A Cautionary Argument Against Facebook

Greetings free thinkers and other trouble-makers,

I’ve recently had an experience with the very friendly Facebook platform, which has made me evaluate its friendliness and utility.

I had accrued some massive coterie of ‘friends’ on the site – most of whom I did not know (that’s the great lie of the internet age – that we’re all one happy group of well-informed people just amiably chatting with each other (about the end of the world and other topics))…

I began to use the site for longer for conversations in topics of my interest, such as religion, philosophy, science, etc, and was enjoying some of that banter, and so was somewhat put off when I arrived one day at the sign in to find that I could not sign in! I had been deleted, in total, and without explanation.

Following the advice of the ‘you no longer exist here’ page, which was displayed before me, I wrote the Facebook architects, wherever they may be on earth, and asked them for some assistance in returning use to me.

Alas, four letters over a week sent, and nary a response.

So, I posted a new profile, and left a note for everyone to contact me via email or my webpage, and not FB.

Now, having much free and useful time returned to me, I have noticed something that I had indeed noted before agreeing to use that damned site:

It is a terrible, terrible waste of time and energy. It might have been invented by those very ‘powers that be’ to persuade all interested people to abandon the very public and ‘google-accessible’ world wide web, as a lure to create an artificial bed of newspaper and wood shavings, upon which to sit and nestle oneself comfortably, while regurgitating self-reinforcing opinions to each other, cyclically, so that a great feeling of comfort and sleepiness takes over, and all motion and movement in the visible world ceases, all at once, and for good…

Call that a conspiratorial view – and I’m sure that it wasn’t really invented to hurt activists – but the activity on outside of Facebook websites on some issues that I follow has ground to a quiet whisper, whereas the ‘Facebook universe’ hums and throttles with noise.

Noise that is mute, inaudible, invisible, un-hearable to Google search, to public viewing, to, in that sense, utility.

I share this as an observation. Please keep your Facebook time limited, very limited, and perhaps consider making the posts you would make there, on your own public blog. And if you don’t have one, then please make one:

http://en.wordpress.com/signup/
http://www.blogger.com/home
http://www.blogtext.org/
http://www.google.com/search?q=get+a+free+blog

And link it to the other existing blogs and sites, and make at least the best of what you do, write, think and say about these important issues, or philosophical battles, public, and useful to the entire reading world…

Thank you for your time and consideration, kind regards,

Liam Scheff

Liam

11 Comments

  1. Very interesting that you would be “deleted”, and I’m glad you have a platform here to inform the rest of us.

    I’ve been cross-posting my own blog on facebook and have found the place to be incredibly irritating to use. Can’t see how it ever became the #2 spot on the Web, m’self.

    You’re right of course about it being a sort of “preaching to the choir” social clique. I may have to blog about some more of my observations now. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for the note. Yes, it’s a bit of a wormhole, that Facebook.

    I had a habit of referring to it privately as “facef*ck” for the longest time, because that’s what it seemed to be: Self-reflexive half-thoughts, fired off quickly and without focus or consideration of purpose or effect (except to get more people to ‘pet’ you, notice your cuteness or cleverness, to ‘facef*ck’ you). Typographical onanism, in that sense…

    But, asked by some actual associates and friends to join, I did, and soon found it a rather addictive experience – for the self-same reasons described above. Yes, facef*ck is a kind of distractionary fun, after all. But, it’s a true waste of energy, and unlike an actual sexual experience, does not relieve stress, or make one feel much, much better for the rest of the day.

    Arrivederci, facebook. It wasn’t so good knowing you.

  3. I can’t believe you got booted from Facebook. I recommend being proud of yourself. (silly venture) Maybe it’s Chinese. OUR FREEDOMS ARE BEING ERODED!!!!

  4. Thought provoking notion regarding the “powers that be”. They say power corrupts ect., ect.and I would imagine that applies to the mega conglomes as well as to small fiefdoms. Is censorship ever O.K. outside of yelling fire in a crowded theatre; that kind of thing? Any ideas?

  5. Indeed…

    They got back to me, and offered to reinstate the account, after I wrote them a few letters. Their representative told me that she would not tell me how I had violated their terms of use, but that I was now free again to use the service.

    I wrote them a follow-up note inquiring as to their general policies regarding Facebook’s invasive practices, measured against whatever I was not being accused of, apparently, and received nothing in return.

    It’s a funny thing – we go onto these sites, list our daily activity, entire network of friends and acquaintances, professional acumen, peccadilloes, likes and dislikes, hour to hour movements – and we let strangers ‘friend’ us, see all of this… and we run around in supposed ‘terror’ of attack by people living in caves in the poorest countries on earth, while baiting anyone and everyone in the world to know everything about us.

    And we are now encouraged that the US Gov’t is going to nude-scan each and every one of us as we board an airplane.

    How easy would it be for intelligence agencies to simply profile likely candidates for truly bad public behavior, at this point, rather than strong-arm and strip-search the entire traveling US population?

    They can just read our facebook pages to know what we’re up to, or what we think.

    And why is the public so anxious to strip to their skins, for everyone, at all times, in all places?

    Aldous Huxley was right. We’re a nation on mood altering drugs, at all times, content with the very particular lies of techno-progress, and false news alerts about deadly events that are not happening, (while we more or less shrug at the actual deadly events, and perhaps kindly pass the donation cup – or don’t).

    Orwell got one thing wrong: We don’t fear Big Brother, we beg for him to watch us. We put him in our homes, on our desks, we carry him around with us on electronic video screens at all times – and we fight and pay for the privilege.

    I’m going to have to write something about the value of profiling, vis-a-vis airport security. The fellow recently arrested for his attempted crime was certainly on lists that carried more meaning than ‘bad facebook manners.’ Warnings were out and in the intelligence feed.

    Where is a level of basic profiling of likely dangerous individuals, followed by reasonable interrogation in airports of those on those lists?

    And how is it that someone like myself – an argumentative investigative journalist, and nothing more threatening than that – can be banned from web use on the largest social network platform?

    They did me a favor, in any case. Glad to be outside of that box.

  6. I like Liam why is he being taken off this sight thats totally rediculous hes totally briinging light on a school that had some highs and lows that should be discussed.

  7. That’s very kind of you Athena! But do take your time! Spell-check, my dear!

    So, I take it you were at one of these schools? Which, where, when? How did it go?

  8. Liam,

    I think that people are afraid of argument because it leeds to violence, but the absence of argument could lead to fascism.

  9. yes I went to RMA in ’89 and while my stay there I had some good times & pretty terrible gut wrenching experiences to say the least. I also didn’t want to have a facebook profile for the very same reasons that you mentioned above. Like you I was persuaded to join by my friends. I commend you on all your research that you have done with past students from these schools. It has helped me a lot. Knowing that I am not alone in the trauma that these schools have caused on the students that attended. Please don’t stop what your doing. Your a person to be admired and its Facebook’s loss.

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