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Hunter S. Thompson: A Legacy Living

“No. We can’t stop here. This is…BAT COUNTRY!” 

Summary:

Hunter Stockton Thompson was a countercultural icon that bridged the gap between fiction and journalism. Famous for his work with Rolling Stone and for books such as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” this quirky writer had a tone so unique; his writing was given its own genre called gonzo journalism. It is a journalistic style still in use today. This profile delves more extensively into the life of Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalism and the legacy he left behind.

 

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

The late Hunter Stockton Thompson (born 1937 in Louisville, Ky.) believed, “There is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms” (Maria Popova). It was this belief that helped Thompson to construct a new journalistic genre contradictory to the very core of said topic’s definition. “That once-radical, now-ubiquitous style of New Journalism that does away with claims of capital-O objectivity,” is known today as gonzo journalism and “instead inserts the author into the story as an active first-person narrator,” (Popova).

On February 20, 2005, Thompson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 67; however, the firsthand, personal reporting approach, which first made Thompson so radically iconic, now lives as the literary legacy to the original gonzo journalist.

Thompson, like his works, did not waste any time beating around the bush. He found writing his forte and was inducted into the local Athenaeum Literary Association for his fiction and poetry while still attending high school.

Thompson Yearbook Picture

 “I was not proud of what I had learned, but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.”

As talented as young Thompson was, his run-ins with the local law eventually caught up to him. At age 17 a judge gave Thompson the ultimatum between prison and military. Choosing the latter, the young man enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1956. Here, he continued to develop his craft and wrote a weekly sports column for the base for his two years of service.

Upon discharge in 1957, Thompson worked a number of newspaper jobs, but found satisfaction in none off them. He began freelancing from Puerto Rico and South America for The New York Herald Tribune, the National Observer and various other publications.

An article entitled, “Hunter S. Thompson, The Art of Journalism No. 1,” from The Paris Review foreshadows, “The vocation quickly developed into a compulsion,” (Douglas Brinkley, Terry McDonell). Before the ripe age of 25, Thompson completed his first (and only) novel, The Rum Diary. Based upon his experiences in South America, the colorful adaptation was not actually published until 1998.

Thompson got his foot in the door of journalism with his foreign correspondent work, but it was the publication of his first non-fiction book Hell’s Angels in 1967 that first established his reputation. This work, arguably the first to emulate true gonzo journalism, was supported by over a year of Thompson’s travels with the infamous gang.

This firsthand account supported Thompson’s gonzo strategy, which, according to an interview from the Quietus, aims to, “place the journalist at the very heart of a story, until he becomes the central protagonist” (Ian Johnston). His first book set the tone for future pieces and forced the public to take a second look at things, but gonzo journalism would need more propellant to solidify itself as a new genre.

It was the publication of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1972 that fortified the vitality of Thompson’s presence in American journalism. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes, “First serialized in Rolling Stone, it documents the drug-addled road trip taken by Thompson (as his alter ego Raoul Duke) and his lawyer (Dr. Gonzo) while also discussing the end of the 1960s counterculture.” The success of the excerpt caused the magazine to offer Thompson a job as its national political reporter.

"Some people get rich and others eat shit & die."

 

“I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes.”


As Thompson paved the pathway to possibility by bridging the gap between fiction and journalism, this opportunity from Rolling Stone, “brought Mr. Thompson’s rule-breaking style to a broader audience, where his outrageous voice helped refocus the nation’s customarily straitlaced political dialogue” (Michael Slackman).

Thompson had the perfect blend of rage and fantasy to resonate with cultural frustrations. “At his peak Mr. Thompson reached out in his writing to a generation made cynical by the Vietnam War and the Watergate political scandal and that was prepared to respond to Mr. Thompson’s visceral honest[y],” (Slackman). This mixture left an heir of drama and reveal lingering at the end of Thompson’s articles.

Along with this journalistic style come natural questions of virtue and validity. One of the most fundamental ideas of journalism is the idea of objectivity and the ability to account without bias. Slackman quotes an Associated Press interview conducted in 2003, in which Thompson states, “Fiction is based on reality unless you’re a fairy-tale artist. You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you’re writing about before you alter it.” Thompson did not argue for bias in order to get his personal outlook across or simply to make for better readership; he argued for it because he believed it to be a necessity. 

