Facebook—Like It, Hate It– Depends On The Day

If I really think about Zuckerberg, his politics, the false pretense of privacy and the selling of my personal information to the highest bidder then yes, I hate it. Just knowing these things alone, isn’t that reason enough to just close the account? On the surface, one would think. But every time I am about to pull the trigger, I don’t. I look it right in the eye and I’m the one that blinks. Why? Even when I know the apps algorithms limit who and what I see, I still turn the damn thing on. Is it an addiction? Not really, I’m not using it to feel better or to knowingly numb myself. Is it just habit? Now there is some truth to that. Every morning it’s get up, make the coffee, feed the dogs, open all the windows, turn on NPR, scan instagram, the e-mails, and see if there is a number attached to the Messenger icon or that Facebook bell. Those little white emblems embossed on a field of red serve as the modern version of a blinking light on a bygone answering machine. One out of ten may actually be from a “Friend.” Sadly, the majority just come from the “News Feed,” social media’s version of “Robocalls.”

Now, I must admit, I normally like the News Feed. It is usually full of postings from the “Pages,” “Groups,” publications, alma maters, musicians and teams that I have chosen to follow. Of course, there is the full array of products and services that have randomly been selected just for me. Hallelujah, Mavi jeans, Classic “Ts,” Untuckit shirts, Merrell hiking boots and my very own family tree from Ancestry.com are all on sale!  With free delivery and a 20% off coupon, it’s time to open that PayPal account. 

Still, there is that other part of Facebook that just plain gives me apoplexy. It’s about my own Friends. What is it with them anyway? Most never reach out, never respond, never communicate, not one iota. Are they dead, mad, too busy, or just don’t give a shit? Now, I’m fully aware that most people’s lives do not revolve around Facebook, let alone me. Thank God. But wasn’t this media supposed to provide a conduit, an alternative means of staying connected with one another? Isn’t that what Facebook was originally all about? If not, then what’s the point; pics of what I did last summer?

Now, it could just be, well, me and mine. Maybe, many of my so-called “Friends” are not, and probably never were, friends at all. I’m just guessing, but it’s more than likely they were just acquaintances to begin with. I suspect that time and distance can weaken even the strongest bonds. Out of sight, out of mind. Still, there are others that prefer anonymity, a kind of social media voyeurism. They never engage. They are infrequent observers at best. After all, anything else requires some effort. At times, even direct contact through Messenger yields few responses. Some of my own outreach efforts end up in the abyss. 

Unfortunately, there is one more deterrent. Given the world we live in, I’ve dared, and only on occasion, to post my own political opinions. Due to my professional background and training, this is something one does not do. As such, the super majority of what I have posted is not political, and if so, certainly not of my own creation. They are meant to encourage contemplation not solicitation. Yet like anyone else, and certainly from the vantage point of retirement, I now have the freedom to voice my own thoughts on subjects that were heretofore, off limits. When my viewpoint has differed from the closely held cognitive biases of a few, well, let’s just say that an adult conversation has gone out the window. Name calling,  labeling, and an array accusatory language based on ignorant self-righteous indignation has come from a few of my former so-called friends. Still others have basically cut off communication. I admit, I’ve done the same. It’s disappointing to say the least. I’ve always tried to be inclusive and find the middle ground. But at times this is just unachievable. These recent experiences, combined with the companies built-in incursions, have made Facebook almost untenable. Maybe there is some truth to the old adage: “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

However, there is an upside. Since cutting out a large swath of the heard, I have found a cadre of new friends, those that I have been blessed with in just the last three to four years. Like the majority of what’s left of my standing contacts, they are experienced in life, less judgmental and are willing to engage in meaningful conversation. They are educated and have taken the time to acquire new knowledge, to be teachers as well as students. They’re involved in making this world a better place. They clearly have made mine better. For many of us, Facebook is a main source of communicating, staying connected.

So for today, I’ll just hit “Like” and delay posting: “The Content on Facebook is No Longer Relevant.” Besides, the platform makes it about as difficult as possible when it comes to closing an account. Oh well, I’ll wait and see how I feel tomorrow.

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