Monday, October 04, 2021

An Abused Facebook User Speaks Out

I have a lot of time on my hands today now that my schedule has been compromised with what will probably come to be known as the Great Social Media Collapse of 2021. 

It's amazing to think about how much of my daily schedule over the last few years has revolved around Facebook in a perpetual cycle of futility as the logarithm continued to make my posts and that of Oddball Magazine all but invisible, viewable to only a handful of friends.

For months now, my girlfriend has been telling me about time sensitive posts on Facebook I've tagged her in only showing up in her feed three days after the fact. 

How many times have I posted about an event days before the fact only to get "likes" days after the event is gone and poorly attended? 

I freely admit I have become overly dependent on Facebook. With common email banned form work, Facebook was the only way to keep abreast and contact the most amount of people in a jiffy. 

As a writer and editor, Facebook has saved my bacon more than a few times. However, perhaps if it never existed, my life as a writer would be far less complicated and I would never have required Facebook's "help" in the first place.

It's like I'm addicted to a placebo, something that never "helped" me to begin with. 

So much struggle to make my work and the work of other writers visible in a stream of sheer nonsense. 

It's horrible to think that more people have seen the racist posts from my emboldened (and since unfriended) high school classmates since Trump's presidency than anything I've done to promote other artists during my entire time on Facebook since 2009. 

It's even more horrible when you realize that's by design.

It's a moment of chaos and calm as Facebook goes down, perhaps having even lost its domain name, Then again, this could all be a ruse in light of recent news that no one is surprised about in regards to its practices of profit over public safety. 

If Facebook ever comes back again--and it very likely will--it's probably going to look very different. 

If it never returns, I won't miss it much. 

On the downside, I'll have to scramble to reestablish contact with people I've interacted with almost entirely on Facebook. But hey, maybe they'll reach out to me via my website and blog that no one visits anymore (that is, of course, unless I link a post directly onto, y'know, Facebook). 

Beyond being a writer and a poet, being on Facebook helped bring me together with my girlfriend and has done many other good things for me and others. We just have to remember that much of that positivity happened in spite of Facebook, not because of it. As with any corporation and their tools, you have to force them to do good.

And that good very rarely outweighs the bad.

In the last decade-plus, Facebook has done a lot to help divide the nation, make smart people scatterbrained and help the stupid feel empowered. 

In that time, it's also turned acquaintances and former loved ones of mine into informants, tattletales and lazy "researchers" in Trump's new America. 

Facebook culture encouraged former friends to backstab and essentially blackball me. Friends fall out and behave badly towards each other all the time, but some people on the fence may not have acted along with the main instigators, but Facebook, like most social media, is one giant high school hallway. 

Bully culture rules a lot of Facebook. It's quieter than in the old hallways of my high school, but fights and petty acts can still break out at any time.

To try and make yourself seen on Facebook is a bully's game. If there are any rules to it, they exist so you lose.

I love having an online presence, but I miss the early aughties when blogs and other author hangouts seemed to spread by word of mouth. They were more special, people were more engaged, and only Franz Wright left angry comments. 

For much of the past four years, I couldn't post a link to an online journal with an upside down flag before family who would normally ignore my deviant behavior would call my Mom and report my communism. 

Take away the few loved ones you genuinely want to follow, and most social media has the personality of a failed date rapist.

I am a hypocrite. When Facebook comes back, I'll go back to playing the game.  In this new world, you have to, no matter how much you lose.

I guess I'm just glad someone called a time out. 

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