My life as a Facebook admin
with coked-up cats and junkie Jesus
Too many cats online, you say? Well, if there’s anyone to blame, perhaps it’s me. I’m an admin for a rapidly growing page and community called
Cats on Cocaine.
I grew up in a world where social media remained purely social. Like everyone else on Myspace, Tom was my first “friend” and Xanga was the leading social blogging platform (at least among Asians). During high school, the closest thing to a “news feed” was cafeteria gossip, shitty “whisper-down-the-lane,” and our fancy Razr flip phones. Today’s feed is a loud social megaphone offering us a buffet of information and entertainment, all conveniently available on the front page of Facebook: social news, world news, Vines, I Fucking Love Science, foodporn, George Takei, and, of course, cats.
About a year and a half ago I got my first cat, Louis the Pious. Louis was remarkably clumsy for a cat. He always had a flea, sported unusually large ears, and had a shape that more resembled that of a kangaroo than that of a kitten. His awkwardness inspired me to create his alter ego: an offensive and abrasive online cat who gave zero shits about you or anyone else’s opinion. I gave him a Facebook profile and had him comment offensively on cat-related topics.
About three months later, at the height of the profile’s activity, Louis had over a thousand followers in the New Orleans area and had been banned from five or so pages. I’d throw house parties and friends of friends would see Louis and say “Oh my god, I’m friends with that cat on Facebook!” Sadly, six months later my roommate let him out of the house accidentally, and he was never seen again. Despite days of looking and waiting, Louis the Pious never came back.
A cat-shaped hole in my heart
My grief led me to retire his online identity. I filled my time solemnly watching celebrity cat videos. I was particularly obsessed with Maru, the famous box-jumping Scottish Fold in Japan, and Henri the pessimistic “chat-noir.” When it took me more than five minutes to search YouTube for a cat video I hadn’t already seen, I knew I had to find another outlet.
To fill the cat-shaped hole Louis left in my heart, I found Cats on Cocaine: a raunchy and offensive humor page that currently boasts over 136k likes, and provides provocative content to cat lovers. It was the perfect homage to Louis the Pious. In the page’s earlier days (around 30,000 likes), creator and fellow content curator David Faulkner posted a status looking for more administrators. I took this opportunity to put myself up for consideration. Lo and behold, 77,000+ likes later, here we are, with an organic reach of over 1.6+ million and our CocaineKitties Facebook group over 17,000+ strong.
Butts and boobs
Despite the beautiful and endless flow of cats that the page provided me, life as an admin—like any other job—came with its own trials and tribulations. Because of the regularly "offensive" nature of our content we often have posts get blocked (which is basically getting cockblocked from publishing posts for 30 days), compliments of Facebook.
For example, butts and boobs. Despite the fact that said parts may be covered and completely within nudity standards, we’ve found that if a pair of butt cheeks or boobies exceeded over 30% of the area of a picture, then our posts tend to have a much higher rate of getting reported.
Many times, we find ourselves reported and blocked even if our content fits within Facebook’s community guidelines, regardless of nudity. The fact of the matter is, the more potentially offensive the content is, the more “volatile” a post becomes, raising its chances of being reported.
Butts and boobs are only one risk factor when it comes to being reported. Other factors such as cursing, politics, race, disability and, of course, religion increase volatility. This is when curating content can become tricky. There seems to be a high correlation between post volatility and overall post reach/engagement. This risk/reward factor is clearly demonstrated by the analytics: the more offensive the post is, the better numbers it produces.
YouTube pays admins for viewership from already established Facebook fan bases through affiliates in Microsoft and Google AdSense. If a cat-related video is embedded from YouTube and not Facebook, technically it's YouTube's content being distributed via Facebook, but through our partnership with Google we can still get some cash for getting the video to our audience. How much a page makes depends on many factors, including the number of likes, reach, where content is created, how consistently content is produced, outside sponsors etc. If a cat video from YouTube gets viewed and shared through our community, that can mean a lot of potential dough for us. While the individual pay for admins can range from zilch to a million+$, my personal pay tends to fluctuate between $200-$2000 a month, depending on our traffic. It tends to hover towards the lower end of that scale though.
If you rely on Facebook posts as a part of your income, then 30 days is a long time to not post. Being constantly subject to these long suspensions can have negative consequences on a page’s numbers, and, as a result, can cause a drop in viewership. Having multiple admins per page helps keep posts consistent in the absence of a page’s creator. At Cats on Cocaine, there are four total admins, all in different time zones. This way, if David gets blocked, we “adminions” (as he so lovingly likes to call us) can go on sharing cat humor to our fans while he is essentially forced to sit in a Facebook-induced timeout.
For the love of the internet
Of course, not all pages are as popular as Cats on Cocaine. Most pages don’t make any money at all. Personally, I am an admin for a total of 11 pages. Some I professionally run for clients or companies, others I manage just for fun. My favorites pages are the ones I run for shits n’ giggles.
Information Fix (currently just shy of 400 likes) is where I curate all the interesting Wiki articles I find. It's a page I made after realizing that I had way too many tabs open for Wikipedia articles. Not wanting to close any of them out before reading them, I decided to dump them on a Facebook page where I could keep them for my own reference while being able to share them to the public. Tacky Jesus is my second favorite brainchild. This page is a religious humor page which I run with my best friend Logan. Its offensiveness rivals that of Cats on Cocaine, and this fact makes me proud.
Due to our small numbers (just over 100) the provocative content only gets reported a couple times a month, depending on the frequency of our posts. Pages like this can be difficult to grow,, simply because they are limited by their own controversy. Unlike "Tacky Jesus," religion is not always the most popular vehicle for humor. It’s easy to get away with a Photoshopped picture of a cat on drugs. Try getting likes on a picture of Jesus on drugs. No matter how funny you may think it is, it is not that easy.
↑ A post from Tacky Jesus, one of the 11 pages that the author admins for.
Although I have an equivalent passion for these pages, their numbers simply don’t compete with "Cats on Cocaine," and, therefore, don’t command as much of my attention. I still enjoy every post that I schedule into them. There’s something oddly therapeutic about curating content. The process of finding appropriate content for each page is as much a hobby as it is a duty.
Nothing is sacred
Although the landscape of social media is constantly in a state of erosion and development, I love witnessing its anthropological evolution. Every Facebook page is a different type of lens in the large kaleidoscope of the internet. Each colorful facet is created with very different and very odd subject matter. Being an admin only adds to the vividness of an individual lens's unique charm.
In Cats on Cocaine, I’ve discovered that nothing is sacred and nothing is arbitrary. Everything from criminal sexual deviancy to vaginal weight lifting is interesting to someone. No topic on the internet is truly or inherently “out-of-bounds". Everything is as eligible for praise as it is for ruin. The most banal things can be made funny; take two completely random nouns and they can be joined together with the glue of humor. Sarcasm can be the sandwich meat between two seemingly irrelevant pieces of bread. Whether it’s Nihilistic Quotes Accompanied by Animals in People Clothes (yes, this is a Facebook page that actually exists) or Cats on Cocaine, both a laugh and a deeply offended viewer can be discovered in anything, which for me, makes life as an admin priceless.