Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Life After Facebook

I made the decision to no longer engage in virtual life on Facebook before reading the New York Times article that appeared today concerning the way the powers that be at Facebook have been violating the privacy of the people who use the application.

I made my decision because I was tired of being marketed to by the entity itself. And I did not like the way I was relating to the content I saw. I would always see posts made by a handful of people, commercial posts, and ads, but would rarely see most of what my 500 Facebook friends wrote. It was as if the application was telling me who and what was important for me to see. I imagine that its algorithms also pick what people see from the posts I have made there.

There are things about the Facebook experience that I have enjoyed. Who doesn't like receiving birthday wishes from hundreds of people (most of whom otherwise wouldn't have remembered my birthday)? I am grateful that I had the opportunity to give my father a "Facebook birthday" where hundreds of people from his past got the chance to wish him a happy birthday. He did get a kick out of it.

I enjoy having had the opportunity to send links to pieces I have written to groups that engage in discussions about specific instruments, and have enjoyed learning that people in these groups have shown interest in them. I have enjoyed being able to share life events (weddings, births, and deaths) with people I have known over the years, and I have enjoyed been able to congratulate, console, and advise people from my past that I know and people I have "met" on Facebook but do not otherwise know.

I have done all this without putting out much in the way of effort. I have found that the value of any relationship springs, in great part, from the effort put into it. Correspondence (whether through email or on paper) requires time and effort. It also involves trust. Since Facebook has become dominant in my life (and I guess in the lives of the people I know), correspondence has dwindled down to almost nothing. And I have posted less frequently on this blog, which I think of as a kind of a correspondence.

Before I end this post (and end my relationship with Facebook, which I am planning to do right after I publish this post), I would like to mention that I joined Facebook in 2009, and then I left it for a few years. When I bumped into a friend in town who told me that my brother Marshall was on Facebook, I joined again. I was surprised to find that all my "data" was still there.

Marshall died a few years ago. He rarely posted on his Facebook page, but his ex-wife and his friends would post things on his page that they thought he'd like to see. They still keep Marshall's Facebook page viable, and they still write posts on it. The latest one wishes him a happy birthday "in heaven."

Seeing this makes me cringe.

I'm getting ready to pull the plug now, folks!


Lisa Hirsch said...

Coincidentally, I decided to delete my own FB account. I will miss lots of people there.

Elaine Fine said...

Interesting timing! After a day away I do miss seeing what my Facebook friends are doing, but I'm hoping that I can eventually connect with some of them in another way. My foolish fear is that if I don't play in the playground they play in, they won't want to interact with me elsewhere.