Thursday, January 26, 2023

that pyramid book scheme

Facebook is a funny thing -- you'd think after a certain amount of time people would stop falling for the "I am telling Facebook they do not have permission to use my photos, and I'm going to make this known right here in this post so ol' Marky Zuck will see it" hoax that likes to pop up every now and again. Then the person doing the post advises you to not share the post, but instead gives you instructions on how to copy and paste into your own Facebook feed. 

This, as well all know (or most know, as there are some that don't) is false, and Zuckerberg and his META Minions could care less about your declarations of what Facebook can and cannot do -- they have your pics and such, and that's that. 

I think the one that makes me kinda angry are the posts that declare that some big company -- Ford, Chick-Fila, some RV Camper company -- will give away a massive amount of prizes, from free vehicles to free lunches, all you have to do is like the post and share the post and such.  

This is false, and frankly, when I scan these posts and the comments below them, I always see people I know and am FB friends with, and automatically question their intelligence for believing in this utter nonsense -- sure, you are probably smart, but come on... 

Disney, who is usually tagged the most on these and thus makes me the angriest, is NOT awarding you free vacations for liking and sharing their ghetto page titled "DISNEY.WORLD THEME PARK" with just under 8,000 followers and two out of date pics, one of them a hand with chubby hands with nails coated in chipped nail polish holding up a set of park ticket cards that haven't been used since Bob Chapek had a high favorability rating in the company itself. 

If you share these type posts, I make fun of you. Seriously. (also sharing these is a form of phishing, and you are opening up your account and in many cases, other people's accounts to information gathering to all sorts of nefarious companies, so don't ask "What could it hurt" because it could hurt)

But then there is the book exchange. 

You know the one, the one that suddenly pops up and takes over your Facebook feed for a few weeks with your friends and family wanting you to be a part of a program that will garner you reading material for days and weeks. 

 I am looking for people to participate in a huge book exchange!

You can be anywhere in the US!
All you have to do is buy your favorite book (just one) or gift one you own and send it to a stranger! l’ll send their name and address in a private message…
You should then receive roughly 36 books to keep!
An easy option is to order your favorite book from Amazon and have it shipped directly to your person.

This should be fun… And what do you have to lose other than one book!?  

That was actually taken from a post from someone I consider an absolute dollface and a long time friend, so if that's you reading this, I promise, I'm not making fun of you -- that would come if you shared that aforementioned "Free Disney trip!" post.


I am the last person to toss water on someone's joy... but I also don't like that joy to be based on a false premise...

However comma

Let's talk about this Book Exchange program that promises that for the cost of one book, you'll receive up to 36 in return.  That might be idealistic, but hey, what if you get only 18 books in return?  You probably won't like all of them, but if you like 12 of them, you can pass off the other 6 to friends, and now your friends have new books (and they may have a lot of them, because what if they also did the Book Exchange?!) and you have 10 new books to read. 

Say it with me... WHAT COULD IT HURT??? 

While I'm no math scholar, I have yet to figure out how this works, and how you only send 1 book and get 36 in return.  

So to be clear, you spend a little money, then recruit a bunch of friends to spend a little money, and... they in turn recruit friends to spend a little money... and those friends recruit friends to... um... 

Truthfully? That sounds a lot like... a pyramid scheme. A well intentioned one, one that isn't promising untold riches, unless you count the hours of wordy entertainment as untold riches (you can count reading as riches, sure, but you get what I'm saying, right?)

Let's play this out. 

I get six of you in on my Book Exchange (to get 36 books, I have to get 6 people, and they have to all get 6 people) -- Jenn, Kyla, Heather, Amy, Nikki, and Mikey.  Mikey is going to send Star Wars comics, so just ready for that.  

All six of them recruit six people, so we now have 36 people in the mix.  If all of them send me books -- so now I have 36 books, or 35 books and an old copy of Star Wars Old Republic #188 (thanks Mikey).  Because I started this shindig, I made out like a banshee. A reading banshee. Of Inshiren.  Great movie. 

But why would they all send me books?  The instructions are a little vague on most of the posts -- if I recruit 6 people, and they all send me one book, then I have 6 books.  

I've only sent one book, to Kyla (it's a coloring book #BecauseKyla) as per the instructions, so the rest are bookless? They send out a book to someone else, and that person... sends a book to someone else?  Where does the 36 come from? 

Also, let's not forget the fact that as this begins to spread, with me sending books to a stranger, I now have in my hands someone's address, someone I do not know, nor do they know me. Which means someone, or someones plural, have my address... in the day and age of Instagram and TikTok and other social platforms, the information super highway is littered with vehicles of personal data, but are we willingly just tossing it out there in this? 

Here's an explanation from, and I'll toss in some names to help make it more personal:

When user A (let's say "Nikki") messages user B (d$) on who's account the Book Exchange post appeared, making Nikki excited because she's a rampant reader... Nikki tells d$ she wants to participate in the exchange, so d$ provides Nikki with two addresses, one for Nikki to mail a book to and one to pass onto Nikki's followers that end up wanting to take part once Nikki posts the Book Exchange post on her own feed.  

Wait. What? 

Here's what had to say:

The number of recruits needed at increasing levels forms a geometric series (6, 6², 6³, 6⁴ …). It starts with 1 person but just 8 levels down, it requires more than 1.6 MILLION people to keep it going.

So... yeah. 

In my pretend Book Exchange, if it works like it's supposed to (and really, does anyone know how its supposed to work?) I'll get 36 books... but by the time you get a few layers down, people are sending books and getting nothing back.  People at the top get the goods, people at the bottom don't. 

Also called "A Pyramid Scheme".  

Or Biden's economy, but again, I digress.  

Honestly, the idea that you will recruit 6 people to send books, and those people will recruit 6, and those people will recruit 6 is far fetched -- I mean, I can't get some of you people to like my Disney Instagram (@TheMagiconaDollar  and the only commitment there is a click to Follow which results in endless digital pixie dust).

Part of me wants to join a Book Exchange to see what happens because it might make for good material. In fact, I think I'll do that.

Having said all that... let's recap...

  • Facebook is not going to care about your permission given or taken away when it comes to pictures, no matter what you say in your post
  • Disney, Ford, Chick-fila or other companies are not going to give you free stuff by sharing the post
  • Book Exchanges don't work. 

Happy reading. 

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