Tag: Facebook

How do we feel about social media these days?

“Distracted from distraction by distraction” 
― T.S. Eliot

A genuine question, kittens. I ask because Katarina and I had a delightful hour and a half long conversation on the topic the other day and I have not been able to get the conversation out of my head. I joked about it when I mused what I’d like to give up in 2018 because I didn’t quite mean it…but didn’t quite not mean it either.

Last year I started logging out of Facebook for extended periods of time. I don’t really enjoy it as a platform and haven’t for years, but I’ve kept it because it’s an easy way for people all over the world to keep in touch with me. A military brat and an expat, my friends and acquaintances are scattered across the globe and I justify keeping my Facebook account to make it easy to connect with them…but maybe I need to be more honest about the fact that most of the friends I keep in touch with regularly, I keep in touch with through other means. My best friends and I talk, text and email weekly. I have a lively correspondent base and Facebook isn’t how I keep in touch with them. I’m holding on to it for a purpose that I don’t actually use in real life. My logic is flawed.

Less personally, I don’t really like Facebook anymore. My feed is a constant stream of advertisements and wannabe viral videos and memes. For a long while I watched and uptick in people sharing content I didn’t like or agree with (this was a few years ago) so I started culling my list of “friends” until it actually represented friends. From 2014-2106 the content turned political and the tone turn downright vicious so I went through another culling period and started muting people whose views troubled or angered me.

In other words, I became part of the problem so routinely ascribed to Facebook these days: that it shows us content we already agree or align with, reinforcing our views.

I’m now trying actively to correct this by widening how I consume media, and Facebook is not the way I do that. I’ve subscribed to newspapers that I previously enjoyed mostly for free (got to support journalism now more than ever), and I make a deliberate effort to read commentators and platforms or publications that represent different views than me. I might not share them as much because, hey: my blog, my rules, but I do read them.

Instagram is a platform I still enjoy, even though it’s owned by Facebook and I haven’t liked a lot of the changes that have been made to it as a platform (a non-chronological feed for one thing). But it’s a place where I find beautiful images and interesting people and so it’s still a fun thing for me. I follow friends, a lot of beauty and style editors and writers, vintage sellers, some bloggers who I either know or have interacted with in some way over the years, and a few theme feeds that give me a much needed daily dose of pretty.

Twitter I’m torn over. I didn’t really use Twitter all that regularly until the 2016 campaign and now I feel a bit like a junkie who needs it to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I subscribe mostly to journalists, editors, writers, bloggers, and podcasters whose content I enjoy, and politicians whose views are relevant to mine or to my life. But let’s be honest, as a whole, Twitter is a hilariously overly-dramatic place. If you acknowledge it and don’t believe everything you read, you can enjoy the ride. But if, like me, you’re a person who tends to take a lot of things very (or too) seriously, it will convince you that the world is on the brink of self-destruction or that people are mostly garbage if you give it too much of your time. It’s not a platform that encourages good mental health or stress management.

As for all the other social media platforms, I’m either barely or not at all active on them. Bad blogger!

I’m not sure what this thinking will coalesce into but it’s an idea I can’t really get out of my head. Katarina and I had a lively discussion about whether social media will stay as relevant or how it may change in coming years. I don’t think you can write it off entirely, especially given the current political landscape of the world, but it’s been interesting to watch how it’s been leveraged or monetized past the point of authenticity for so many people. We also chatted about blogging and how that medium has changed over the past decade, but that’s another rambling post altogether!

I think I’m going to keep off of Facebook for as long as I can avoid logging in. Other platforms I’m still up in the air about. How about you guys, how do you use social media and how has your use changed over recent year? Is it weird I’m thinking about this so much, or do you guys ponder this stuff to? Lend me your thoughts!

In Which C. Debates the Wisdom of Copying Sav’s Awesomness

“You can watch this while I find someone who will perform a marriage ceremony between a crazed fan and a celebrity teen hostage. To the Internet!”
– The Fairly Odd Parents

Savvy just did something which, considered in light of current societal attitudes and the fact that a movie title The Social Network was just released, is quite brave.  She deleted her Facebook.  Apparently it took hours of dogged, single-minded determination and clicking, but she did it.

 

"Honestly, C., had you no life at all?!" "I'm SORRY!"

 

I confess, I’ve toyed with the idea myself.  Truthfully, the hours I’ve spent on that ridiculous thing will shame me when we’re all dead and get to watch the Big Movie of our lives.

However, I have a qualm.  Surprisingly I do use Facebook for its original intent: to keep track of people.  Having trucked over the world, keeping in touch with people can be a chore.  It’s the same reason why I’ve never changed my Hotmail address: I got it when I was 12 or 13 and across the years have given it out to friends/contacts/employers in multiple countries.  It’s the only way I keep in touch with a whole army of correspondents, I couldn’t do something so stupid as to change it simply because Gmail is en vogue (yes, yes, and better, yes I heard you).

Frankly, though, as the years have gone by, I’ve winnowed down my own social network quite a bit.  Scarlett, Peregrine, Jane, and Venice are far off, but I still communicate with them regularly.  Margot, Marie, Tink, and Angel, though busy, are still nearby.  The majority of people I see everyday… I see everyday: Hennessy, Wise, Susie, Sav, and Vodka, as well as the traffic clerks.  I regularly bump into Sadie on campus and we often get together with my whole godfamily to play, usually at least once a month.  And now that my parents live on the same continent as I do, keeping in touch with them has never been easier.

So…what do I really use Facebook for?

Honestly, the occasional glimpse into long gone friends’ lives (once every six months), to keep in touch with Gio as he heads off into his first year of adventure at university (daily), and to play stupid games (also daily, shamefully). In other words, with very few exceptions, nothing really valuable.

I don’t know if I have the moral fortitude to completely go cold turkey as the indomitable Sav did…but I am thinking that I really need to start weaning myself off it.

 

And how many of these behaviors/tendencies have you displayed recently?

 

Make your voices heard, minions!  Have you ever rethought your relationship with your techie relationships?  How many people would simply vanish from your life if you ditched Facebook, Twitter, and whatever bastard cousin of theirs has popped up recently?  And would you miss these people if they melted away?  How much of your life would disappear, and how much of it would you get back if you tuned out?  Weigh in.

From the Frying Dumb Into the Stupid

“De mal en pire.”
– French saying

Dear World At Large,

Allow me to disabuse you of a seemingly common notion: the internet is not anonymous.  No really, it’s not.  Yes, there are steps you can take to protect your identity and privacy, but anyone who really wants to figure out who is posting those trollish comments at the bottom of a youtube video probably can.

From a police perspective, this anonymity myth is particularly funny.  We’ve had instances with theft that we’ve traced from Craiglist, and abuse of animal carcasses (not as kinky as it sounds) that we’ve tracked from Facebook. The bottom line is, if you do something wrong and then publish photos, accounts, or step-by-step instructions somewhere online, it is really easy to find you and punish you.

So, when a kid shared on Twitter that he was jumping curbs in his car to park in visitor and handicapped parking, it was the work of a mere moment to look up his name on the campus directory, see what car he drove, and slap a ticket on it.  And when he came in huffing and puffing about why he’d got a ticket because “he hadn’t done anything wrong,” it was immensely satisfying to tilt a computer screen at him to display his own confession, broadcast for all creation to see, and watch him turn 12 shades of red.

Truth is, dear World At Large, if you really are so silly as to tell everyone what you’ve done and where you are, do expect someone to show up and hold you accountable.  Because someone probably will.  And if you are really so narcissistic that you have to share every detail of your life, even your petty criminality with us, you have much larger issues to deal with.

Yours with love,
C.

Is There a Doctor In The (Sorority) House?!

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”
– Voltaire

I will publicly  scorn those who play Farmville and whatever the latest Vampire obsessed game is on Facebook, but I am far more guilty than they.  For I, it must be confessed, play…Sorority Life.

(Yes, yes.  Shame.  Plenty of shame.  Let’s move on, shall we?)

However I think that, despite the obligatory shame spiral, I’m still allowed to be a bit snobbish about the fact that I in no way confuse Facebook and its games with real life.

For example yesterday, after I got home and checked my email, I logged into Facebook and Sorority Life, and sitting pretty at the top of the message board was: “My kid is sick!  Is there an R(egistered) N(urse) on the feed?!”

Asclepius facepalms. As does Hippocrates and Galen. Major, major fail.