Here's the Pet Shop Boys (love me some 80s!) with a gentle reminder to entice our social media obsessed minds to chill. Full disclaimer: I'm not on Facebook. I'd rather use social media as a tool and that's why for me twitter is a news feed (remember when google had that?) rather than a social network. And I have refused to partake in other social media experiments, like taking pictures of my daily minutiae and sending snippets of my life to dozens of people I don't know.
Oh, but I WAS on facebook. Back when I was in college, it was the thing to do. The new thing. That was only open to people with a .edu email address. It was the shit. With college info and sports and silly conversations. It basically crushed MySpace and LiveJournal in one swift blow. It was a cute little secret, too. And then they 'opened' it. Because money talks and facebook was the one social network leading the conversation. And everything went to hell. I cancelled that account many, many years ago. When they let the high school kids in. Then came their parents. And suddenly even your grandma was on facebook. And now it's a total mess. Misinformation, bullying, personal information theft. And a tool for totalitarians. And in case you didn't know, it's going to get worse. Don't believe me?
Just read this quote:
Just picture a reasonably proximate scenario: It’s the winter of 2020, and Donald Trump—having lost reelection by a margin closer than expected—is in full attack mode, whipping up stories of runaway voter fraud. Local protest groups coalesce around Facebook posts assailing liberals, murderous “illegals,” feminists. (This is basically what happened in France last year with the “anger groups” that birthed the yellow vest protests.) Pizzagate-style conspiracy theories race through these groups, inflaming their more extreme members. Add a population that is, unlike those of France and Nigeria, armed to the teeth, and the picture gets pretty dark.HOWFACEBOOKSCREWEDUSALL
In other words, though it has already facilitated the election of a demagogue committed to stoking racial prejudice, enriched his family, and sold out America’s national interest, social media may not yet have shown us the worst it can do to a divided society. And if we don’t get a handle on the power of the platforms, we could see worse play out sooner than we think.
Facebook is a cesspool of misinformation, Russian trolls and ignorant people make the perfect storm for really bad things to happen. Just look at the white house. I'm glad I am not part of it. I don't miss talking to some members of my family, that's for sure. I don't want to talk to that high school classmate who was a dick. If I'm not friends with them now, there's no reason for me to be their friend now that they're on facebook. And the platform makes it seem like we WANT to be their 'friends'. Oh, you thought you had any agency when you sign up there? Oh, poor dear.
I don't want to tell an online platform my personal information. Where I am, what I am eating, who I am seeing. Geolocation and tags tell facebook where you are and what you are doing. You have listed most of your family there. It knows your mom's maiden name. It knows your birthday. It knows your great great aunt died last month. It knows where you went to school and where you work. It knows you're on vacation and where. It know more about yourself than your actual friends.
Do we really need to tell everybody what we do during every minute of the day? Do we really need to know what everybody is doing every minute of the day? Do we really need their 'likes' and comments? Do we really need to be on the phone constantly? Do we?
I say we don't. So fuck facebook and its clones. I'd rather talk to ten people I care about in person. I'd rather have a Polaroid camera to keep my memories to myself or share it with the people I care about. I'd rather read a newspaper or the political commentary of somebody who blogs here and is a person I think is smart and who can engage with me in a good discussion on the current situation of the country than to belong to a social network I don't trust.
So if you are on facebook or any other social network, disconnect yourself. For a whole day. You'll see how it feels like for the rest of us. Go ahead, try it.