Entry # 121: June 14th - Bye Bye F*c*book
I tried. I thought it would be necessary. Cool. Useful. Social. Networking.
What I got: "Jane Doe has found a chicken on her farm." "Help John Doe to water his farm." Someone else found out their nationality was "British" according to some phony and totally unscientific poll. Others posted inane observations about their daily events. Yet some others told everyone in their friends list (some of them rather extensive) where they were. If there was a burglar around, they would know where to go. Some tried to share news and academic articles. Some told all these things to just their close friends, some included business contacts as well. Looked tacky either way. You need Facebook to communicate with friends and family? You want your students or colleagues to see how much time you'd pour into online games?
Most were wasting their time grooming contacts called "friends" electronically. Arguments are exchanged in almost autistic manner. You can "poke" people without even sitting next to them: The illusion of friendship, the illusion of conversation, the illusion of closeness: Why?
Facebook is ideal for narcissists. They thrive. Others may want to find expression. Yet others like the idea to be able to maintain contacts. Yet the medium dominates the message, and the medium wants to play, to ignore your privacy, to dumb everything down, trivialize it, and monopolize communication in a format that is simply inhuman. It is on Facebook where people are amusing themselves to irrelevance, and may up hurting real friendships even.
I don't have time for that anymore. You don't create anything. It looks tacky and unprofessional. You are not at all connecting with anybody - it just looks that way. E-mail is more personal even.
Structures like Facebook and Myspace and the like also take away the possible creative energy that would have, could have, and still could, be poured into other things - like personal web sites.
Instead of trying to express true individuality, most people surrender themselves to a format that is out there simply to make money based on advertisement catered to its members who give up information about themselves. The hours poured into Facebook may turn out to be wasted; Geocities died, other portals have died or changed their terms of service since then. People should not tie the fates of their online existence to corporate interests. The corporation won't care. Facebook surely doesn't. 400 million users? Surely every single one matters...
Time is finite. If I want to waste mine, I will find something more pleasurable and productive to do. And maybe, if you want to stay in contact with real friends, you should write and talk to them individually instead of posting it on a rather anonymous bulletin board. It's simply not human.
Good night, and, well, you know.
June 14th, 2010
I was becoming weak. After two weeks, I felt the urge to reactivate my facebook account again. I thought I was missing out on something, maybe it was the voyeur in me that wanted to see what other ways my contacts had found to advertise themselves. I logged in, and my friends list was gone. No point in reactivating an empty account, I deactivated it again, and am at peace.
Yet this also created a new awareness: Who am I on facebook without my network of "friends"? This is the essence of the site. You are being defined, as in real life, by the people you know, by your personal little network. Facebook may be incomplete, as not all your friends or active contacts will be on facebook, and some of those facebook friends will only be distant acquaintances, some maybe just sharing some interests; and yet, it does map a part of who you are. This knowledge is out there for people to see. You may hide your friends list, but who wants to do that? In any case, facebook knows.
You may say you have nothing to hide. But why not? Even if you are not involved in criminal activity, even if you trust that you are safe from persecution, should a company whose interest is not in serving you, but in making money off your participation in their scheme, really know that much of you? Should not your identity be something sacred?
Facebook is not like a book, an article, or a web site. It is not a publication. It is a presence, a shadow, a reflection of yourself embedded in a network of your friends. This is deeply personal. You may think you can control this, but your control is limited. There is no mystique anymore, no way of living a private life, no way of dividing between yourself and the persona you may choose to be in any public outing. The author of a text is not the same as the person behind it, both may move apart. What I have written in the past does not necessarily define me anymore, and in any case, it was just something I wrote, not a reflection of myself. My friends list is different. It should be private, it should be sacred. Friends are indeed sacred, they are important, they are not something that becomes capital in a "social", or rather anti-social, network. And they should not be used to boost the profits of a private company.
July 19th, 2010
Well, I guess, I have to rejoin. Sadly, you cannot escape the matrix. But you may hide a bit. How about that.
August 31st, 2010
Finally, freedom from the f*c*book machine; I just realized I had been using it less and less, it has become obsolete. Withdrawal symptoms gone. Bye bye.
June 30th, 2011