Why I hate Facebook, but can’t leave


Why I hate Facebook, but can’t leave

Disregarding the furor over Cambridge Analytics for a moment, let’s look at the reasons to hate Facebook.

Trying to find a post I saw recently is next to impossible, even if I remember the name of the person who posted it. Checking his or her timeline doesn’t always bring up the particular post. So I switch from my computer to my phone where I first saw the post. Not only is it not there, the current posts on my phone do not match the current posts on my computer. What the…?

Reruns are only good when it’s Buffy or The Big Bang Theory. When a post’s original date is March1, why am I seeing it again on March 10? And no, it’s not from someone who reposted it.

More annoyances:

Strangers: Posts from people I don’t know, have never heard of.

Headlines: One screams “Meghan’s rare fashion faux pas revealed.” I click out of curiosity only to learn that she forgot to remove the loose cross-stitching that holds the vent of a coat while being transported. Oh no, stop the world, I need to get off.

Expert advice: Without the name of the author or their credentials to substantiate the validity of their material I’m supposed to take it for gospel truth. “14 things to never eat again” “8 exercises you’re not doing correctly” And I’m supposed to believe this because…?

Opinions: Another post tells me women over 53 should not wear jeans. As if! “Chicklet, I’ll be wearing jeans when I’m 90.”

Click bait: 21 ways to…. and I have to click 21 times? No thanks.

Ads: Arrrgh! Just because I looked up a dress on the Guess website does not mean I want to see it another 374 times.

Bad news and more bad news: Pollution, Trump, Putin, pollution, Trump, Putin….

And that’s not even getting into the heavy duty stuff like bots and election manipulation and surveys such as this:

Facebook wanted to know in a survey if an adult asking a 14-year-old for nude photos was acceptable. The questionnaire gave multiple response options, like “This content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it.” One option that was absent: inform the authorities. Facebook’s product VP Guy Rosen called the question a “mistake.” More.

Why don’t I just close my account?

Because there are good things happening too.

Many of my friends post the most amazing stuff. Great pictures of their travels or their professional photography, news of life in Churchill, Manitoba, for example, and what they saw in DC at the March for Our Lives. Information that I would dearly miss without Facebook.

I love the posts from sites like AJ+ One of women on TV in Afghanistan talking about women’s rights or of another Afghani woman writing a university entrance exam while nursing her baby are two examples I saw recently.

And how would a modern labor movement organize something as expansive and coordinated as a state-wide strike? Well, it turns out the answer is Facebook. Over 24,000 teachers and public employees joined a private Facebook group that became the headquarters, forum, and meme factory for the massive teachers’ strike in West Virginia. That strike shuttered every public school in the state for nine days, until the teachers’ demands were met.

And how would the March for Our Lives fared without social media?

And how would I keep in touch with friends and family all over the world or keep tabs on my new heroes, Emma, David, Cameron et al without Facebook?

Still when I read articles like this, I worry that I’m not being cautious enough and should close my account.

Are you on Facebook? Have you closed your account? How worried do you think we should be?



Now, to handle the media….

Facebook, The New York Times, Twitter, CNN, MSN, magazine, gossip rags, blogs … really, what is one to believe?

Now, to handle the media....

Meditation and yoga to help kids? You hit the share button. Then someone comments, “Who are the behavioral specialists and who pays them? This seems like it would take some extra funding. They do this in Baltimore in a underprivileged neighborhood? Really?

Mind moves to, “All schools should do this, if it’s true.”

Now, to handle the media....

4Ocean–two young guys trying to do their bit by cleaning up garbage from beaches. Awesome! Let’s send a donation. Then someone claims it’s all a scam. You do some digging. Scam. Scam. Scam. But wait, the BBB says they are legit. But, is the BBB site you’re looking at legit?

Mind moves to, “How can I help, if it’s true.”

Now, to handle the media....

Headlines scream from the magazine rack. Brad and Jennifer reuniting now that they’re both single. Not a chance, screams the next.

Mind moves to, “Ooh, how romantic! If it’s true.”

Now, to handle the media....

Twins? Wait a minute. The palace always makes formal announcements. Not a family member herself.

Mind moves to, “Gotta be fake, but … perhaps best to wait and see.

So do we give up? Stop reading the news? Research endlessly before we decide to believe? Go with our gut? Or, move to a desert island?



Reading reviews – a huge mistake?


I’m reading 419 by Will Ferguson—a powerful story, well told, with turns of phrase that delight.

Storms without rain. Winds without water. She woke, and when she sat up, the dust fountained off her and the voice that accompanied her once again stirred, once again whispered, “Get up. Keep walking. Don’t stop.

Vivid imagery abounds.

Zuma rock denoted not only the traditional geographical centre of Nigeria-the “navel of the nation” as it was known-but also the border between the sha’ria states of the north and the Christian states of the sough. Zuma rose up, rounded and sudden, on striated cliffs etched by a thousand years of rainfall and erosion. The ridges carved down its sides were the sort of lines that might be left by acid or tears.”

A woman from Canada, a girl from the north, a young man from the Delta, and a 419er. How will the lives of these disparate characters be woven together? I’m fascinated, enthralled, eager to read each evening, yet dreading the end, dreading the time when the story will be only a memory. The narrative makes me cringe and cry. I know this is a book I will read more than once.

I email my young Nigerian friend to tell him about the novel. He responds:

“ 419 – an internet scam organized by Nigerian scammers (aliases: Yahoo Boys, G-Boys). 419 is an alias that dates back to the past (I believe 1994-1997) in Nigeria, when innocent people, mainly teenagers, were repeatedly abducted and killed. Their bodies or body parts were then used for big money rituals.
I’ve come across painful remarks on Twitter, Facebook, and some other interactive sites about Nigerians being fraudsters. That they target white people and rob them of their money using various means; including telling them pitiful stories just to incite their help.”

I’m about three quarters of the way through the book at this point and the urge to learn more about Ferguson’s research can no longer be ignored. Googling proves to be a huge mistake. The first items that come up are reviews from highly respected sources, and while they don’t lambaste the book, they do contain enough negative comments to diminish my pleasure in the reading and cause a rather sour feeling.

I turn away from the computer in disgust, push the reviews out of my mind, and return to my Kindle. I refuse to let someone else’s opinion color my own judgment, my own enjoyment of the novel.

Sitting now, writing this, I wonder if I should stop writing reviews. Am I guilty of spoiling another’s enjoyment, of perhaps causing someone, because of my arrogance, to dismiss a novel without even giving it a chance? Conversely, does a review I write of a book I love convince a reader to pick up that book only to find that it doesn’t work for them? What makes me think I can or should pass judgment for another reader?

But the author in me craves reviews. They’re our “word of mouth” and vital to marketing. If we’re to have sales at all, we need people talking about our books, reviewing them, recommending them to fellow readers.

Amazon sends me emails. “So, Darlene Jones, how did this item meet your expectations?” Do I answer? What do I say? My own sister, daughter, and aunt don’t always like the books I deem worthy of their time.

Yes, I did write a review for 419. Book buyers may or may not read it. They may or may not take it to heart in their decision making, but I’ve decided writing reviews is my obligation to fellow authors. It’s my “word of mouth” gift to them. I hope readers of my books will do the same for me.