Facebook: Follow me……or Else
I am leaving Facebook. I am serious. I have downloaded all the personal data “they” say they have on me for a dull day’s reading. I have personally notified all of those friends who I thought should or might want to know what happened to me as I take my leave. I am, after all, of an age where a sudden disappearance from view might mean something actually disastrous has occurred or I may have slipped into dementia and simply forgotten to keep up.
It is no small coincidence that as I made my preliminary proclamation of my leave-taking more than one friend pointed out that I had reached the dubious milestone of having exactly 666 friends.
Egad! Am I the Devil’s Pawn?
Or is it more that Mark Zuckerberg is the Devil himself and Facebook his Evil Spawn?
I rather think the latter even though I have not been in a church other than as a photo-taking tourist in half a century.
My reasons for leaving are many;
I have a book to write and Facebook is a time suck.
I have an actual life to live and Facebook is a time suck.
I have only so much room in my aging brain for advertising harassment and Facebook is a brain suck.
I have found all my long-lost friends and Facebook is……
As Emeril would say “BAM!”
I am diligently working at cleaning out my Facebook accounts, follows, inbox, etc. when I suddenly get a Messenger request from a name I do not immediately recognize. I am deleting people. I don’t want to make any more friends, seriously. And then I read the message.
It is from a woman I worked with many decades ago in the hotel industry, an old friend and colleague and one who I had actually looked for under various names and venues for years but not turned up. The Devil is always at work and is always in the details. Not only was she reaching out for herself but she also mentioned my executive assistant, a really dear woman who I have also been pondering and searching for all these decades. The really insidious and actually frightening thing is the synchronicity of the information that Facebook projects onto our lives……at JUST the right (?) moment. Not only are these old friends living less than two hours away but they are also having a reunion of our old crew……in ten days!
I feel like a trout swimming upstream, trying to reach my home-place to re-spawn my life when I am suddenly distracted by a shiny, glittering, lure held tightly by unseen hands from a world other than mine. If I bite we all know what will happen to this trout. Facebook has dined out on me for a decade now; I have succumbed to their glossy ads, their “genuine” appeals, and their gratuitous self-promotion. I was there when they reached 100,000 members; 500,000; their first million, billion. It was fun to belong, a family of frauds all playing with a new toy.
And then it started to go bad.
I had an old elementary school chum that appeared one day. We chatted briefly trying to re-connect but his posts became alarming; their rabid, racist, rhetoric actually frightening. I did my first un-friending.
And then things got really ugly. He knew I had un-friended him. He started emailing me, accusing me of attacking his wife online; (not even remotely true), threatening me; “I know where you live and I am armed.” Now let me just say we lived completely across the country from one another and the chances that this redneck shit would take the time and money to actually come after me were somewhat remote. But still.
I called the police. They acted immediately. They actually contacted the sheriff in his hometown and sent officers over to have a chat about life, liberty, and the nature of armed threats on any medium. They had copies of his words.
Facebook did nothing…..until I forwarded them the police reports and actions. They had the same information the police had, I had copied everyone I could but it was not until they saw a police action that they removed him from the rolls of Facebook “friends”.
As we watch the political and personal scandals drip, drip, drip out information into the media we know, with certainty now, that there is more to come. More lies, more deceit, more evasion, more criminal and amoral activity. It is released only when expedient or it is uncovered by good investigative journalism. (Subscribe to your local paper, please) The Facebook kerfuffle/scandal is no different; 50 million users information “compromised”; 87 million users; “almost all Facebook users”. Drip. Drip. Drip.
As the ancient Brits would say “Pox on Thee Devil Zuck” (Pox: an expression of intense disgust or aversion for someone)
I am leaving Facebook. It is a process. I will ignore the lures and the pleading and the induced guilt. In actuality, the vast majority of my friends and readers are applauding my action, wishing they could do the same. Yes, I worry about that vague “missing out” feeling that I had when I took a self-impose 6-month break several years ago. But like any addiction (or habit) it takes 3 weeks to form a new one. That is my goal. I will be more introspective; I will write more and post not at all. I will take back my life. I am certain that the Evil Empire will entreat me back over and over again. I will not return. This is my Brave New World.
And yes, I am going to that reunion.