Hunter S. Thompson was a bold, innovative journalist who never ceased to test the boundaries of every rule. He refused to believe that journalism was something objective or that stories could be told from the outside looking inward. This defiance was replaced with wholehearted subjectivity.

Thompson became enveloped in first-person accounts. This made them all the more edgy, and, for Thompson, perhaps, all the more destructive. Thompson’s firsthand, semi-fictional style was so consistently successful it became the genre, still known today, as gonzo journalism.

 

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Poll Results: And the winner is…

With 61% of the vote….

Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism takes the win!

Stay tuned for the article , “Bat Country,” coming very, VERY soon :)

 

-Terran Rae

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Letter to Kendall Jones from Conservative KU Journalist

 IMPORTANT NOTE: I have nothing against the hunting of animals as long it is legal. I support the Second Amendment. I am a proud Republican and advocacy journalist. This letter, and any other related, future information, serves to expose corruption surrounding and/or within non-profit organization(s).

(This is a well-supported presentation of my outlook on Texan student Kendall Jones’ actions. Will she respond? Or will she continue to ignore me and try to get this taken off of Facebook? I would hope the former, but my mind tells me the latter will probably occur.)

Dearest Kendall,

I don’t understand why you blocked me, but I would like to apologize. I understand I was a bit harsh, so I’d like to start over because I really would like to see your perspective and, as a journalism student, I’d like you to see mine as well. I hope that’s not asking too much from you.So, you recently posted 10 very valid reasons for and examples of conservation. The act of conservation hunting HAS DEFINITELY helped a lot of species to thrive….but the keywords here are: IN. NORTH. AMERICA! In the same post you also mentioned the specific animals in which conservation hunting has helped including: ducks, turkeys, pronghorns, elk and  whitetails.

Your argument for conservation hunting is completely infallible and correct… for those species in that continent. However, using statistics from North American animal conservation hunting and it’s success as a correlation between African endangered animal conservation hunting is one of the oldest and most common fallacies of rhetoric in existence. Deriving correlation from causation is not only statistically inaccurate, but, I’m sorry to say, it also shows a lack of credibility on your behalf.

 

As you seem to have the facts down about North American conservation hunting, allow me to enlighten you about the facts of legal and moral conservation hunting in Africa. First of all, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) announced in April that the import of elephants from both Tanzania and Zimbabwe will be suspended for the remainder of 2014. The decision was propelled by the fact that in these two countries, according to FWS, “additional killing of elephants…even if legal, is not sustainable.” THUS, your elephant trophies of conservation were actually adding to the endangerment of the species. Big, “Oops!” Huh?Moreover, you’re claiming to support a cause, and you, (or your father), rather, paid of dollars to help that cause. Well, let’s just see about how much money your dad invested in your selfless act to spread awareness, and what exactly it was you had to pay for, shall we?

We all know your favorite spot to hunt is Zimbabwe, as your father introduced you to the beauty of its plains at the sprite age of nine. African Sky Hunting, affiliated with Dallas, TX, (so I’m sure you’re familiar), offers all sorts of all-inclusive packages for hunts just like the ones you go on!

According to said well-known hunting operator in Zimbabwe, a 21-day lion, elephant & buffalo hunt costs $1,100 a day per person. A total upwards of $80,000. BUT that’s not including the price you pay for all of your fuzzy trophies! For each leopard, $15,000. Each lion, $22,000. Each elephant, $35,000. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Not including equipment, air fare, travel fare, transportation of trophy fees, and your ungodly amounts of bronzer, that’s a bit under $200,000.

Now, I understand that as a conservation hunter you are obligated to pay to hunt, and a portion of said payment goes to helping your cause. You recently posted about the lack of the “trickle-down effect” of money from national to local non-profit organizations…

If you support the idea that national non-profits should give back more locally, then how do you justify less than 1% of the money conservation hunters pay to kill these animals actually going to said cause? You simply cannot justify this because the two ideas completely contradict one another.

