Fight back against Facebook craze with antisocial media
Enough already with gushing over “social media.”
Let's counter that modern mania with some antisocial media — and not just in this cranky column.
Why not reverse the smarmy trend of “liking” and “friending” on Facebook with “disliking” and “enemying” on Inyourfacebook?
OK, so Facebook, Twitter and other social media have enhanced global communication. They've even advanced human rights by outflanking, via their expansion of free speech, authoritarian regimes that have ample reason to fear the unfettered flow of information.
But despite social media's liberating effects, and the inescapable reality that times are forever changing, the constant, cheerleading reminders of its forward march have grown intolerably grating.
So have the disdainful looks that the social media's swelling legions of fans aim at the dwindling ranks of us non-social-media types.
See, not all of us want to “like” you or anybody else on Facebook.
And lots of us don't like Facebook — or Twitter, though YouTube is a hoot.
We also don't like the way Facebook has turned “friend” into a verb.
Facebook can even turn old friends against each other: A pal of mine for nearly half a century seems miffed at me for spurning his nagging to join the Facebook craze with a page of my own. While my buddy misinterprets my principled disinterest in his Facebook page as a personal affront, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbeg perceives principled purpose in his incredibly profitable enterprise.
Earlier this year, in his letter to potential investors as part of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) that sparked opening stock sales Friday, lifting Facebook's worth to $104 billion, Zuckerberg wrote:
“Most great people care primarily about building and being a part of great things, but they also want to make money. Through the process of building a team — and also building a developer community, advertising market and investor base — I've developed a deep appreciation for how building a strong company with a strong economic engine and strong growth can be the best way to align many people to solve important problems. Simply put: we don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”
Just like other “great people,” right?
Hey, if you made your first billion by age 24, and your next $18 billion by 28, you'd likely get a big head, too.
More lofty self-regard from Zuckerberg's letter: “We hope to strengthen how people relate to each other.”
So does communicating mostly by computer really “strengthen how people relate to each other”?
Haven't some Facebookers learned the hard way that the site's privacy protections aren't as effective as advertised? Didn't General Motors just conclude that Facebook advertising wasn't as effective as advertised?
Aren't Facebooking, tweeting, texting and Net surfing while walking, biking and driving hazardous for yourself and others? Aren't those habit-forming indulgences also obstacles to the old-fashioned virtue of taking sufficient time to think?
Sure, we hardheaded holdouts set in our antisocial-media ways resemble the foolish folks who responded to the advent of the automobile a century ago by yelling: “Get a horse!”
A dandy Paul Karasik cartoon in the May 7 New Yorker offers a similar reminder that stubborn resistance to the new is nothing new.
It shows a couple of medieval guys checking out what to them is a newfangled device — a book. One predicts: “Nice, but as long as there are readers there will be scrolls.”
And as long as there are written words, they will appear on venues that compete for readers' eyes.
Back to Facebook: The Post and Courier reported in typically fair and balanced fashion on Thursday's front page of our print edition (and on our website) that “many Lowcountry residents said Tuesday that the site has become ingrained in their everyday lives.”
Hmm. Maybe my creative inspiration for Inyourfacebook could produce some big bucks, too.
So consider this an IPO of sorts — and a help-wanted notice for anybody who could work up antisocial-media programs onto one of these infernal modern gadgets that requires passwords, uploads, downloads and “re-boots.”
Here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of a glorious counterrevolution in cyberspace.
But no, you can't sign up for this idea on Facebook. Nor can you make this savvy investment through PayPal.
And please, no personal checks.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.