Abandoning the Death Star

“Dear John,” (a note to self and to friends) there’s been things bugging me about Facebook for a while. Being painted with their target is making my skin crawl.

I’ve always known the deal; use this free platform to connect and communicate with friends and family. In return Facebook machines learn things about me. At first I liked the connectivity, in some cases the re-connectivity. It’s their pervasiveness that’s now too much. Like being lit-up with red-dot laser beams, there’s no fighting it. Hands up in surrender, or face down dead aren’t options.

I know every free platform is like making a deal with the digital Satan, (read Jaron Lanier or Eli Pariser ) I’m good with Google, because at least I get s**t done using their stuff.

Sure, Apple’s got me fenced in too. But, I can make a phone call and I like texting. I can use my laptop or tablet explore other parts of the internet that’s not being linked through Facebook.

I like Twitter a lot. The fact it’s not Facebook is a bonus, and I’m happy building our business (Mentionmapp) on their platform. Twitter is more open; the choice of having a non-algorithmic feed rocks; having brevity as a constraint is appealing; plus it’s a media feed and the type of channel surfing I like.

Medium’s appealing. I’m writing here in large part out of respect for Ev Williams 20 years in publishing. It seems like his team cares about the writing, publishing, and reading experience.

Back to Facebook. Too often I’ve been scrolling, and wondering where are my friends and family; using it recently feels like the experience is a galaxy away from why I started. In spite of the time spent and personal social capital invested, I’m done. I’m done because today, it’s like the Death Star of platforms, not creating value, only extracting it. Facebook’s not improving our public discourse, they’re manipulating it.

I find reading this unnerving, “He (Zuckerberg) stood in front of a diagram outlining an audacious 10-year expansion plan, which included several features to help keep people inside Facebook’s world instead of following links out.

Employees asking (reputedly) how to help stop Donald Trump, has me doing a forehead slap. He’s link bait, not a statesman. A lot about Campaign 2016 is sad. But what’s sadder, is the idea of Facebook employees wanting to stop his potential Presidency from inside a corporate cubicle, instead of the voting booth.

No news flash. Corporate and media interests have always been engaged in the nefarious games of political influence, and interference. It’s the warp speed whirring algorithmic machine that’s changing the game. People write the code, yet were not having much conversation about the human bias being coded into the machine?

There’s an organizational hubris that resonates with Facebook. One day, it’ll be that hubris precipitating their “Rosebud moment.”

A last Facebook entry… (inner voice saying “never say never”) that I’m also guessing won’t be seen in many feeds. The heavy algorithmic hand will probably turn it into pixel vapour.

Yet, I’m holding out a little hope that some of my Facebook friends are reading this. I hope you’ll to follow me here; email me when you’ve got something to share; text me if you’re in a jam; or give me shout on Twitter @grayspective or @mentionmapp.

There’s other machines learning about me. Yet, none of them don’t know me. The machines are shrinking my world. Platform fatigue, a concern about the descending plague of bots, and this personalizing web are stories for another day. Digital dehumanizing.

No Facebook in five days, at least they’re emailing reminders of what I’m missing. Pervasiveness. Invasiveness. Change those settings.

With or without Facebook, there’s always missed moments. I’ve outgrown FOMO. Fear is a four letter word I’ve purged along with easy, and busy. Life’s not easy; busy is an excuse; and fear is self manifesting. What will I miss about Facebooking? Nothing. I don’t miss, what I don’t have. I’m getting on with the business of being.

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