So, if your previous statements are truthful, then you undoubtedly know that it would make a more significant impact and help more animals if you directly donated money instead of hoping that one cent for every dollar spent will hopefully go to the cause you claim to believe in.

A donation of $200,000 directly to the cause would have made much more of an impact on this platform you “care so much” about. How many trips have you taken like this before? How many has your father taken? I guarantee the total cost of the animal deaths from all of the hunts combined is at least one million. But even with the $200,000, you could have actually made a long-term, positive change in the world for a species.

As I mentioned, (before you decided to block me for no reason), I am both a journalism student and the owner/manager of a website SPECIFICALLY dedicated to providing our community with news and information about non-profit organizations and advocacy in general.

For over two years now I have put my heart and soul into said website and into the overall spreading of non-profit awareness. I absolutely refuse to back down on this issue and your idiotic promotion of it. What’s more, I will not stop until a voice is heard for these animals who couldn’t speak for themselves.

Kendall Jones, I refuse to allow your success to be gained through exploitation of this cause, or any other for that matter.

Advocacy and awareness are vital to the future of our beautiful world. Manipulating causes for your own pleasure DOES NOT fall under the umbrella of advocacy or awareness. As a true proponent of this and other causes, and as a journalist, it is my ethical responsibility to inform the community of events and their surrounding facts.

I will not stop spreading awareness about yourself and your anti-advocacy actions until you stop feeding the flame for your infamy and your hopes for a stupid reality show.

I’d like to think that your father’s beliefs have simply been engrained in you deeply from a young age, but another part of me thinks that you truly know what you’re doing is wrong… But, with repetition of manipulated statistical facts, I’m sure you can sleep better at night.

I would truly enjoy a response from you, although I’m sure your publicist (ha!) had you block me BECAUSE I am a journalist. Specifically, an advocacy journalist. Your exploitation of organizations represents the non-profit corruption I fight to eliminate every, single day.
I may not be on Fox News or NBC. Hell, I still have a year before I graduate from the William Allen White School of Journalism at KU. But, that is the very reason I will not stop pursuing your response. I’m not any more educated, accredited or qualified than you are, Kendall. There’s less than two years between us. If you’ve been looking for a fair match in the media to defend your cause and respond to all of the backlash: you’ve found it.

I hope to hear from you soon. Until we speak again, happy shooting!

Be the change you wish to see in the world,

 

Terran Rae Smith

 IMPORTANT NOTE: I have nothing against the hunting of animals as long it is legal. I support the Second Amendment. I am a proud Republican and advocacy journalist. This letter, and any other related, future information, serves to expose corruption surrounding and/or within non-profit organization(s).
 STOPHER copy
SOURCES:
- http://www.conservationforce.org/…/conservationoftheafr
- http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/…/controversy…/
- http://www.fws.gov/…/CITES-and-Elephant-Conservation.pdf
- http://www.africanskyhunting.co.za/africanhuntingpackages
- http://www.farrenglobaladventures.com/Safaris.htm
- http://www.shakariconnection.com/african-hunt-pricing.html
- http://www.independent.co.uk/…/hey-kendall-jones

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What do YOU want to learn more about?

Attention! It’s time for LNP’s first ever Reader’s Choice Poll! It’s up to YOU to decide which article I’ll post next! Poll closes Thursday. Just choose between the two topics below–it’s as simple as that! I can’t wait for your feedback!

 

As always, thank you for visiting. I’ll post the winning article on Thursday evening.
 
Be the change,
 
 
Terran Rae Smith
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Happy Birthday, Daddy:

Father of Mine: Reflective Analysis of Moral Development

By Terran Rae Smith
Preface: This is dedicated to both of my parents. To my mother, thank you for constantly striving to improve under the unfortunate and harsh conditions life has given you. To my father, I thank you for helping me to see through the ailments, and into my mother’s beautiful heart.
2006: Dad, 47, and myself, 13

2006: Dad, 47, and myself, 13

I am told that my mother was once vibrant, charismatic and breathtakingly beautiful inside and out. I don’t remember her this way because my mother began abusing prescription pills during my infancy, and developed many mental illnesses as the addiction continued throughout my childhood. Today, only a glimmer of that happy, outgoing woman I’m told about remains.

