Our world is increasingly wrapped up in itself. Not only do people spend much of their time peering into the smartphone screen as if their lives depended on it, the phenomenon of Facebook has altered the way people connect. Of course, Facebook is a goldmine of data for those who mine it; no matter how strict one cinches the privacy settings, there is no absolute guarantee that “what you put out there”, what you post, is truly secure. It’s becoming more apparent daily that prospective employers and even the police use social media to see other people’s lives.
I used to be “on Facebook” (as if it’s some kind of drug, which I suppose in a way it is). I first signed up and posted as a way of keeping in touch with my grown children who lived thousands of miles away, and although the two oldest are still in its clutches, I opted out. Even before the stories wafted through the Web that Facebook provided a way for corporations and the government to peep on posters, I had a run-in with the Facebook minions. I was visiting my mother to help her out while my father was in the hospital; I made the silly error of attempting to log-on to Facebook using my father’s computer. After a little dance back and forth with the Facebook minions (trying to explain why they were having trouble matching my log-in credentials with his computer–as he was also on Facebook) I received a request to send a copy of my driver’s license. That was the straw. I closed and deleted my account, and never looked back.
What I have noticed since is that I no longer have the anxiety of wondering whether I have enough likes. My energy is freed to pursue other, more satisfying ventures. However, the Facebook monster is still out there–many sites prefer that you log in using your FB account (they let you use your email, but this is more of a conciliatory gesture ensconced in smaller text), and many online contests only allow you to enter via Facebook. So the system is still heavily invested in the FB society, encouraging people to stay hooked in. And until we all evolve past having to connect in this way, I’ll just stay on the outside and observe. I don’t miss it.