I’m done with Facebook, and I read a newspaper.

September 30, 2015

It’s been a long time.

However, I have quit Facebook once and for all, and when I think of things I want to write, I think that I’ll be here again.  Fact is, a blog is infinitely superior to the rotting carcass that is Facebook. I realized that being on Facebook was not only annoying, but that it actually makes me feel bad, and that one needs to get a little distance from it before realizing what a horrible things it is (and I choose the word “horrible” quite deliberately).

FB is, in short, a horrible platform for communication. I have had the worst experiences there, and I have no desire to repeat them.  Why is it horrible? I’ll tell you:

  1.  Facebook is just an internet bulletin board, nothing more, nothing less.  Yes, you can post pictures on it, but really, you’ve been able to do that on forums forever.  The thing that is different is the fiction that Facebook is somehow different.  Other people on the FB forum are called “your friends”, whereas people on other types of forums are just the other people on that forum.  How is that different? In reality, it’s not different at all, except that those people are described using a different word.  The effect of that different word, however, is where designing a “social network” with the brain of a sociopath comes into play.  People seem to become confused and start to think that FB friends are just like real friends and, of course, many of them aren’t friends at all, or I don’t even know them.  Try “unfriending” one of these strangers, however, and you will see how evil this platform is.  All of a sudden, a stranger on an internet forum is treating you as though you’re breaking up an intense, close relationship.  When I “de-activated my account”, I was presented with a series of pictures of people who were “going to miss me”.  Some of these people are family members, some of them have offices right next to me, some of them I see every day … these people will not “miss me” … they might miss the things that I type on Facebook, but I have a newsflash … me, the person, the actual living being is still right here.  This idea that somehow logging out of Facebook causes personal relationships to crumble is absurd … in fact, it might help those relationships. These are just two of a huge number of examples of how manipulative Facebook can be.
  2. Authority on Facebook is a mess.  By that I mean that every ten seconds on Facebook, someone on my “feed” declares themselves to be an expert on something … very frequently something that they know absolutely nothing about. They then “tell me the facts” that they have made up or heard on some ridiculous website, or been told by an idiot.  Problem is, there is no actual debate on FB.  I have found repeatedly that offering facts in the face of complete bullshit on FB is somehow a horrible thing to do … if someone says on FB (as they often do) that Barack Obama is a Muslim, the fact that he is most definitely not a Muslim is completely irrelevant to the “discussion”.  In fact, the person who has spouted this garbage as though they “know” something will likely be offended that I even have a contrary opinion on the matter.  The evidence that I present will have zero weight, and as someone did recently, they might say something like “well, I got 25 “likes” when I said that … how many “likes” did you get?”  In short, I really have no interest in how many “likes” you got … the facts are not susceptible to a vote.
  3. Of course, since FB was created by a sociopath, there are only “likes”, not dislikes.  You can only approve.  I suspect that this is a direct result of how Mark Zuckerberg sees the world.  He says things, and people say “yeah Mark!” but never “I disagree with Mark”.  While this may be a lovely way to make it seem as though one is always correct, it’s also completely messed-up. So, you could have 1000 likes on a post, but if it’s complete BS, a large number of likes does not change the fact that it is still BS.  So, on FB it seems that all statements are equally true, and somehow when other people “like” your statement (true or not), it develops a certain level of authority based on the fact that equally clueless people agree with you.  The idea that a lot of clueless people applauding each other’s cluelessness somehow adds up to worthwhile info is downright bizarre and, to me, it’s depressing to watch. And, since I like to call people on BS, I get in a lot of trouble in the happy land where every ridiculous statement is as true as any other, and reality is not a factor.
  4. I suppose that’s my next complaint … I’m still talking about authority I suppose.  There was one thread on FB that really illustrated this complaint well.  Someone was discussing university governance (in the context of college basketball … nobody would ever discuss anything serious on FB), and they were spouting complete nonsense as though they knew what they were talking about.  I corrected them.  Needless to say, the 12 year old on the other end then asked “who made you an expert”?  In a very strange case for Facebook, I told them that I actually am an expert on this topic … I said, and this may never have happened on FB before or since … “I know more about this topic than you do … what you have said is pure speculation, and what I say is true”.  Needless to say, the fact that I had actual knowledge in this situation didn’t matter in the slightest.  Of course, this statement if also seen to be rude on Facebook, or inappropriate , or against the rules.  I’m not sure what it is, but I do find it very strange that people declare themselves experts constantly on topics they know nothing about, but if an actual expert claims to have expertise, that’s considered horrible behaviour. That, to me, defines a bizarre environment.
  5. When I left Facebook I thought to myself “I guess that I’ll have to visit websites again if I want to find the good stuff.  I immediately realized, however, that nothing had changed.  Facebook has very little content of it’s own.  All of the “content” is just links to websites that I wind up visiting anyway.  I will not have as many suggested places to go without Facebook, but so far I don’t seem to be missing a thing.  In fact, because now I cruise around looking for stuff instead of having it suggested to me constantly, I think that I may be finding more stuff that interests me. I had wondered whatever happened to “surfing the web” and I think that the answer might be that I’ve been sitting around passively having stuff handed to me for quite a while … I think that I’m better off finding it myself.
  6. I’m just happier.  Every time I posted something on Facebook I had to constantly think about what the reaction would be … my audience was this group of “friends” but in reality it was quite a varied crew, and worse, the friends of friends would be chiming in.  This was quite often where the “Obama is a Muslim”, or “climate change is a liberal hoax” types would suddenly appear.  I quite sincerely do not need these people in my life, and have no interest in listening to their replies, or spending a lot of time trying to convince them of the truth of and obvious fact.  I’m not very good at “suffering fools”.
  7. I read a newspaper again, and realized what I’d been missing.  The newspaper is edited, and they have an obligation to say things that they have verified to at least be kind of true.  This was a little startling when I picked up a newspaper again.  Smart people were writing things that seemed to actually be verified.  I forgot how much I valued that.

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