Facebook Isn’t Real

When I had a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job, it was a given that I’d see the same people on a regular basis. For most of us older than 40, being at work for the better part of your waking hours has been the norm.

As the world changes, and work as many of us know it continues evolving, our time toiling for the man doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll have this same kind of face-to-face interaction. While many of us are freelancing these days, many others are telecommuting and working from home. You have interactions with people via telephone, email, and even social media, but rarely do you spend significant amounts of time in the presence of other human beings. It’s possible to do work for others and never once meet them in-person.

Preferring our phones over other people.

I don’t know what this means for society in the future. Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I have no way of knowing whether or not this will turn out well, or badly.

For the past few months, I’ve grown disenchanted with most the social media platforms I’ve been using, especially Facebook. As I like to say to the few humans I see and interact with in the flesh, “Facebook isn’t real.”

Monday was a national holiday and once more, I wasn’t invited to any MLK breakfasts, I spent my day at home, alone, putting things in place for the coming week. I also spent time reading on the interwebs, looking for articles and posts about Facebook.

This one, from two years ago was really interesting. It also was related to some of the things I’ve been thinking about regarding social media and its personal lack of value for me.

It appears that the more “connected” technology permits us to be, the more alienated from one another we become. This article from two years ago indicates that we have become a nation of lonely people. I may not have a crystal ball, but alienation and feeling disconnected doesn’t bode well for things like democracy and what remains of the social glue holding Americans together.

When I began blogging in 2003, I want to have a place to write. There was always an excitement to posting a brand new blog offering.

As a writer,you hone your craft by writing. For more than a decade, I’ve been regular as a blogger. However, as much as I like to write and post my regular Tuesday and Friday posts, I’ve seen traffic to my blog plummet. I’m guessing that Facebook has something to do with that.

Facebook makes us lonely—it also makes us lazy. It’s too easy to “like” something. Click a button, and feel good about doing nothing.

I’m planning to spend less time in 2015 on social media, and more connecting with real people, not profiles on a screen.

10 thoughts on “Facebook Isn’t Real

  1. The most interesting line in the article:

    “In 2010, at a cost of $300 million, 800 miles of fiber-optic cable was laid between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange to shave three milliseconds off trading times.”

    Ka-Ching!

    But seriously, I do think FB is making us lonely, Twitter is making us anxious, and Tee Vee is making us dumb(er). I’ve noticed by limiting my FB time, FB doesn’t like me as much. And it’s so hard to “engage” people on FB. It’s really not a “call to action.” Oh well. Good for you for ENGAGING with people, face to face. Like Devo, I look forward to see more of you in 2015!

  2. @Dave I’m like you, not big on making “resolutions.” I’ve started to see how little value has been delivered on the big promises offered by social media and the hucksters selling those promises. To some Friday happy hours and beer, as well as live music!

    @JAB You’ve nailed it with your trifecta of “lonely, anxious, and dumb(er).” We have the power to disconnect, if not entirely, then to limit our consumption of things that keep us separated (and separate).

    I’ve enjoyed having you living local, again. The times we’ve sat in your kitchen, drinking coffee or tea, talking about things important to us were (are) far superior to emails and tweets about them. I won’t even discuss Zuckerscam’s contraption.

    A conversation about MLK the other day, with the question, “what happened to leaders like King,” and others, who were able to lead movements that changed the course of history? For one thing, no real change ever comes via “liking” something on FB. Also, King and other leaders of the 1960s weren’t sitting around staring at their smartphones, and calling it “activism.”

  3. Naw. Real activists lie down on I-93 in Boston.

    FB stinks, that’s a given. And it’s wonderful for state control–got someone you want to take down? Hey, he laid out his schedule and his entire social circle for you. At least the FBI had to get warrants to go after King.

    It’s also important to remember that King did not create the movement. NPR did that huge series decades back that was enlightening, documenting how from the end of World War II onwards there was a concerted effort of legal actions led by men such as Thurgood Marshall that slowly, steadily laid all the groundwork state by state over a period of fifteen years before King was propped up as the figurehead. We have a tendency to look at the 50s as repressive adn the 60s as liberating, but the heavy lifting of the civil rights movement was done in the 50s. The marches of the 60s was the demand that what had been achieved be recognized.

    Mark Steyn once noted that were the radicals in Boston to try to contest their freedom from the Queen of England today, it would be over be it started. Who are those agitators posting broadsides on the telephone poles? Cameras, zoom. Identify. Who is this Paul Revere? Pull up all accounts associated with him from our databases. Tax records on his business, review them. Health and Safety, go inspect him. That’s an improperly registered horse, too. Oh, freeze his bank accounts, he’s probably a drug runner. FB friends? Send someone out to visit all of them, threaten those who defend him, tell the rest he’s a dangerous terrizt and squeeze them for more information. Since the Marathon bombing we can safely note that no one in Boston would dare get in the way of the Queen’s agents when they are told to stay in their houses, terrizt on the loose. Makes it easy for them to go blow his house apart with all sorts of military weaponry with no witnesses.

    Ain’t FB wonderful!

    • I would agree with much of what you write in your comment.

      I take issue with the term “figurehead” for Martin Luther King, Jr. While I don’t disagree that things had begun prior to the 1960s concerning civil rights, and that there has been some historical revisionism re: Dr. King, I can’t let the idea that he was “propped up” and was allowed undue credit. While the movement was more than one man, he was a key figure, one of many that provided leadership, and utilized tactics that have been lost on younger activists.

      I’ll direct you back to previous blog posts (with a link) I’ve made concerning King and his legacy on this blog, which links back to previous pieces I’ve written that are still available online.

      With that said, your point in reference to Steyn is pertinent to today.

      • King’s appeal was moral, not legal. Black lawyers in courts aren’t the stuff of mass movements, King was necessary to bring that to the movement.

        One thing that struck me, though, listening to him played over and over on Monday, was how foreign and distant his rhetoric is even today. He sounds flat and monotonous, entirely unappealing to the modern ear. He sounds good to us in short soundbites (“Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last!”), but no one these days would want to listen to him for ten minutes compared to, say, the used car salesman at the State of the Union. Cornel West was in St Petersburg last week and one of the things he said was that no one understands King or where he was going in that last year because no one ever listens to more than the one line here or there played over and over again.

        Mind, this is not a knock against King, not simply. Who among us could sit and listen to LIncoln debate Douglass for four hours with no microphones, no powerpoint slides, no four color handouts. At least their audience had corn whiskey to help them! How badly our attention spans have been damaged, and that leads us right back to FB. I understand Robin’s comments below, there are some facets to FB that are very useful, but it’s also another part of our age of constant distractions, the ADHD end of our empire.

        • LP,

          Were you listening to Democracy Now on Monday? They rebroadcast a King speech from the 1960s, and I thought the same thing. It’s true, our capacity to sit and listen, and disseminate information that isn’t spoon-fed to us via entertainment channels or social media, which come to think of it, passes for our so-called media sources, also.

          All pretty depressing, really.

  4. I blogged something similar today. I’d like to have a lot more comments on my blog but they’re being made on Facebook instead. As of today, if it appears on my personal blog the links probably won’t be shared on Facebook. It’s not all that productive to begin with. I hope it doesn’t come back to kick me in the butt.

    • As a PS – More face time is definitely not what I need or want. As an introvert I find face time overwhelming and exhausting most of the time. Using Fb as a means of keeping in touch with friends works well for me. Being an introvert doesn’t make my means of keeping in touch less real than yours. It’s different but not less or fake.

      • @ Robin Your comment is an interesting one, especially about introversion. I present to most people as an extrovert. However, on the Myers-Briggs scale, I’m an E/I, and can go either way. I think I need people and draw energy from them. However, there are times when I’ve had it with other humans, and I have to get away and recharge–this might be the enjoyment and need to write, and also time away for reading and research.

        Here’s my question in respect to introverts, and social media. I understand what you are saying about using FB to stay in touch with people. It’s something that I always here in response to any criticism of the platform. What did you (and other introverts) do before FB and social media to stay connected?

        Have you read Susan Cain’s book about introverts, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking? It’s been recommended a couple of times to me by my introvert friends. I guess I need to read it, right?

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