It is a cloudy, cold day here in Batavia. The Depot Pond is looking pretty bleak. It’s November and it is supposed to look like this.
I am so torn about social media. I permanently deleted my Twitter account a few weeks ago. I don’t miss it at all. I never did get much out of it. Now it looks like Musk is going to drive it into the ground faster than most thought.
I am still on Facebook and I’m torn. I like seeing what friends post. I like the groups I am part of. Occasionally some random post will show up that is politically ugly, but that should slow down dramatically now that the midterm elections are over.
But I cannot shake the feeling that social media is bad for both me individually and for society in general. It can be a huge time-waster. I catch myself scrolling for far too long, usually as I procrastinate about something.
I know I’m the product, not the consumer. Facebook has programmed the platform to hold our attention for as long as possible. They do this to give the ads as much exposure as possible. I watched 60 Minutes last week (11/6/2022) and one of the segments was an interview with Tristan Harris (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_Harris) . He’s a former Google employee. He told 60 Minutes that Facebook (all social media) intentionally promotes angry, mean and divisive posts because they tend to go viral much faster and garner more likes and shares than nice posts. Our anger means more money for Facebook.
Do I want to be part of that? Does my use of Facebook mean that I’m part of the problem? Am I at least condoning it by remaining on that platform?
I know that when I leave it’s not going to matter. No individual is going to make Facebook change its ways. But if enough of us leave, maybe they will take notice.
Isn’t Blogger also social media? It is not. There are a couple of reasons. First, there is no advertising. I could add advertising to my blog, but why do that? Even if my writing were compelling enough to attract lots of views, I don’t want to use my readers the same way Facebook and Twitter do. Secondly, and perhaps more important, there is no black-box algorithm putting my drivel in front of you. You have to go to my site on purpose. There are no psychology PHDs working on my behalf to get you to read these posts. There is no manipulation going on here. Either I write something that entertains or informs to get readers or no one shows up here to read.
I’ve deactivated my account many times over the past few years, but the next time I’m deleting my account – not to return. If you want to stay in touch, I’ll be posting stuff here occasionally or you can contact me at kevinm56 at gmail dot com.