This is Day One of my
Personal Facebook Boycott (PFbB).
Why am I boycotting Facebook?
There are several reasons, but first a little background.
I remember when MySpace
intruded into my space around the year of 2008. If I remember correctly, I had over 10,000 followers, but I never really knew what it was for. I received some
nice messages and I received some very hostile ones, but then Facebook smashed
me in the face around the end of that same year.
Facebook limits one to 5000
“friends” which is something I don’t understand, but I always have close to
5000 “friends” and over 2000 “friend” requests pending. Out of the 5k “friends” I have,
I probably have met about 200 in person, and know about 25 pretty well and 10
very well. Also, out of the 5k, I know I only see posts from about 50 of them. I
do have a “fan” page for my radio show that people can just “LIKE” and I have
almost 12k “LIKES” on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.
One of the reasons that I am
embarking on a PFbB is that Facebook (Fb) gives false bravado to social cowards.
Many people write things on Facebook that they would NEVER, EVER say to another
if they were actually Face-to-Face with them.
“FACE”book? A lot of these
socially backward cowards don’t even use their real names or photos. This is
usually a big tipoff to how their discourse will be.
It seems a lot of times on Fb,
if one does not agree with something that another posts, that person is
automatically a “retard” (yes, people still use that word); “a plant;” or, the
ultimate FB slander, “a troll.” Just because a person posts an opinion that you
strongly disagree with, that person is not necessarily an “evil, moronic,
douchebag.” That person may be an “evil, moronic, douchebag,” but he/she could
also be a very nice person with shallow political analysis or understanding. Fb has created a
fake paradigm where if you don’t agree with someone 100%, then that other
person is value-less.
I will give an example of how
low the discourse has sunken on FB. Just yesterday, an Obama supporter equated
me with Ayn Rand on his wall because I posted something about not worshipping
Democrats or living in fear of the Tea Party.
To compare me to Ayn Rand doesn’t even
make sense in the abstract, but in the concrete, if the person bothered to
check, I am a Socialist…I believe in the strength of society. Ayn Rand was the
opposite of that. She only believed in Ayn Rand and what Ayn Rand could squeeze
out of her followers AND the government before she died. Why didn’t that man
post the reasons that he did worship the Democrats and live in fear of the Tea
Party? That would have been more healthy and could have elevated the
discourse that, instead, instantly degenerated to name-calling.
I do grow weary of the posts
by people who want to blame everything that is wrong with the world on the Tea
Party—like everything was hunky dory until it reared its ugly head. I don’t
support the Tea Party, but honestly, what have the Democrats done for you
lately? Ted Cruz is a jerk and so is Obama but neither one is the problem. The problem
is a systemic issue and hacking at the branches will just make the hacker tired
and the mess far bigger. Try to say something like that on FB and you get
trounced because it’s difficult to attack the root. I often wonder what kind of
response Henry David Thoreau would have received on Fb?
Henry (WaldenRocks) David status update:
“For every one thousand hacking at the branches, there is one attacking the
Ralph Waldo E, Jon Gold and 1048 others
#WhigOut “Come on, Hank, you Torietard!
You can’t honestly believe that those coc%suc%ing Tories aren’t evil revivalist
devils hell bent on destroying the planet? Vote Whig, or stay on your pond,
#GiveMeLiberty: “Vote for Ron Paul,
LOL. I know hash tags are
Twitter devices, but they are making their insidious little ways on to Fb,
Many of my friends, real and
only imagined in the Fb world, (how do I know that even if a “real” name and
photo are used, that it’s a real identity? I don’t and neither do you), are
struggling publicly on Fb with homelessness, depression, quitting smoking,
weight, etc., and that’s their choice to do so. I guess FB is their support
group, although sometimes there are pitifully few responses to the cries for
It distresses me no end when
someone that I don’t know (and it happens often) says that they are going to
kill themselves in their status updates. What am I supposed to say, “don’t do
it, you have a lot to live for?” It depresses me to know that Fb is the only
place these people have to go for help? There are no loved ones they can call?
No one to reach out to? Or are they just desperate for attention? It is also
hard because I believe that if a person in his/her right mind wants to decide
when his/her life should end, they have that right. However, is Fb a good place
to adjudicate that terribly painful and delicate issue? Maybe Fb has saved some
lives, but it seems like such a superficial place to discuss something so
Then there’s what I call the
“Petition Syndrome. “Please share” this petition because, despite all evidence
to the contrary, if we get signatures and if we present our petition to the 1%
or their politicians, then wars, global warming, nuclear power, torture,
exploitation, would end. If I don’t sign/share a FB person’s petition, then I
am a prima donna asshole, but I would like to write a petition to get people
off their asses and to hit the streets.
