I come to bury Facebook, not to praise it. Herein I offer sundry reasons for our separation.
1. My children. I don’t want my five children spending much time in digital social networks. It is harder to retract than it is to abstain from FB.
2. The entrenchment of uncommunication. When I was a lad, my parents and their friends would tell us that we should turn off the video games and “rediscover the art of conversation”. Facebook seems to provide the ingredients for just this thing, but somehow the alchemy does just the opposite. Instead of the art of conversation, there turns up a certain artless series of comments. Conversation is reduced to poorly devised thoughts buttressed by an eternal regression of informative web links.
It doesn’t have to be so. For a number of years I’ve enjoyed the company of a dozen or so friends in an email forum. (Two of them are actually FB friends). Via simple email, mostly in a lo-tech “dial up” digital connection, sturdy conversation is created, bringing friends together from as disparate locations as Texas, Costa Rica, Pennsyvania, Ontario, Guatemala and Florida. We call this forum “The Campfire” because digitally we are able to do what campfires enable: thoughtful social interchange, otherwise known as the art of
The promise of connecting that Facebook usage portends simply becomes a facile surrogate for genuine communion. I would drive hundreds of miles to visit with my FB friends, just so long as they don’t show me funny pictures of kittens, politicians or food. But FB connections have rarely resulted in in-the-flesh table talk, unfortunately.
3. Lack of personal control of the distribution of my content. This is a long way to say “censorship and surveillance”. FB controls the flow of information that appears on your screen. Not everything you write gets sent to your friends, and that is after taking the various restrictions and tiered lines of communication set up by users into consideration. Further, your communication is monitored; FB also encourages other users to monitor your communication. Your comments are subject to scrutiny based on key word usage, inclusion of certain persons within your social network, etc. by your comments (which might not see the light of day) you are categorized by FB and marketed to businesses and governments.
4. Facebook profits from your enrollment. They set advertising rates by the number of users and the details of their comments and personal info. I don’t really like that.