Monday, November 5, 2018

Staying Off Social Media

I used to have a Facebook account.  Closed it several years ago because I could see that it wasn't doing anything for me.  It wasn't worth the price, and no, it's not Free.  The only things FB ever did for me was allow me to swap emails with one or two guys I haven't heard from since high school - and haven't heard from since.  In trade, FB takes everything you do or say and sells it to companies that try to monetize it. 

I've never had accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or any of the startups like Gab.  The only two social media presences I have are this blog with the list of blog friends I read, and I have an account on Pinterest.  There's virtually no person-to-person interaction on Pinterest and I'm not sure why it's considered social media.  The only thing that makes it social is that other people can see what you "pin" (save to a dedicated area of yours).  What tends to happen is that if someone likes what you pinned, they copy it from your area to theirs.  That's all.  If they don't like it, chances are they don't even see it.  I've never had a conversation on Pinterest with another user in the couple of years I've been there.

Google's monopoly is the only social media I stay within the confines of, and I'm always on the verge; always just one more, "that's it", from leaving.  Google links Gmail, YouTube and their other services into a social network of a sort. 

Where am I going?  Why am I writing about this?

It's becoming widely known that social media was designed to get us addicted to it, and that the executives from high tech companies are so concerned about the behavioral changes that it can cause that they're strictly limiting their children's screen time.  From the first link, Computerworld:
If you're a social media addict, and your addiction is getting worse, there's a reason for that: Most of the major social network companies, as well as social content creators, are working hard every day to make their networks so addictive that you can't resist them.
And from the second, Business Insider:
Business Insider previously reported that parents who work in Silicon Valley tech companies are limiting and sometimes banning their kids' access to the devices they helped create. Even tech titans like Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates have placed restrictions on their kids' technology use, Business Insider previously reported.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, has said that he doesn't allow his nephew to join online social networks. And the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in 2011 that he didn't let his kids use the iPad.
Business Insider links to other stories that underline how the generation of the engineers and programmers raising their kids in Silicon Valley now are strictly limiting screen time.  They see how much time and effort goes into making digital technology irresistible.  I think it's worth noting that the people who get the closest view of how the things work are becoming the first group limiting their kids' exposures to them.

Lately, you can't go a day without reading about a Twitter rant or fight, shadow banning of any opinions other than far left, and other bad things linked to social media.  Would Twitter fights happen in real life; or would they have happened in a real life that hadn't been conditioned by social media responses?   Would incidents like this young twit throwing coffee or whatever on the FSU college Republicans happen in a world that hadn't been conditioned by the instant pleasure/instant rage responses of social media? 

From what I see, social media brings out the worst in humanity, by making the services as addictive as crack cocaine.   I say to work on becoming free of that addiction.  There are online programs to help you get over Facebook addiction, 99DaysOfFreedom - which strikes me as an ironic statement.


  1. It's a real-world spin on the short story "Death By Ecstasy".

  2. Aesop:

    I have a blog (technically two, but the second is pretty neglected), and an e-mail address. That's it.
    I might, someday, get my crap together to the point of posting YouTube videos. Only because with two decades in it, I "get" video production, and showing is better than just writing about.

    Anything beyond that is pointless, from where I'm sitting.

    Going on twenty years, and I can't see the point behind any of the (anti-)"social" media, other than to live in a glass house. It's pathological narcissism for exhibitionists.

    They have meds for that.

  3. I have never used any social media except blogs and the comments therein.

    When I was at the local PD I watched officers get their careers destroyed when people looked at their facebook and 'interpreted' what the officers believed.

    Which, in some respects, is a sick payback, as officers use idiots' social media, especially facebook, against them. Kinda stupid to have a picture of yourself surrounded by drugs, guns and cash when you're on probation for drug trafficking. Dumb-butts.

    Your social media will be used against you by 'your betters' or by your work if they want to find any excuse to fire you.

  4. You make THINK that you don't have a Facebook account, but you actually have one anyway. Facebook generates advertising revenue through the use of "Facebook pixels." The way this work is that a company who advertises on Facebook embeds a pixel on a website owned by that company. That pixel is unique to the advertiser. Every time that company's website is downloaded, the pixel is downloaded as well.

    That pixel comes from a server that is owned by Facebook, who logs the downloader's IP every time a pixel is downloaded. That IP eventually has a profile that is generated by every website that you go to. In other words, Facebook has a pretty accurate profile of the websites you frequent and what products you are interested in.

    That information is very valuable to marketers, and it is sold to them.

  5. I got you beat. I am on no social media either. But yesterday I took my phone with me when we went to Walmart because my wife likes to go shopping for clothes which I find boring so I go to the sporting goods and hardware department to browse for awhile. My wife calls when she is done and I meet her at the checkout. But yesterday she had to come find me, my phone wasn't working. In fact it hadn't been working for over two months. Who knew? I never use it. My credit card valid date passed and without me knowing it my phone account was cancelled two months ago. So not only do I not have an social accounts I don't use my phone enough to even know if it is working. Couldn't be happier, I'm thinking about not calling AT&T to get reconnected.

  6. I stopped carrying my Motorola microtac flip phone when it became apparent that employers were deciding I was their new personal assistant. Wouldn't even spend five minutes reading a man page, calls me instead. Continued to carry the alphanumeric pager, for some reason employers used sane prioritization for that. Now I carry a soap-bar cell phone in the car with the battery out to call AAA. It's really useful, really cheap, and unless I'm waiting for a callback from AAA or the mechanic nobody can call me to interrupt me. I check my email and blogs once or twice a day. I really enjoy it. I also really enjoy all the other things I do each day which benefit from hours of uninterrupted focused concentration. I wonder how much susceptability to distraction comes from public school, where you're not allowed to concentrate on anything longer than 45 minutes before a bell rings. I think the Amish have the right idea, when they put the phone in a hut outside the main house, so it can't interrupt them. I like much of modern industralized life and wouldn't enjoy the Amish setpoints for rejection of it. However I do appreciate their idea of consciously considering whether any new thing will make their life better. Paul Graham's _The Acceleration of Addictiveness_: