“Internet Storm” artwork by Tomas Czerwinski at http://canvas.pantone.com/gallery/32856579/Internet-Storm
Happy Friday, everyone!
I know that I have been MIA for quite some time now, and I have strong hope that I will be fully back within the next couple of weeks, but until then I just wanted to express my thoughts and concerns revolving around a certain topic. This is more or less to let people know on my Social Media what is going on (in case they happen to care) and to sort of document my own journey through social media (particularly Facebook).
This week, I recieved an e-mail that directed me to this article.
I was more annoyed than anything else, because I believe in a lot of things, so I wouldn’t put it past The Internet/ Facebook to sell our information to 3rd parties, yada yada yada… but the article did get me thinking:
How much time am I actually wasting my life away online?
My sister said something very profound a few months back. In reference to the Internet and Facebook usage, she (who does not use any social media outlets) said, “It’s all fake, anyway. It’s this world that people have created to influence others and pretend that their lives are perfect. It’s for people who are bored.”
Those words stung a little bit, because I use social media a LOT. So, when she pointed out the obvious yet painful truth, I had to give pause and consider myself.
I had been feeling overwhelmed, anyway, with my online usage. It creeped me out that Facebook was now using facial recognition to tag me in photos that others posted. Further more, I have a daughter. Her story is not my story to tell. She is seven years old, and already, all over the internet is a documentation of her life. From the day she was born all the way up to now. All those little statuses about her taking her first steps, with video. Or the little conversation we had the other day that I thought was cute, or bath time fun, or the time she went to the movies with Mimi, or…whatever. It’s documented, online. I hope that I am wrong, but there is a part of me that wonders if something sinister is going on online. I am forever grateful that my generation was the last to grow up without an online footprint…but it begs the question, “ Why don’t we give our children the right to choose?”
Look, I am not saying that everyone has to delete Facebook right away, but I want my daughter to have her own freedom to share what she does and doesn’t want to online, when the time comes. Right now, she doesn’t have an internet profile, but soon enough, she will. I want to be respectful of what she chooses to do, or not to do. I’m not asking my friends or family to delete my daughter from their social medias, but I will ask them to strongly consider what they are posting.
Further more, I realized how depressing Social Media can be. I would find myself scrolling through Social Media and feeling depressed because I wasn’t doing exactly what my friends were doing, or I didn’t look like that youtube celebrity, or whatever. So now, not only was I wasting my time being unproductive, I was wasting my time being unproductive AND getting really depressed over it! Ugh.
So, with all of these thoughts rolling around, I decided that I was going to scale back with my presence on social media. I reviewed my 3rd party app usage on the site, as well as deleted every single one of my “interests,” so that advertisers couldn’t reach me. Side note: I usually HATE ramen noodles, and have never “liked,” or posted anything regarding ramen noodles online, but the other day when I was in the hospital waking up from a procedure, I said that I wanted ramen. Logged into Facebook the next day, and there was not only an add for ramen noodles, but it had suddenly appeared in my “interests,” page. Now, Facebook says that they are not listening in to our conversations, but I can tell you that MANY people have encountered similar experiences to mine. The fact that this article exists pretty much says it all.
I took it a step further and deleted my tags, my personal photos and videos (after saving them all) and the posts that were totally irrelevant. Upon doing this, I realized that a lot of Facebook is totally bullshit. It’s a time waster, and the shit you post really doesn’t hold much merit… I found many posts from TEN years ago that were not only embarrassing, but just stupid. (Remember when everything on Facebook started with “Stephanie is….” and then we had to fill in the blanks?) Anyway, this process took the better part of two full days. I was, and am committed to reducing my online footprint. Facebook makes it challenging to accomplish this feat, though. For albums that you create, it is simple to download and delete the entire album, but for the Facebook-based albums such as “Profile pictures and Mobile Uploads,” you have to save the entire album and then manually delete each individual photo. For your news feed, you go to your “wall” (as we used to call it) and scroll down until you see a drop down menu for the year and month you wish to sort through, then you painstakingly delete each individual post that you made. It is tedious work. Once you think you’re finished, you have to refresh the page and check a second and even a third time to make sure that everything you wanted deleted was deleted. If I posted on the 22, 23, 24, and 25th days of a month, for example, or posted multiple times in one day, Facebook’s algorithm would only show me a few posts, and I would have to refresh to get every single post that was made during that time frame. For example, Facebook would show me 2 posts from the 22nd, and then one post made on the 24th. I had to refresh to see my 3 posts that I made on the 23rd and the two posts that I made on the 25th. That is sneaky!
I don’t have a personal vendetta against Facebook or anything. I just want my privacy to be respected, I guess. It gives me peace of mind. I deleted the apps from my phone as well, and when my best friend asked me why, I told him, “mostly because I feel like it.”
I feel like the way we choose to use or not to use social media should be exactly the same as what one prefers when it comes to watching television: Do you like to binge watch on netflix or do you still own cable? It should be that simple. I’m not telling people what to do with their lives or online presence, but I am saying what I did with mine.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
I should be back within the next few weeks to blogging. I am also in the midst of a few other projects that I will be announcing over the next few months as they roll out.