My mother suffers from a number of mental illnesses, some of which include: Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Hypochondria and Munchhausen Syndrome. Because of her illnesses, she was very abusive, manipulative and made unethical decisions, to say the very least. Although my father divorced her when I was nine, my mother fought for custody of me until the day I graduated high school.

 Other than my father and I, my sister and the rest of my family have been estranged from my mother for over eight years. She has been able to maintain a lifestyle of lounging and pill popping by using the technology of today to her advantage, much like the following topic discussed in chapter two of Rushworth M. Kidder’s, How Good People Make Tough Choices. “Widespread, designed for great speed, often decentralized, [our] systems are increasingly susceptible to misuse or manipulation by a single individual making a single wrong decision” (Kidder 24). My mother receives Social Security, Disability and other government paid leisure because she knows how to manipulate, at all costs, anyone and anything until she gets what she wants.

2006: Dad, 47 and myself, 13

2006: Dad, 47 and myself, 13

My mother is abusive, clinically insane and is the most unethical person that I personally know. Seeing the woman I didn’t want to become did teach me what not do to in life, but seeing my father forgive and empathize with my mother truly shaped my character as a person, and gave me the strength and wisdom to forgive her as well.

After my parents divorced, my father raised my half sister and I as if we were both his own. During one of the many custody battles my mother pursued, my father purchased a car and a house for my mother simply out of the kindness of his heart. This woman had committed adultery, drove our family to bankruptcy to feed her addiction and abused his children. For the rest of my family, that was enough. But my father saw something that no one else did: the illness.

To be completely honest,  I once hated my mother with my entire being. But my father’s actions and explanations taught me a lesson synonymous with one of Kidder’s. “Most wrongdoing arises instead from immorality—a violation of the precepts of morality,” (33). My father helped me to understand it is because of my mother’s long-time drug use and mental health that marred her moral judgment. Since graduating high school in 2010, I’ve forgiven my mother’s actions and, although we continue to be estranged from one another, my heart is and always will be filled with love for her.

 Today, the strongest person I know turns 55 years old. Michael Scott Smith watched the mother of his children succumb to addiction, raised two daughters as a single parent and still manages to be hopeful helpful and sympathetic to the woman who tore his life, family and heart apart. He is my father, my warrior—my best friend. Without his guidance, I would not be able to, as Kidder puts it, “ identify, systematically and deliberately, the values [I] and [my community] hold” (33). Today is his birthday. From his perspective, it’s just another day and another year put on his tab, but from my perspective, July 6th not only celebrates the birth of one man, but also the birth of two parents. For that is exactly the role he has and continues to play in my and my sister’s lives.

2009: My Mom and I

2009: My Mom and I

My mother may have made a lot of unethical decisions in life, but my father’s altruistic actions and wise words taught me to look beyond the surface and to realized that she is not an unethical person, or, more importantly to myself, an unethical mother. “She’s not a bad person; she just has a lot of bad problems,” my father says when my frustration reaches its limit. “She may not be able to show it sometimes, but she loves you and your sister so much, Terran,” he says. There is more to my mother than repercussions from poor decisions; behind the mistakes, pills and sunken eye sockets, lies the woman my father fell in love with—my mother, Stephanie Joy Smith.

 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Please take a few minutes to view the info-graphic below. 61 million Americans, including myself, have mental illness. Some wounds are invisible, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still heal <3

 

NAMI NYC-Metro IWL Infographic FINAL

 

SOURCE: How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth M. Kidder

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“A Family that Vapes Together”

Short Documentary by Terran Smith

Graduating 2015 from the WIlliam Allen White School of Journalism

Graduating 2015 from the WIlliam Allen White School of Journalism

Former smoker and vape enthusiast, Robby Swonger, has two main concerns in life: family, and helping others. He discovered electronic cigarettes are a successful alternative to quitting smoking, and realized a way to change the lives of his family members, and countless others in the community forever.

This is the story of three generations working together under one roof to become closer as a family while aiding others in the journey to put down cigarettes, and pick up a vape. This is more than just a  story about Lawrence’s latest local business.

After spending the past semester with the Swonger family at The Vapor’s Edge E-Cig shop, it’s become apparent; this is a story about family. These, are the Swongers.

 

I was lucky enough to document the Swonger family and their business for the first 15 weeks of this semester. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to include all of the information I had originally intended. So, I’ve put together a couple of infographics I believe will be helpful to those interested in learning more about this topic.

This graphic is one of the more inspiring and less ‘shame on you’ sources of information I’ve found about cigarettes and quitting the detrimental addiction. As you can see from the first bullet on the timeline below, it only takes 20 minutes after one’s last cigarette before positive changes in the body begin occurring.

The timeline goes on to explain the benefits and regeneration of your body for the next fifteen years after not smoking.

http://www.statschat.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Smokers-Timeline-1.jpg
[Infographic courtesy of http://www.cancer.org

We all know that cigarettes are addictive, bad for our health and a waste of money. However, this infographic not only includes some of the most valid points about the literal and figurative costs of cigarettes, but it also includes information on what an individual saves in the long-run after switching to electronic cigarettes.


[Infographic courtesy of http://www.VaporXpress.com

 

 

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Thanks for Visiting!!

Two months from now, this site will have been up and consistently active for two years! Looking back on my earliest posts makes me proud of the difference that I’m able to make in any and every person’s life, and also gives me a few laughs as I look at how far I’ve come towards truly being a professional broadcast journalist.

No matter how much effort I put into a project, all of YOU are the true key to unlocking the dreams in my life. To my consistent followers, I am so thankful to know that there are members of my audience who keep up with every piece of work I make. It makes me tear up just typing this. And to those who find me on accident, visit every once in a while or even just have clicked on my website once–thank you so much to each and every one of you as well.

Just before I began typing this, LawrenceNonProfits officially reached 2,900 views. I am so moved and humbled by this accomplishment. I promise to continue to maintain this website as long as you all want me here to read/view/listen to it :)

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

 

Image

Best Wishes,

Terran

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“Before You Speak”

Documentary by Terran Smith & Spencer Vaught

Spencer and I became inspired to work with Dorothy E. Nary after hearing her personal experiences with disabilities, and her incredible work towards spreading all-around awareness and respect  at the University of Kansas for persons with disabilities–whether visible or not.

After speaking to Dot about her work to improve campus accessibility, and the importance of spreading awareness regarding people with disabilities, Spencer and I shared a moment of insight as we realized the overlap between Dot’s experience and our mutual, close friend, Jessi Mitchell’s story.

The two women in this documentary not only share the simple fact of having disabilities, but they also share a beautiful outlook on the fulfilling life that lies before each of them. Every voice makes a difference, and these, are theirs…

Below is the PDF of KU’s most recent edition of word usage guidelines regarding people with disabilities.

Provided by Student Services of KU for people with disabilities

Newest copy of politically correct and incorrect language–Provided by Student Services of KU for people with disabilities

Graduates in 2015 from the WIlliam Allen White School of Journalism and hopes to be a documentary filmmaker.

Terran R. Smith: Graduates in 2015 from the KU School of Journalism,  and hopes to pursue documentary film making

Graduates this May from the William Allen White School of Journalism and hopes to pursue film making.

Spencer Vaught: Graduates May from KU’s J-School and hopes to pursue filmmaking

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Famous Fascination: Oscars Off-the-Screen

Where are the ‘budget cuts’ in Hollywood?

“We want to thank all of you for watching us congratulate ourselves tonight.” -Warren Beatty

By Terran Smith

At a mere 13.5″ tall, each gold plated “Oscar” statue for the annual Academy Awards costs half a grand to manufacture. With just two dozen categories to cover, the awards alone still cost approximately $12 grand to manufacture. This is just one of countless examples of extreme frivolous spending for this Hollywood tradition.

