To Facebook or Not to Facebook

As the dirty little secrets of Facebook’s business model keep coming, I find myself in the midst of my weekly struggle over whether or not I should leave Facebook. I left Facebook a few years ago, only to return a few years later. Now I think I may have made a mistake. But I go back and forth, as I said, on an almost weekly basis. There are two main reasons for this back and forth.
First, I find that Facebook is exhausting. The way I use social media is draining, although it’s mostly good fun. It’s almost like having a second or third job on top of your regular duties. It’s somewhere between work and play, and quite often it feels more like work. The funny thing is that Facebook was made for people like me: socially awkward loners who nevertheless like to stay in touch with others. Like many introverts, I find social occasions exhausting. Computerized interaction is easier, but on the other hand I’m able to go on more intense binges when the interaction is computer-assisted. This leads to social exhaustion not unlike the one I feel after a cocktail party. This problem is easily fixed just by using Facebook less.Facebook_on_Nasdaq

Secondly, we keep hearing awful things about the way Facebook handles its customers’ data. I think by now everyone has accepted that the customers’ data is Facebook’s actual product. It’s sold to advertisers and third parties for a profit. You are a product for Facebook. many of us seem to be okay with this, because we get a nice little toy to play with in exchange for our data. Others, myself included, feel slightly violated. It’s nothing serious, I’m sure, but I do feel it gnawing at me every day. It’s disturbing. It’s like living in a soft dystopian nightmare with funny animal videos. I can block it out most of the time, but it’s there. This too, can be exhausting. Unlike social exhaustion, however, I don’t really know how to deal with it.
Not too long ago, a philosopher wrote an article for the New York Times where he asked whether it is our duty to leave Facebook or not. He came to the conclusion that unless Facebook is doing harm willfully, he would not think it necessary to leave. I wonder if his opinion has changed after hearing the latest news. I’m pretty sure people who work at Facebook are not bad people, but their network is so vast that they cannot have full control of it in any meaningful way. That’s kind of the point of the entire enterprise, too: to provide a platform where the users create the content. Hence the philosopher’s question.
I predict that Facebook will soon be subjected to all kinds of new regulations, both self-imposed and external, and it will become entangled in these rules and restrictions. We will applaud the regulations at first, then find them too restricting and confusing, and finally move on to the next toy. Once we know how Facebook’s algorithm works and the rules are set, we will grow bored of it. We are all curious monkeys and while our curiosity often leads to trouble, in this case it may be our saving grace as well.

0 Responses to “To Facebook or Not to Facebook”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: