I let Facebook ads influence my career (Take 2)

For those unaware of what this series is about, please look here. I give a detailed overview in a previous post, but basically I’ve decided to chance it and start clicking on stuff Facebook advertises to me, because the ads have gotten so much better. They’re about more than commerce or consumables, but jobs, education, and publications now.


The ad I viewed directed me here for Tribute Calls. Their upcoming issue’s theme is unpublished poets, which would be me (well, unpublished as adults, at least, not that I was ever officially published as a child either). It’s based in Los Angeles, which seems unusual for a literary mag. I’ve found most noteworthy are based in the Northeast or Midwest, though I digress. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline to submit for Fall 2018, but there is still plenty opportunity to submit on a rolling basis. They are also on Submittable, which is perhaps the easiest way to keep track of publication prospects. Give ’em a follow!  I suppose you could put pending submission receipts in an email folder (or color-coding–any Microsoft-owned address seems to have that, but I’m not sure of Gmail and others). Of course,  I haven’t the spare time for either method.

Rattle also doesn’t have submission fees, and for that, I strongly endorse it! Though they do try to give an edge to emerging poets, quite a few contemporaries whose names you recognize have been featured as well–Billy Collins, Gregory Orr, Naomi Shihab Rye, Li-Young Lee, Yusef Komunyakaa, etc. A few of them were folks my classmates presented for our poetry class. Facebook must have seen me looking up poets in Google searches for that class. Our professor occasionally links us a few recommendations via email, and I’ve wandered around Poetry.org for a good selection to imitate or recite, and Facebook has seen all that. A little creepy, but it’s effective.

Craft Literary

I get why this was advertised towards me, but why did they pick such a prestigious category? Of all things, the Short Fiction Prize. The deadline for this one hasn’t passed yet, it’s actually in a week. However, I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to think up 6,000 words to fit a fictitious narrative that will interest Jim Shepard. This guy mostly writes short stories, hence why he is overseeing this, but he’s written a few novels thus far. He’s been published in a few places whose attention I crave as a possible home for my own work–New Yorker, Atlantic, Ploughshares, Paris Review, Esquire, Playboy (yeah, some men won’t be encouraged to read unless you add a dash of softcore porn; but the hardhitting stuff is often republished elsewhere so traditionalists can stay enlightened). He teaches at Williams College in Western Mass, so he’s somewhat local…at least on a grand scale.

To me, it seems like a pipe dream for your first published thing to be the $2000 prize, and the $20 reading fee is a little steep. Still, I did give them a follow on Submittable, so I’ll dig through my computer for some stuff they may enjoy for a normal submission. They pay about $200 for general publication, which isn’t too shabby. Also, this is an online-only mag, though if the Firefox extension Country Flag and IP Whois is any indicator, they are based in Virginia.


This is a little weird. They’re promoting a poetry contest through crowdsourcing. Then what is editorial staff supposed to do? I get that the brainstorming and approval of peers or any “fresh set of eyes” can be quite beneficial, but…how much am I going to trust any old schmuck to adequately read the text and subtext or other kinds of stuff that I’d imagine an editorial board is more accustomed to? It seems cool in a way, but also like citizen jurors, which are utilized in many Western legal systems. Should this really be a decision I make? You can still make money from your work here, but…maybe I’m just a snob and don’t expect everyone else to have as refined taste as my own. I don’t know.

The concept is sort of cool. These journalists sought knowledge from elderly Canadians across their country. They concluded each story fell into at least one of 54 themes, which are listed at the bottom of the site. So, they came up with this crowdsourcing platform encouraging others to use one of these themes in their work. They also accept song, fiction, art, audio, and essay contests. I’m not sure the exposure you’ll get is that wide though. The site isn’t really a magazine, since it’s all contested submissions, they also host forums, and content from other sites, like NatGeo and TED. Based in perhaps the greatest city in British Columbia…Peachland. No, I’ve never been there, I just think that name is awesome. If they aren’t already, they should become the sister city to Pearland, Texas. That’s where Grav3yardgirl lives. Not sure if it’s a city in the Greater Houston area or a borough of Houston.

I’m going to continue my adventures in Facebook ads at a later time, but right now, I’m going to finish off this post. Arrivaderci, belli!


I let Facebook ads influence my career

Around three years ago, I took a communication course on how the internet age has influenced our interpersonal lives. One aspect of the course was on how social media contributes towards consumer patterns. I mentioned to the class that the way ads on Facebook worked was pretty bad. If I looked at any e-commerce site’s product, it kept showing up on FB. Occasionally, it was something I’d already bought, or it was something I viewed but didn’t really want after I looked into it further. It was like I left the mall but all the stores followed me home.

I know my peers prefer other social media nowadays, but I still really like how Facebook keeps stuff organized. You’re “friends” with your classmates, but you “like” your favorite pop star. Elsewhere, you’re a “follower” no matter your breed of exposure to someone else, and gets a little confusing. I also like how so many other sites (Grubhub, Yelp, New York Times, Happn, and Coffee Meets Bagel come to mind) will forgo my need to create an account with them provided I already have Facebook. Not to mention, I picked to maintain the Facebook page of the nonprofit where I intern.

Sure, I still see consumer goods in my Facebook ads occasionally, but it’s more than that: it’s gotten better. I aspire for publication, a career, and attending grad school. My ads reflect this. So I’ve actually clicked on a few ads, or taken screenshots of them, and occasionally just took a note down.

This is going to be an episodic series where I analyze some of the stuff I see in my FB ads. Yes, this is definitely inspired by YouTube vlogger Safiya Nygaard’s “The Internet Made Me Do It” series. But of course, Safiya is buying physical stuff (and, on one occasion, audible stuff considering her new intro song… ) but I’m not. I’m giving businesses (universities and/or nonprofits included) some info about me, and I’ll get some info on them. Therefore, I don’t think it translates quite as well on video. Starting with…

Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs (c/o Krieger School of Arts and Sciences)

Johns Hopkins is perhaps one of the most prolific universities in the country. I actually took the SATs in middle school through their Center for Talented Youth because my scores were high on our statewide standardized tests. I was getting some catalogues and magazines for their summer enrichment camps thereafter, but we couldn’t afford them, sadly. Further, I’ve accessed several peer-reviewed essays through Project MUSE, JHU’s nonprofit humanities/social sciences database. Thus, I was decently exposed to this school before I saw the ad.

I was prompted to express interest in a couple MAs: liberal arts, writing, science writing, teaching writing, global security studies, et. al. and communication. Since the last is what I’m currently studying, I thought that would make sense.

This program can be done completely online, which is…okay, I guess. I know they’re really flexible, but I don’t like online classes. I took one sophomore year, and most days of the week I forgot it existed. Of course, I guess it really depends on how it’s done or how you manage yourself. Anyway, I spoke with an admission rep, and she explained you can claim a focus or concentration if you’d like–a few of them are public relations, politics, or mass media. GRE scores aren’t required, but may be requested if you’re someone like me whose GPA is just a hair under 3.0. There aren’t very many grants or loans because it’s a private program. Cost is $4,000 course, or $40,000 annually. Typically, students finish their studies after two years, but they are given up to five if needed. Professors are willing to grant research assistantships or independent studies.

This was an alright ad for Facebook to display for me, but I don’t think I’m going to apply here just because of the cost and finickiness of financial aid ellegibility. Also, I’m wary of being educated online. Both me and my educators really need a drive and intimate attention for that to work, but that’s hard to come by, even for a prestigious place like JHU.

Stay ‘tuned for another installment…