issues by then.

In the meantime, I did create a Twitter account specifically for the project and took some time this afternoon to follow a few dozen people talking about gun control, liking and retweeting and commenting on other tweets in between sharing a few quotes from my own piece. Still, I haven’t really seen any activity at all in return – not even so much as a single follow. 🙁

In retrospect, I do wonder if I might’ve inadvertently shot myself in the foot – pardon the expression – by using the word FUCK because I’m curious if Twitter’s ranking algorithm either filters content with “adult language” further down in one’s news feed or even just keeps it hidden altogether!

I was already reminded that Facebook doesn’t allow FUCK in its advertising because I tried to create a quick $10 campaign to try and drum up a little attention, only to have it quickly declined due to vulgar language.

Funny how Facebook seems to be a-ok with circulating political propaganda from Russian bots to sew discourse with American users prior to our election, yet the word FUCK is over the line. 😯

Fin
So that’s where we are as of late – I suppose the upsides are that while I haven’t sold a lot of my vulgar, gun control t-shirts, I have sold a few and it’s kind of neat to think about them being worn out in the public or at one of the upcoming protests!

I’ve also probably written more in the last four days than I have in the last two months, so there’s that.

Plus, I still have a couple of things I want to work on before I go to bed earlier than 7:30am tonight, so I suppose I should wrap this up. One is even a new humor piece for Just Laugh that I want to run tomorrow … I don’t even want to look at the last time I posted on that site!

I’ll give you one guess as to what the topic is going to be about… 😉

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