For me, Fb has proven to be a
horrible organizing tool. Attendance at protests/teach-ins/rallies/bike rides
has gone down since the advent of “clicktivism.” Clicktivism is a subset of the
Petition Syndrome. I don’t think Fb is solely to blame for the waning
attendance. Insane allegiance to the “two” party system hurts social and
political organizing, but the Internet, in general, has harmed street heat.
Many of my friends tell me that phone trees got more people out back in the
day. However, with Fb, why should we go out to protest when we can bitch all
day about what we hate AND see all of our “friends” with a click of our mouse
or tap of our mouse pad?
Then there is this minor
thing I have about FB, but something that I have allowed to get under my skin:
I am sorry, but I don’t really need to know everything you eat, drink, think,
or do. I don’t know anyone, not even my dear, beloved grandchildren that I want
to know EVERYTHING about. It seems that some people use Fb as extensions of
their thought processes. I could use the BLOCK function, and I do use it
liberally, but then these people freak out on me and it’s easier just to hide
their posts, but it annoys me that people think thousands of people really want
to see pictures of their food, or have a detailed account of their every movement, bowel or otherwise.
I had a "friend" who blocked me
because I ride a bike (yes, I am not exaggerating, he thinks cyclists are evil
and walkers are morally superior), but he posts pictures of the vegan Indian
food he cooks. I assume he still does this, but I don’t know because I am the
blocked evil cyclist. I finally told him, “Alex, I am a vegan and I love vegan
Indian food, but your photos look like you took a picture of your toilet bowl
after a nasty bout of stomach flu.”
It is my opinion, that it's cool to
share recipes, "to do" lists (especially if that list includes shutting down
Monsanto, or something), but can we allow for some mystery in our lives and computer
screen relationships? It's tragic that I know more about some people I have never met then my high-school best friend or my last boyfriend.
I almost exclusively use my Fb for
political posts and other news that I consider relevant. Once in awhile, I will
share a picture of one of my grandchildren, or write about something adorable
that one of them did or said, and I am not against using your own wall for whatever
you want to use it for, but that stuff creeps onto my wall like the worst graffiti.
I guess, when you come right
down to it, my observation is that Fb does not build healthy relationships but
Fb builds those walls that block relational, physical presence. It’s too easy
to jump down someone’s throat, or foist ill-formed and uninformed opinions on
others. Even though I don’t let anyone push me around online, or in real time,
for example, if a waitperson gets my order wrong, I am not going to say, “what
the hell’s the matter with you, you stupid c*nt.” I have seen that kind of
behavior too often on Fb for it to be anomalous.
For any of the times I have
exhibited the behavior that I am grumping about here, I am ashamed of myself
and apologize. I really do get Facebook induced grouchiness, so I have to
remove myself, at least temporarily, or maybe, for good!
Facebook may have been
designed, or is now being used by the establishment to construct these walls to
block healthy human interaction and like anything else, needs to have a place, time
and perspective. Anything can become an addiction if we allow it.
The “creator” (some say,
stealer) of Fb, Mark Zuckerberg is laughing all the way to the bank. I recently
read that Zuckerberg purchased four houses in his exclusive Palo Alto
neighborhood so someone who may want to be his neighbor, cannot (as if), while
we are calling each other “douchebag” and willfully handing over our
information to be easily harvested by the NSA.
There are probably at least one-million things I have posted on Fb that have annoyed/angered people, so I don't want to appear to be a Judy Judger. These are just my own
observations and are not intended to offend anyone, but if you see yourself in
these words, it’s a chance to evaluate your own relationship to Fb, or to keep
going the way you’re going, whatever. Your wall, your posts; if you are happy with your
Fb life, then by all means forge ahead. You obviously don’t need my approval or
I had email buddies from around the world before Fb and I think I will have them Post-Fb. I feel like Fb is "Life-blocking" me and I want to do what Walt
Whitman exhorted us to do:
“This is what you shall do; Love the
earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that
asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to
others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence
toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man
or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young
and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every
season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school
or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very
flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words
but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your
eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
These are some of the things I am
going to do besides hatch FB all day:
Write (books and blogs)
Read (books and blogs)
Run for Governor of
Expand Cindy Sheehan’s
Play with grandbabies
Train for a 5k I signed up
for that’s on Thankstaking
Smell the REAL flowers
Play with a REAL puppy or
Make at least one new friend in a Face-to-face
Walk the dog
Make yummy vegan food, sans
Think things that I don’t put
on a status update
Undermine the Empire
In the meantime, if you'd like to get a hold of me, this is the old-fashioned way: