The FB Dilemma

As you know, I’ve been away from the keyboards for a while now.  I’ve been out breaking all of my previous hiking records.  Not that those records were all that impressive to begin with, certainly not in comparison to people who have made truly long treks, like the Arizona Trail, or the Pacific Coast Trail, or the Appalachian Trail.

But to me, they are milestones.

I’m not only learning more about and experiencing Nature in its great diversity, which makes me really happy.  πŸ™‚ But I’m beginning to test my own limits and learning where I need to “tone-up.”  Both physically and mentally.

I’ve also been able to disconnect for a while from the machines – the computers, the touch screens, the digital world.

And now it may be difficult to come back – at least in part.

You see, now I have severe questions about social media, its supposed purpose, and what’s actually happening with it.

If you are living in the states, you may, or may not, remember when television switched from analog to digital.  There was sort of a behind the scenes panic.

The government stepped in to make sure people would at least have a free converter box, because in my view, the government didn’t want the non-stop drone of propaganda and advertising to stop – not even for an instant.  It was a massive and expensive intrusion into the living rooms of every American family.

Imagining that people would become disconnected from the screen and actually start thinking for themselves is a scary proposition.  It might lead to social unrest and reform.

Can’t have that.

And then social media began to creep into our lives.  You can argue about the vision the original proponents had about this all you want, but it’s become clear, sadly, that it’s not just commercialism driving its expansion.

Sure, social media offers us new avenues of communication.  Of reaching out and making new contacts, friends even.  Or with re-establishing old contacts with those who have gone off down other pathways.  And it may even help alleviate social isolation in certain ways.  But despite all of the alleged benefits and all of the hype, I’ve always found it a bit lacking.

I mean people staring at touch screens and sending each other emoticons is not exactly real social interaction.  There is no sound, no voice intonations, no nuance with body language to convey meaning.  No direct line of sight.  No smell, no touch.  No looking into an other’s eyes.  No common atmosphere.

It’s more holographic than real.

And many people don’t really care about issues of privacy.  They will put every bit of personal data, light or dark, out there for the whole world to see.  They might even have expressed the point of view that they have nothing to hide, so why not?  Who cares about the Fourth Amendment, and how does privacy affect personal freedom anyway?

But the real issues have been more insidious.  Those involving the misuse of data – your personal data.  In ways you may have never conceived before.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how specifically targeted ads are delivered to you in the sidebars of your email, Facebook, etc.  I order a product from Amazon, or something from E-Bay, or even mention a specific word in an email, and suddenly the ads roll on by – coming at me from all directions.  Designed to influence my buying decisions.  To capture my dollars.  ChaChing !

That’s because we’ve signed all of our privacy rights away in those terms and conditions of use for these online platforms.  They read all of our “personal” stuff.

They data-mine us.

And now we learn the mining is not just to try to sell us things we don’t need or want, but they sell the data to other companies for exploitation.  Our data.  To exploit us.  Mold and shape us.

The biggest scam yet, unfortunately, was the 2016 election.  Cambridge Analytica bought our data from Facebook.  And after collecting some 1500 to 4500 data points on each American citizen, and after analyzing and profiling that data, they targeted a small number of people in select counties of the US that they knew they could manipulate.

Brainwash is a better word.

And they pounded those folks with targeted advertisements and BS material to gain votes.  And they won the election for the highest bidder.  And they’ve done this in other countries before.

The public was side-tracked with the headlines focusing on the Russians trying to influence the election, but the real threat came from right here at home and the UK’s consulting firm.

Your personal data and your privacy do matter.

And for those who think they can’t possibly be manipulated by such tactics, well you must either be a very discriminating reader and be able to tune out all the background noise, or your decisions are influenced much more than you think.

I suggest you watch the documentary “The Great Hack.”

So this leaves me with a big dilemma.  Do I continue to use the most polluted and exploited social media platform out there to maintain contact with a select few individuals?  I mean most, “followers” and “friends” really don’t know me at all.  They don’t collect and analyze my data points.  They don’t even “like” my posts or communicate with me.  And there really is no solid point of reference for them to “like” me for being the person I am.

And of course, the data-miners may have me totally pegged by now anyway.

Analyzed, categorized, profiled, group-identified, labeled, designated, branded and tagged.  Does it matter if I continue to play their game or not?

I am a walking, taking, digital signature.

Regardless, I recognize a grave danger here, and it’s something I don’t really care to play a part of in anyway.  Or anymore.  So for the time being, I’m suspending my activity on FB.  They make it hard to disengage completely anyway, so that account will lay dormant. I’m trying to decide on my other accounts too.

