This is not a defense of Facebook, but it is a criticism of how we think about it & act in a world where it is no longer seen as a company but a silicon appendage to the functioning & entertainment of society.
i have often heard people blame Facebook, even a couple of times recently, & i too in the past have been to blame for this, as if it were an annexation to the reborn old gods, a jacked in, downloaded addition, an upgrade, broadband brained & USB ports plugged into the world, where its fingernails might otherwise be. But what use has Facebook for fingernails?
People blame it for their addiction, they blame it for its existence, for its affect on them, for diverting their attention. i sort of understand: we like a scapegoat, someone to shift the blame to, then we don’t have to take responsibility. Unloading the blame on something for our drifted attention & difficulty concentrating, makes a malady of the problem, it becomes more serious & necessitates a push to act. It’s a bit like a crime committed by a mad man: the clinically insane man who commits the crime, though guilty, is cleared of any conscious wrong doing & the efforts of the law, are to fix the man, not punish.
However, Facebook isn’t sentient, it is a tool, a system of communication that we pack with friends & loved ones & yes, new acquaintances we met in a bar in Thailand, but who we have grown weary of, because they post too many selfies, had more holidays than us, or perhaps turned out to be someone with vile & heinous opinions on matters that are important to us.
We wrestle with Facebook, we blame it yet we cannot give it up, which we again blame on its gravity, suspending us in its orbit. But this is not why we are obsessed with it, we are obsessed with it, because we are obsessed with ourselves & the ones who we love.
Facebook is not sentient, it does not have opinions, it has no regard for human dilemmas, not even Zuckerberg is Facebook, he is a man. He doesn’t think like Facebook, because it doesn’t think, regardless the emoji & the algorithms.
Facebook is not one of the new gods. We are to blame if we filled it with undesirables or if we chose to click on it & indulge in its scrolls of abundant, spur of the moment & poorly fed content. Our content, the content of brains full with the garbage of boredom. If the algorithm spews out crap, that is not Facebook’s fault, it is because you are prone to acknowledge too much nonsense. Like the brain’s plasticity for memorization the algorithm too alters with the patterns of content you choose to entertain.
Facebook allows me to meet people with a knowledge i don’t possess & i have been introduced to many poets, thinkers & what not because of the people i chose to fill Facebook with, it has been a tool for good in my case; i have managed the content, to an extent.
Living so long, far from home, i started to utilize Facebook after a few months away, because i didn’t want to sever my ties with family & friends. i could speak with people in real time, my breakfast is just before Europe’s bedtime, my evening, just after breakfast in England. It has been useful in this purpose, it has kept the bonds of friendship.
Blame yourself for your addiction, because you filled Facebook, it asked nothing of you, its mouth zipped up with code.
i don’t mean to sound angry, but i do mean to sound curt. i am thinking a good deal about responsibility these days. We enjoy a great many freedoms nowadays & need to realize where they are & what they enable us to do & how we might live our life with them. i seem to be stumbling across a lot of self imposed barriers.
As always, the comments are below to disagree or to expand the discussion.