Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Zuckerberg’

I’ve been thinking a lot about Facebook.

I had just posted my last essay “That’s HOT” when it went down this week. Only one “like” and no comments? I kept trying to refresh, and wondered for a second, “Could I have said something that violated their rules and regs?” What rules and regulations? So I posted a plea on Twitter – “Was Facebook HACKED?”

A woman I wasn’t following answered with some information about a guy who could help me get back into Facebook. I didn’t go there, because I don’t click on stuff like that from someone I don’t know; luckily, because Twitter took her Tweet down later.

Now I started to wonder if it really was all about ME?! We humans are so self-centered. I had to reread my post. Then phew, it wasn’t just me because Lo and Behold this popped up on Twitter:

“Not only #Facebook ‘s 3 Social Media platforms are down.. Even #Facebook Inc ‘s internal company servers are down.”

I have to confess I didn’t miss Facebook. Not one iota. So I asked myself why do I even check in and start scrolling down its pages?

  • To see and respond to comments on this WordPress blog
  • To read a lovely plethora of best birthday wishes
  • To like pictures of friends’ and relatives’ children
  • To love pictures of friends’ and relatives’ animals
  • To occasionally watch a cute Corgi video
  • To post increasingly sad and sardonic political news

I remember the Rocker telling me almost 15 years ago that Facebook was so over; he immediately captured my image in a straw hat and signed me up for Instagram. But over the past few years I’ve grown tired of shouting into my own echo chamber. I’ve unfriended bullying right wing people. I never click on a Facebook ad, although I’ve been known to regularly do this on Instagram… a platform now owned by Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook.

And I’ve been listening to smart people talk about algorithms. How each thumbs up “Like” we click on helps Facebook computers funnel more of the same content into our news feed, amplifying our own thoughts and desires. I began to understand how misinformation breeds and grows into division.

I always thought the Facebook platform was a solipsistic waste of time, but now I’ve come to believe it is much worse. And the phrase that knocked me over the edge, that stayed lodged in my brain like an ear worm was that these algorithms are, “commodifying our attention.” In other words, Marky Mark Z is selling our information and our time to the highest bidder.

And let’s face it, we Boomers don’t have a helluva a lotta time left! Yes, Facebook helped connect the Arab Spring but it also helped connect the Proud Boys. It helps you plan a high school reunion, but it also reminds you of recent memories when we weren’t all wearing masks. It hits the highs and lows of this human experience on its screen, but I’ve decided I want more highs and lows “In Real Life.”

I don’t need any extra aggravation, thank you very much. A temporary fix for your Facebook news feed can be found here:

“Facebook is now making these “Favorites” and “Recent” filters much more prominent, putting them right at the top of the News Feed as separate tabs that users can switch between.” 

https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/31/22359782/facebook-news-feed-turn-off-algorithmic-ranking-favorites-most-recent-filter-bar

Finally, I’m about to break up with Facebook. I’ve grown tired of looking at myself in its mirror. Please don’t hate me.

Read Full Post »

I started off in 1966 at a college in Beacon Hill. Our children were born in the Berkshires. We spent every Spring on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve always loved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I remember fondly strolling around the Boston Commons watching the gorgeous swan boats in the pond. So I was a tad surprised when Bob mentioned, “the tragedy of the commons” while we were listening to President Cuomo. Our lives in New England were the opposite of tragic!

Turns out this is the perfect term to describe where we find ourselves today – starting to reopen the country amid a cultural war over masks.

“The tragedy of the commons is an economic problem in which every individual has an incentive to consume a resource at the expense of every other individual with no way to exclude anyone from consuming. It results in overconsumption, under investment, and ultimately depletion of the resource. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, every individual who consumes an additional unit directly harms others who can no longer enjoy the benefits. Generally, the resource of interest is easily available to all individuals; the tragedy of the commons occurs when individuals neglect the well-being of society in the pursuit of personal gain.”  https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tragedy-of-the-commons.asp

Bob usually has no luck trying to interest me in economics, but this was different, it’s behavioral economics. The tragedy (sometimes called “paradox”) of the commons refers to selfish individuals going after a “common” resource, like toilet paper, only to undermine its infrastructure causing the total collapse of the resource. And supposedly its origin is from the Old English – 18th Century settlers who would let their animals out to graze in the park at the center of town, the commons. This would result in very little park left for the people, or the animals for that matter.

Remember, in Europe only the wealthiest landowners had beautiful parks and gardens behind high, closed walls to enjoy. Designing parks in the center of our colonial cities represented America’s wish to avoid another class/caste system. And so we had a paradox. Over time, the “tragedy of the commons” came to represent not just landscape destruction, but road and bridge decay as well. It became a metaphor for power and authority trampling over the common good.

Whenever the ME became more important than the WE.

Last night I tuned into Netflix to watch The Great Hack. It is a stunning documentary that helps to explain how we actually got here in the first place! I’ve become accustomed to seeing ads for something I was looking up on one site appear on another, but I had no idea how incredibly my data, and yours, have been harvested, tracked and targeted – in particular by governments and political parties. The film delves into Cambridge Analytica, and how they weaponized our data to influence our 2016 election.

Maybe you’re not one to watch horror movies during a pandemic, but this shows you how, without a drop of blood, Mr T the first ME president, was elected by 0.23% in Michigan!

“…this data trail is being leveraged against us, every day: to sell us things, get us to vote or to stay home from the polls, to divide or unite us according to the whims of whoever has paid enough to take our digital threads and weave them into a web of their own desires….

It uses the scandal as a framework to illustrate the data mining structures and algorithms that are undermining individual liberty and democratic society, one Facebook like and meme at a time.”  https://www.wired.com/story/the-great-hack-documentary/

It’s strange isn’t it? The Boston Tea Party of 1773 kicked off our liberation from colonialism, and Mark Zuckerberg turned a dating site for Harvard’s elite students into a data capturing monolith. From his dorm room, long after I was walking through the Commons to Filene’s Basement. Could it be that this great technological connection we are all needing more and more, isn’t at all about the WE?

IMG_7672

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: