Wednesday, October 6, 2021

How can we miss Facebook if it won’t go away?

Barbara Kruger installation, Art Institute of Chicago

     Facebook went bye-bye Monday afternoon. The most surprising thing is what I felt when I realized it was gone: absolutely nothing. Not relief, not panic — certainly not the help-me-I-can’t-breathe panic when, say, your computer won’t boot up. Honestly, I didn’t notice, at first.
     But Twitter started ululating about Facebook disappearing. I wondered if anybody tried pounding the top of Facebook with the flat of their hand; that worked for my Kaypro. Mostly I was busy napping, having gotten my third COVID booster Sunday night. Running a 99.8 fever, the afternoon had already taken on that dreamy, home-from-school-with-Gumby quality.
     Then again, I’m one of those rare people paid to use Facebook, sort of. It’s part of my job, anyway. I still remember the meeting — remember meetings? — where we were informed that we would join Facebook and we would like it. Building our brands. In keeping with my habit of missing the significance of every single important technological shift of my entire life, Facebook struck me as ludicrous.
     “We’re a mass market publication,” I objected. “Why not make us go down to the street and strike up conversations with passersby while you’re at it?”
     I soon discovered how wrong I was. Facebook is a resource, a tool. Forbes asked me to write a story about Barbie mutilation (it’s a thing; academic papers are written about it) and I faced the challenge of how to go about researching the story. Hanging around schoolyards, trying to talk to actual girls about cutting up their Barbie dolls seemed a Bad Idea.
     Or ... I posted my interest on the subject line of Facebook, and was thrilled as potential subjects lined up. “Ooo, Facebook,” I thought. “It’s like having a legman.” Later, I was with the boys in Salt Lake City. We toured the Mormon Temple, exhausting my store of ideas of what to do there. Now what? I posted this query and someone on Facebook suggested we go to Ruth’s Diner. We did. Twice. Red trout and eggs and chocolate malt pudding. Yay, Facebook!

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  1. I am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All three can be bad, but it depends on who you follow. I don't get any bad stuff on any of them, except if you start reading comments. That is where most of the idiotic stuff is. Same with you tube. I have found many interesting things to read from being on social media. Podcasts as well. I would have been unaware of a lot of interesting things (at least of interest to me) if it wasn't for social media.

  2. One of the things I use Facebook for is selling (and sometimes buying) things on Marketplace. I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering lately, so it can be quite handy. That was my main concern when it was down! And today, it’s the same situation with NextDoor, giving me the same headache. (If you’re not on NextDoor, you should probably avoid it!)

  3. Never had it
    Never will
    Didn't miss anything!

  4. I've found has been very helpful over the years when visiting places I'd never been.

  5. I refused to drink the Zuck-Aid for at least fifteen years, if not more. I called it Farcebook. I only started guzzling after I got booted from Nextdoor, because I had too many suspensions. I wanted to stay in touch with neighborhood happenings. They banned me for a YEAR...probably for life, actually.

    Guess what? While Nextdoor is moderated by stick-up-the-wazoo San Francisco progressives, Farcebook is Dodge City. Even so, I still got booted from a couple of groups for pissing too many people off. Mods run some of the groups like little fiefdoms and kingdoms. The Duchy of Grand Fenwick, for all you movie-buff geezers out there.

    Now, after less than six months, I call it Fecesbook. If you like swimming in oceans of garbage and poop, it's the site for you. The asshats on FB will even make fun of you if you don't have what they consider to be "enough"...friends...a word that FB has twisted and polluted and has caused it to lose all of its true meaning.

    Trouble is, FB is as addictive as cigarettes. I smoked as a kid and continued for 32 years. I knew what it was doing to my lungs, but I did it anyway, because I couldn't stop. Fecesbook is the same way. I got hooked in a very short time.They know what they are doing to billions...only it's their brains that are getting fried, not their lungs.

    For God's sakes, if Big Tobacco can be regulated, and even broken up, so can FB. But Congress needs to stop bullshitting and pontificating about the pros and cons, or else they will be yammering about FB for the next fifteen years. Just DO it. Before it's too late.

    1. I got kicked off Next Door too. Best part was I told the truth about some people there & they certainly didn't like it.

    2. Ahhh if it weren't for that pesky First Amendment your analogy to Big Tobacco would be perfect. But even those legislators chomping at the bit to regulate know their task is incredibly difficult given the Constitution. Take a look at the cases where government tried to regulate video games.

  6. "But I can use it far less than I do. And so can you." I'll respond for myself and members of a different (smaller?) self-selective group, also mostly white men about your age, who regularly visit EGD: No, we can't, because we've never been part of it.

    "If Twitter is a loud bar, Facebook is a nursing home TV lounge." Not knowing all that much about either, that still seems like a swell line.

  7. Speaking as one who is somewhere in the vicinity of Grizz and Neil, age-wise, I have quietly marveled at Facebook, from a safe distance, for providing one thing that I never imagined I would ever see in my lifetime: the ability (or at least a really really good chance) to locate someone you have missed and not seen in decades. Their market penetration world-wide is such that there's a really good chance you can track down someone from your very very distant past, and at least get an idea of what they're doing, regardless of whether you actually want to make contact.

    Some years back I discreetly set up a Facebook account under a pseudonym with minimal personal details, hoping to enjoy some basic access without having friends or relatives notice me there. I was partly successful: no one whose page I recognized seemed to notice me, although Facebook itself showed a disturbing (though not surprising) ability to show me people it thought I should know, and in many cases, I did.

    I avoid Facebook in general, not because of any irrational privacy fears (I've been in IT for decades; the Privacy horse left the barn years ago) but because I don't need yet another time suck. I have eBay for that.


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