Should I totally disconnect, return to all cash purchases, try to make myself untraceable?  It may be way too late.

And when you have a quiet moment away from all of the digital bantering, think.  Think.  Just let yourself think about what it is that is you.  What makes you, you, and not someone else.  And what it is that is being programmed or crammed in your head by others.

There is a difference.

In Metta


Photo: I came across this young and playful Black Bear yesterday and was absolutely thrilled to get this pic.  I love all of Nature and I have a particular fondness for the Bears.  I love their symbolism as well, and you can read about that in my prior post “The Bear.”

I chose this pic for this post, because to me, it represents the wisdom with being solitary, independent, and ferociously curious.  It is a strong and fearless spirit that engages in introspection, the digestion of knowledge, and the attainment of truth.  To be the Bear in this world may mean disconnecting to find meaning and clarity.  Better to walk your own path than one dictated and propagated by others.

Black Bear - 2A





37 thoughts on “The FB Dilemma”

  1. I find it more worrying that so many youngsters – who should be out there enjoying their expanding freedom and interacting – seem to think that online is a substitute for real life. And I’m not sure what we can do abut that.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with everything you say Earthwalking. I recently wrote a post similar to this. I feel technology is moving too fast and becoming too oppressive. I used to be on Facebook but I’m bored of it now and find it unrewarding so barely use it. I’m not on other social media. For me the most beautiful life is to be found in the arms of nature. I’m trying to limit my online time and get out more and read more. It’s much healthier.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Me too! πŸ˜€ By the way, a few years ago, I dreamed of paperless office or even life. But I realized, that I miss the feeling of a book. Reading on a device creates a different mood than reading a real book – I missed the smell and the touching of books, and I missed the special light only of my reading light. Now I’ve bought a stack of used books and enjoy reading again.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I feel the same. Books are little works of art you can carry away with you. Books get passed on to people. Books are personal. They have a picture on the cover. A fairytale book could be passed down generations. Reading a book doesnt hurt your eyes like devices do. Theyre also saying to limit phone time etc any way due to health concerns etc. I like vinyl too and collecting second hand records as opposed to digital music because again it’s a different feel and sound and you can hold the cover and look at the artwork. If artistic works all became digitised they could also be lost for future generations or altered or censored dependent on who controlled the digital books. Like in that movie equilibrium. Natural is better. And there is a whole world of second hand books.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yes, a whole world! And my reading world has become so much bigger since I am able to understand English! – Okay, right now I can only read books on Ken Follett level, but I’m super happy with that.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I spend very little time on FB, as it has always seemed a silly waste to me. I have family who use it, so I check in every couple weeks to say hi. I do love WP, however. I’ve met some nice, like-minded souls and feel richer for it. I think it all boils down to balance, the digital world shouldn’t outweigh the physical one.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For me, it is meanwhile boring to get these creepy advertisings after bying something on the internet. But I’m annoyed about my FB news feed, because the advertisings look exactly like private news. That drives me off FB – I don’t like it when FB thinks I’m stupid.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you and use social media sparingly and take it with a pinch of salt. Nature speaks and that’s the energy I thrive in. WP gifts connection with like-minded souls (like you) and Fb enables messaging with friends all over the world. Also, business-wise it gifts a spread that is mind bobbling. Does it need to be manipulated, therein trying to manipulate us? No, that will implode and fall back on those exercising that kind of power. Nature does not manipulate, nor try to control, she just β€˜is’. Hugs for you. X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my the little bear is adorable…..from the distance I suppose.😍
    As for data manipulation we watched a very interesting docudrama called Brexit about how votes/minds have been manipulated through the web, but I still have faith in β€œ libero arbitrio”….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The youngster bear was absolutely a joy to watch πŸ™‚ There does seem to be a trend world-wide of a return to nationalism and isolationism, along with racism. Sad really. I’m afraid I don’t have as much faith in human kind as you. Free Will doesn’t mean much when minds are easily manipulated and when greed is the main trait being taught in our society. I do hope people will wake up and sanity will return to government πŸ™‚


  6. I’ve been taking a break from the “social” media as well this month, considering making it a permanent thing. The longer I’m away, the more I’m convinced it just isn’t healthy for me. It stunts my relationship growth, provides a crutch for me to take fewer relationship leaps. I’m compiling thoughts this month for a blog post about it in January. Most fascinating so far, are the reactions from people that I tell that I’m leaving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we all need breaks for sure. I think for some people, being on social media has become so second nature they don’t realize just how sucked in they are. How much time and energy and anxiety comes from being on SM that serves no real positive purpose. There are exceptions, and I do enjoy being in the WP community.


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