Last week, I deleted my Facebook account. This has been a long time coming. I’m not exactly sure why I kept it, tell you the truth. Or maybe I’m a little embarrassed. I’d curtailed my use quite a bit, after ramping it up in the face of the 2016 election and my, perhaps overgenerous, thought that even if there was fake news on FB, someone had to be there to counter it.
Suppose I’m thinking too much of myself to think I could affect such change. But after hearing the latest FB fuck up, I was ready to quit. None of the excuses I had made for myself could stand up to what social media was:
- Someone has to counter the political fake news BS you see on this site. By leaving, you’re allowing the wrongness to be amplified.
2. I have to stay in tune with the times and can’t run away from technology like the older man I am becoming.
3. To keep in touch with friends or with activists. FB is a good way to do so.
It’s perhaps a self-incriminating that I did not react this way when it came out that FB was actively doing harm in the world, but there you have it. I think I had completely bought the idea that social media itself was fine but the apes that we were made it worse.
Perhaps this played into my weakness to want to pardon something as popular as FB. After all the claim that a movie told us everything we needed to know about Mark is a little disingenuous, and seemed like little more than hating someone who came up with a good idea. And such a focus in the movie makes it seem like people are making anything up to taint the company.
But just because a movie doesn’t focus on the right things doesn’t make the person being slandered some saint or even an amoral billionaire looking for extra clicks and some extra cash.
I’m now of the belief that the people up top in these social media sites are part of the problem and are fine with amplifying the worst in humanity. Furthermore any claim to want to better humanity should be met with utmost scorn, if not outright hostility.
It cannot be true.
And even if you claim we’ll never know what’s in the hearts of these people, that maybe they’re not evil (like this person who worked for them) does it matter if they know what their actions lead to and don’t change?
So I quit and I should say I’m happier by the second, even if I do wonder what some people are up to. Access to that steady drip of the zeitgeist (or something like it) was not worth it. * I recommend you do it.
- This is not the most extreme thing in the world and, IMO, is close to the least one can do.
Edit 27JAN2019: I know edits aren’t the way to add views on Medium, but I want this piece to stand on it’s own while also taking into account the information that I learn post initial piece.
To that end, read this piece on digital minimalism. It’s worth a look with some points about how to detox yourself from social media. In other words, leave it for a month (the things you don’t absolutely need; so you’re going to keep your email to reach out to your boss) and see if you actually need social media.
What was especially troubling is the increase in self-harm amongst (female) teens as hockey-stick spiked with the latest generation and means we must think about this as a public health issue.
Another point that’s brought up is that the email and comment threads and social media that we have are not the best way of doing discussions and what have you. There will be a better way coming, I assure you of this.