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What Do We Do About Facebook?

I’m talking for free
I can’t stop myself, it’s a new religion
I’ve got something to see, I can’t help myself, it’s a new religion

— “New Religion”, Duran Duran

I believe that we have entered a new dimension, a bit like The Twilight Zone but more sinister and potentially damaging.  It is no longer simply about the administration, or the judges, or the courts, or the Congress.  This is about how we relate to the world and consequently to each other on a truly human, daily, emotional basis.

The advent of click-bait media has shoved us, mostly without our knowledge and while our attention was elsewhere, into a place where we are all subjects of and beholden to powers that we have no control over or even knowledge of.

The recent Facebook meltdown is like watching the slow motion demise of a facelift gone bad as it sinks and sags into an unrecognizable mass of tired, aged, flesh.  I’m sure they’ll go back in for a nip and tuck and come up with a fresh new set of eyes with which to view the world and with that, a fresh new set of clicks and likes with which we will be baited to amend and attach into our lives as well.  Most will do just that; forgiveness is a human trait of the highest order.  Second chances are the stuff of legend.

But this is not a human we are forgiving.  This is not even anything that resembles humanity any more than our toasters and coffee makers, while servicing our daily need for sustenance, should be ceded the respect and position of something that professes a personality of sorts; a set of traits that we embed and imbue onto our basic premises for living.

Yet that is exactly what Facebook has become and intends to continue doing as it marches further into our psyches and our futures as an integral part of our very fiber of life.  They said it from the beginning with every action they took.  They have touted their subscriber numbers more frequently and fervently than any religion ever has and now, like Mormonism, have taken to spouting fake numbers and fake news, and fake facts that their devoted masses parrot and trumpet and push out to all the other inductees in the very fervent Faith of Facebook.

Facebook is not God.  Facebook is not even a god.

Yet Facebook would have us believe that everything it prints and promotes is verified, factual, real, and something that we all should follow in order to be in lock-step with all our other followers.  Even the terms are pseudo-religious. Who has followers if not a religion………..or a cult?  The like button is akin to genuflecting and making the sign of the cross as you enter into the Temple of Facebook each time.  And the rewards of getting liked back keep the masses feeling sated, happy, and content that they are surrounded by others of their same, silky, simpering, ilk.

Unless they’re not.  Happy that is.

Then Facebook, like the very best rabble-rousers and rapscallions of history, also has a place to foment hate, divisiveness, anger, and now even action.  Man against the Machine.  Only the machine we should be looking at is the tablet in front of our face and not the ideology that is being portrayed on it. Good or bad, agree or disagree;  Facebook, as with all media, should come with…….

A Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency of the U.S. government…….or Facebook…..or any human being, real or imagined.

“What Do We Do About Facebook?”

Much like the Samuel French play; “What Do We Do About Henry?” where Henrietta becomes overly intrusive and organizationally inclined to sort out the lives of all those around her, Facebook is determined to sort out and direct all of our lives and, in doing so, has succeeded in aiding and abetting a panoply of virtual criminal elements in the world at large who have now inflicted and influenced us into the mess of a world we are left with in their wake as their ship of success steams onward.  After all, India has billions of folks not yet “connected”.

Personally, I am moving toward making my world Facebook-Free.

This will not be a simple or even particularly pleasant task.  I am thinking of it as I do any substance abuse issue; alcohol, smoking, drugs, anything we do often and to our personal detriment and want to cease doing.  I actually see a need for Facebook Anonymous groups to start forming; support systems that will allow us to vent our lack of connectivity and perhaps listen to others and learn how others are overcoming their habits and substituting newer, healthier, pastimes.

I am lucky.  I have talents that are underused and could use some exercise.  Photography, writing, cooking; passions that I really believe have taken a hit because I’ve spent so much time in the last 10 years “connecting”.  I fear that loss of connectivity a bit.  I have truly enjoyed re-connecting with long-lost childhood friends and memories but I find that living so much in those pasts has stolen so much of my present.

So this is the start of my new direction.  I am, as yet, unsure of exactly how and when I will forever pull the plug.  Facebook does not make it easy and I want to make sure that my information is no longer accessible to those amorphous others who may want to use it for their own purposes.  Some research into how I unplug is needed and has already begun but this is my salvo across the Ship of Fools that we have all boarded.

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Robby Sherwin is a writer/photographer who splits his time between Portland, OR and Key West.  His roaming mind bounces off topics from politics to family.  His past and future musings may be found on pdxwiz.wordpress.com

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