For a few weeks I’ve been relaxing in the Caribbean. While here I also decided to take a vacation from that online circus known as Facebook. It has been a liberating experience so far and has led me to consider getting off of the platform altogether or, at the very least, much more often. Here are a few insights into why I finally became fed up with Facebook:
Facebook is an addictive drug much like cocaine, heroine, meth, cigarettes, etc. The need to constantly check messages, view one’s newsfeed, see what friends are up to, etc., causes a kind of dopamine high that is similar when using some of the popular narcotics out there. Likewise, stepping away from the platform often leads to a kind of withdrawal that a drug user might experience when trying to quit a drug.
Due to its addictive nature, Facebook can be a giant waste of time and life. Many years ago I brought a girlfriend to a gorgeous beach here, only to watch her look at Facebook on her cell phone the entire time. On the way home, she began to cry when her phone temporarily lost the signal and she was unable to access the Internet. I’m guilty of some of the same behavior, finding myself staring at a news feed as a beautiful sunset happens, a date talks to me at dinner, a rainbow appears in the sky, a full moon rises above a beautiful countryside on a midsummer’s night. Life--reality--can literally pass one by without one even being aware that their precious and limited time on Earth is being squandered away in Facebook World.
Facebook is a giant invasion of one’s privacy. This is doubly true, for not only is Mark Zuckerberg selling users’ personal information to advertisers and companies like Cambridge Analytica (which the Trump campaign and Russians used to target and manipulate 87 million Facebook users), but Facebook users constantly and voluntarily reveal details about their own personal lives that they would otherwise keep to themselves. Everyone has that friend who posts at 2:30 AM how drunk they are, how good or bad their date went, details of their sex life, their stock portfolio’s performance, their current geographic location, what their geographic location will be two days from now--all information that would in the past be justifiably private and known only to one’s close friends.
Facebook nurtures and perpetuates a culture of narcissism. It seems that very many people on the platform pass their days away with regaling everyone else with tales of how great they are, how fit they are, how insightful and enlightened they are, how great their life is, how they’re right all the time about pretty much everything imaginable, etc. I am guilty of this too, and find myself constantly talking about myself, steering a conversation toward myself, or congratulating myself on anything and everything. The strange thing is that I generally do not like talking about myself and if it were not for Facebook I probably would keep many things about myself unspoken and unwritten.
Far from leading to more open, civilized, and insightful discussions, Facebook posts and debates often degenerate into gladiatorial combat with even close friends belittling each other over the most asinine of topics. Someone will post, “Hey, I think Krispy Kreme Donuts are awesome!” and they are virtually guaranteed to get comments saying, “You idiot! Dunkin’ Donuts are far superior! Go back to Donut School asshole!” Facebook becomes a forum for users to pontificate their viewpoints while degrading other’s opinions or ideas—kind of like the current Congress.
Most darkly, Facebook has now been weaponized by many individuals, companies, and governments to manipulate entire populations and electorates, bully and intimidate rivals online, engage in blackmail and extortion, defame another person’s character, engage in disinformation and psyops campaigns, engage in cyberwarfare, steal personal information and company secrets, and generally use the platform to do bad, bad things. There is a very sinister side to Facebook and I have seen it, first-hand, being used to destroy people’s lives and wreak havoc.
This list could go on and on, but these are the big points about Facebook that I wished to make. Accordingly, I will be switching more to the Instagram platform (unfortunately owned by Facebook) because I find it a much more positive and productive experience. If anyone wishes to follow me and communicate with me on Instagram, they can do so at http://www.instagram.com/thesundancekiddj