What was the point … ?!

I think I was on Facebook for around 10 years, and Instagram for about 6 years. I certainly had a few laughs. I never really posted anything personal and often would enjoy a few jokes and get some news flashes. But I did have this constant nagging feeling that it was an unhealthy thing, with many dark sides, and that the world would be better off with out it. I never needed social media to be in business or make friends so when Facebook deleted me, I didn’t panic. I did sigh though and wonder about the world we live in. An AI bot must have zapped me because I posted an off kilter joke. Hardly the crime of the century, and considering my intention was to make people laugh, the sentence does seem a bit extreme. But the Zuck knows best, clearly. Now he looks like a guy who can make you laugh.

I have been off social media for 10 days now and I wonder what I actually was doing. I don’t feel I am missing anything. Is Facebook all about ego? Do we all need affirmation all the time? Was I like everyone else? Of course, we all have an ego, and every human being has insecurities. Was Facebook helping me to deal with mine? I am still thinking about this. I am discussing this openly here and I wondering what good came from all the years I was on Facebook. Did I learn a new skill or master a craft? Did I connect with people meaningfully or get closer to someone that is important to me. I don’t think so. Why then do we need these platforms? And are people addicted to these things?

I don’t think I ever showed off on Facebook but I know many people that do. Instagram, for example, is full of pictures of people loving life, in glamorous scenarios. Is this for real? Isn’t this insecurity we are seeing. Maybe I am being a bit cynical here, but I happen to know some people that are flashy on social media and their lives are not a bed of roses. So why all the pretending.

I think the youth are particularly vulnerable as these platforms are designed to be a drug. They figure out ways, with scientific precision, to push youngster’s buttons, and get them hooked. I don’t think it is healthy at all. What ever happened to playing outside and kicking a ball around. Those were good days. And it is all there still, ready for us. But the world is online, sadly, and life is passing by.

I used to use Facebook when on the toilet, waiting in a queue somewhere, and when I wanted to share some movie or work related news. It was a way to drum up support for a project, and even if it was slightly effective, I was convinced that every bit helps. I wonder if it did actually make a difference.

Let’s say I spent 10 to 15 minutes a day on Facebook. This is over an hour a week. That is 4 hours a month. That is two days out of the year. When you think of it like that, that is a lot of time. I would rather spend that time with my family and friends. And the Bunster needs all the time he can get with me.

Facebook certainly did provide some form of entertainment but I much rather prefer sitting back and relaxing with a good movie. But there never seems to be time. Hang on – from my simple calculation above I can watch more movies now. And there’s the thing. If you want to watch a film then go to a cinema or a streaming platform. If you want to read then pick up a book. If you want to laugh then check out a comedian. If you want the news then get a newspaper. We don’t need Facebook.

Have all of us become entertainers? Sit down comedians. Was that me? Is that what social media is about? One thing is for sure, everyone has an opinion on Facebook. Everyone has something to say online and some of it is pretty nasty, so best leave it alone. One could get caught up in an argument with people you hardly know, so quickly, and for what. Rather spend time with people and on things you love. Focus on something you are good at. Master a craft. Do something that adds real value to the world. Posting on Facebook adds nothing to the world.

The thing about technology is that it is meant to help us. And this is the paradox of progress. The more ways we invent to save time the less time we actually have. What value does Facebook add to the world? And it certainly does not save us time, so why do we need it? We are all slaves to technology. We need to control it, and not be controlled by it. We need less electronics in our lives. We need less digital and more analogue. Don’t get me wrong. I did have some fun with Facebook and it had some uses. I will miss seeing Greg on the island and Karl’s jokes were often very sharp. I am amazed he has not been kicked off for some of the things he posts. He has a wicked sense of humour – I like it.

What was the end result of my Facebook journey. Nothing. If you invest time in digital worlds it is very easy to land up with everything being erased, in a second. By an algorithm. Better to build things in the physical world, like real relationships, with real people. If you build a tree house it generally lasts but a virtual place, er, space, can very easily come to an abrupt and confusing end. Hackers can remove you and can cause trouble, and AI algorithms can decide you are not wanted anymore and voila, you are gone.

My closing thought: Perhaps Facebook is one big echo chamber.

PS – I usually posted these kind of jokes on Facebook and Instagram – enjoy.