I’m back, maybe

A few months ago I removed the FaceBook app from my phone. This was at the height of the media blitz about security issues associated with the company, but that is not why I did it. I was well aware that they were in the business of selling info that they gleaned from my online activity ever since I first signed up for an account. I understand that you trade privacy for convenience in this new digital age. In order to take advantage of the power of the system you have to accept a measure of transparency. I understood that from the start and was not surprised at the reports coming out. I was only surprised at the public outrage, that everyone else didn’t understand that as well.

I decided to take a break from FB for another reason, a reason that I dubbed “social masturbation”.

No, get that image out of your head.

What I mean is that I had the illusion of being social without any actually being social. I spent several hours a day reading, sharing and posting, but was no longer getting any feedback. I used to get many comments on my posts, some from people not on my friends list and without any friends in common. I would get into some interesting conversations. I am quite introverted and this was a great way for me to interact without many of the pressures of face-to-face contact. Slowly I began to realize that was changing.

I started getting likes and shares from a smaller and smaller group. It seemed like they were the same handful of people all of the time. When I would follow the shares I would see that they had plenty of comments, and would sometimes interact on their pages instead of my own. After asking around I found that my posts were rarely showing up on my friends feeds anymore. I looked at my profile information and found out that I had been tagged as “very conservative”. Looks like I had been shadow-banned.

I was not very surprised. Many of the things I shared were news reports of things that I did not see on my own feed. Some of the things did not even show up on a search. I thought that I was exposing people to interesting things not seen elsewhere on FB, but in reality it looks like I was mostly talking to myself. I was only getting the illusion of social interaction.

So, I deleted it.

I didn’t close my account. I still check up on it every week or two on my desktop. It is the only way I have to stay connected with some of my friends and organizations. It took a little time to become accustomed to not checking my notifications dozens of times a day, but not as much time as I would have thought. I don’t miss it now and, looking back, am astonished at how much time each day I used to spend on it.

All of this is to say that I am going to try to start posting on this blog again. The biggest difference between expressing myself here vs on FB is the audience size, but at least I know how limited it is here and hopefully will not encounter the censoring on other social media sites.  I welcome comments and look forward to any interactions that might happen. At the very least I will be able to organize my thoughts by writing them down. Since nothing ever disappears from the internet I may be able to still influence my kids or grandkids long after I am gone.

Here goes nothing…

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