Beginning as an elitist club for film buffs and other invites, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was established in 1927, and is a ‘film organization.’ The annual awards have since become a big part of the rest of society as a way to commemorate and admire those on the red carpet. Last nights Academy Awards were viewed in over 200 countries worldwide. With the never-ending pile-on of fiscal and social issues occurring, particularly in America, I can’t help but feel that this tradition has become contrived and greedy like many other historically successful markets.

From best actress to best dressed, every aspect of the Academy Awards is competitive in a way quite similar to dogs participating in Best in Show. Perhaps that statement could be seen as a bit extreme, but let’s really break down the facts. The only things people, in general, remember from the Academy Awards are: best movie, best dressed and worst dressed. The last two items on the list aren’t even relevant to the entire event! Yet the ensemble of an attendee can give an actor more attention than the winner of an actual award.

Almost $22 million was spent in 2012, during the recession, on the 84th annual production of the Academy Awards. Obviously, that number doesn’t include each pair of Jimmy Choo heels and matching Tiffany earrings. Even if average people do think it’s okay for actors and those in the Academy to spend ghastly amounts of money to celebrate one’s own success, that doesn’t change the fact that the viewers are the ones truly supporting the profit the Academy is able to rake in year after year.

If all of the diamonds, feathers, cameras, tripping, waiting, awkward laughing and political picks are that engrossing, then apparently the cost of this idolizing entertainment is of true value to the public.

Thus, it is truly the community that supports the financial whims of the Academy. Why, then, do the public still have no say in the awards or even right to become an Academy member? This is not only a public example of discrimination, but it is also one that society has celebrated throughout history.

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Is Facebook getting too friendly?

Random Rant on Targeted Advertising

By Terran Smith

Facebook is the epitome of everything that social networking and its evolution represent…or at least it was. Starting at a single college in 2004, the idea exploded into society. No longer limited to college students or even humans, the website allows pages to be made for pets, celebrities and alternate identities.

The website has always been wonderful at serving its market; however, it took the company a bit of problem solving to figure out how to make profit from the market that it served. Low and behold the mere beginning of Facebook advertisements.

‘Advertising’ seems too simple a term to sufficiently describe Facebook’s ever-evolving market strategy. Sure, triggering ads based on user demographics is actually quite common nowadays, but the information technology behind this company’s advertisements delves deeper than demography.

Based on a compilation of all your activity when browsing Facebook, various page suggestions and advertisements are displayed on the right side of the page. In not so many words—it’s personalized advertising. Being presented with random, constant advertisements becomes like white noise to the eyes after browsing for a bit.  It is the selectivity of Facebook’s ads that give the audience a tempting and unique ad experience.

Facebook app center
Photo courtesy of www.Inc.com

Facebook not only uses profiles, posts and interests to get to know users, but also gains information when smartphones or tablets choose to connect to Facebook within an application. A very popular example of this would be the top grossing game Candy Crush. Many people enjoy logging into Facebook to see if they can beat high scores of their friends. But, how many of these people take a second to think before linking up every app to a massive, moneymaking hub that analyzes personal and private information?

While creating user-friendly advertisements helped Facebook become more profitable, this innovation was really just the beginning of what has become its own business market within social networking.

When a user ‘likes’ a specific page on Facebook, a couple of things happen. First of all, the title and cover photo of the page are added to the user’s interests list shown on his/her profile. Secondly, the user’s name is added to the list of others who like the page.

new_facebook_ads_feature
Photo courtesy of Hubspot.com

The concept, though it may seem simplistic, is actually an elusive business tactic that’s beneficial for both pages on Facebook and the website overall. Just as anyone can create a profile, anyone can also create a page on Facebook for free. A free page is beneficial as users can still like the page, but without the advertising aid offered by Facebook, promoting on a large scale can be very difficult.

As soon as a user likes a page, Facebook’s virtual billboards immediately adapt the new addition with the advertising. The company’s strategy is, obviously, to provide advertisement that is more likely to make someone click because it is systematically aware of each user’s lifestyle and personality. With numerous payment plans and options for ad buying, Facebook provides other markets with the opportunity to reach their ideal target audiences with a user-friendly interface for all parties involved.

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