It’s been almost a year since I deactivated my Facebook account (in June, 2021) – so I guess this is long overdue, but now that I have embarked on “My Dunbar Project“ I suppose a bit of retro-perspective is in order.
I stopped using Facebook for three reasons:
1. Vanquishing the ‘Poke and Scroll.’ Anybody who has ever used social media recognizes the impulse: you poke at the screen and scroll to the next thing, and the next thing, and all the things after that. Surely the next thing will satisfy the craving. Sound familiar? This compulsive behavior is not a bug, it’s the whole fucking point of social media: to keep you on the platform. Maybe others have better self-control, but it’s not a safe temptation for anybody who is even slightly OCD (and in the digital era, who is not?) – or recovering alcoholic types.
2. The environment is a toxic swamp. Yes, services like Facebook have their merits, even if it’s often just an illusion of connection more than the real thing. But much what passes for ‘conversation’ on Facebook quickly descends in to chaos and rage. What’s the slogan, “if it enrages, it engages” (which brings us back to point #1 above). The stated mission of Facebook is “a more open and connected world.” But it’s actual purpose, it’s business model, is to keep people using the site and hoovering up as much personal data as possible and then capitalizing on that data. Which brings us to reason #3:
3. In the digital economy, we are all vassals and peasants: I’ve written about this before, and others have expressed it more eloquently than I ever will:
“when the service is free – then you are the product”
Every minute that we spend uploading ‘content’ – photos, posts, comments, replies – to social media, we are supplying our labor for free while unimaginable wealth rises to the top of the pyramid. I suppose it was ever thus, wealth has always ascends in one form or another. And sure, there are some who make their living plowing the digital fields of social media. But as long as I’m one of the unpaid peasants, I’ll toil in my own non-remunerative fields, thank you very much.
That’s it in a nutshell. And while I can say that I don’t miss the whole poke-and-scroll-enragement-feudal-environment, I do miss the occasional brush with people I actually care about.
If you might be one of those people, then please check out My Dunbar Project and fill out the form.
And if you have any doubt about how pernicious this Neo Feudal Digital State is, then watch the entirety of this expose by John Oliver (April 10, 2022). By all means keep posting and commenting, but don’t kid yourself what’s really going on: