The Daily Note (10.27)
As promised, some thoughts about Tarot and Facebook . . .
Many people I respect in the Tarot community are active on Facebook, so I want to say that at the start.
And I want to confess that I’ve never connected with Facebook, for a variety of reasons. I’ve tried a few times—including my recent attempt to set up a Facebook page for the Exploration Project. If you’ve never tried to set up an FB page, I’ll just let you know that it is a very frustrating process, in which you have to deal with a terrible interface and are constantly besieged with prompts to advertise, push, market, and otherwise contribute to Facebook’s mind-boggling profitability.
The same thing happens whenever you go back and try to post something—so I haven’t done it very often. And in any case, if your “brand” doesn’t already have access to a substantial audience, there’s almost no potential for attracting attention to a Facebook page without spending money and time to push, push, push.
Of course you could create a group to go with your page. But here’s snapshot of the “Tarot group” landscape on Facebook.
These Facebook groups have anywhere from a few hundred members to (in many cases) tens of thousands. But the largest are just places where some members offer “free” readings. Here’s an example:
Notice that number: 940 posts every day, in which (from what I can see) some people solicit other people to signal that they want some sort of “reading,” and then there are a series of replies that I can’t sort out. But none of them seem to have any substance.
At the other end of the spectrum are groups like “Tarot History,” where there are many interesting and informative exchanges. About 6K members, and a daily average of 5 posts, with varied numbers of replies. Very valuable—and if I could make myself spend time on Facebook I would love to join in!
Facebook has been in the news so much lately that there’s no need for me to talk about algorithms, politics, etc. Except to say that if “they” can’t/won’t deal with COVID misinformation, human trafficking, Holocaust denial, and “Stop the Steal” propaganda, it’s not likely that anything will ever be done about commercial fortune-telling.
“Free speech” + caveat emptor.
But I see some troubling things going on at Facebook under the banner of “Tarot.” For example: a Tarot fertility specialist.
I assume there is a real person behind this page, and they may be well-meaning. But it’s hard to tell. There are limited-time promotions, and “special” inducements, along with glowing thanks from those who have conceived after a reading. However . . . a “quick turnaround” reading costs extra—adding substantially to the $50 USD cost for a “full reading.”
On this person’s page, one prospective client writes (slightly paraphrased) “I can’t wait til I get paid so I can have a reading from you because it will give me such peace of mind—I’ve been struggling for years.”
This prognosticator also reaches out to the conceptionally challenged on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube—the whole panoply of social media platforms. Is it all okay? I can’t judge whether people benefit from this type of interaction. But I can offer my opinion that “Tarot” does not send out for-profit messages about fertility. Much less the personalities of yet-to-be-born children.
The net of all this (for me) is that “Tarot” has become social-media shorthand for fortune-telling. And that Facebook serves as a convenient (indeed, purpose-built) venue to attract and exploit vulnerable people by using the magic keyword “Tarot.”
I think this is a bad thing.
Thanks for reading. C