Something I posted on facebook last week

Alright, this is going to be a very long post – so buckle up. On April 3rd I left social media, ostensibly because I was too busy to spend/waste time posting memes. Like many of you I struggle a great deal with my mental health – namely depression, social anxiety and health anxiety. I find social media to be very unhealthy for me in this regard, for the following reasons:

1) Twitter especially, but facebook also, tend to be an arena of people being offended by things, and other people insulting them for being offended about those things. It’s constant adversarial rhetoric from all sides, with ideologues seeing everything through the prism of their specific bias, and none of this has any bearing on reality as I experience it

2) Mass media controlling thought. All mainstream media is fed by an agenda, and there are no ‘good’ agendas – not even the ones you happen to agree with. Every piece of ‘news’ is carefully selected, groomed and manipulated to make you feel a certain way (usually scared). It’s all designed to drive a wedge in between people, because this is how money is made and companies, countries and factions stay in business

3) Privacy. As I predicted in my best-selling novel ‘It Looks Like You’re Writing a Letter’ (available on Amazon) we have become our data, we are bought and sold and marketed to relentlessly and largely without our full cognisance. Your phone listens to your conversations and serves adverts to you based on them. Facebook, google etc scrape your life and use it to perniciously pump ‘tailored content’ into your eyes. It leads to more confirmation bias and manipulation of your reality – you are the product.

So I thought deeply about what I actually gain from social media – I give them my data, what do I get in return? Twitter was easy to dispose of, I deactivated my account by default by refusing to accept their new T&Cs in light of GDPR. Facebook is harder, because all my friends are here.

But then it hit me – that’s the problem.

Because all my friends are here, I’m drawn here regularly, refreshing my news feed, kidding myself that I’m learning something, keeping connected, being a ‘good friend’ by liking your posts, or pretending I’m popular when I post a funny joke and a few people lol.

You are the logs in facebook’s furnace of attention.

So am I.

So why haven’t I deleted my facebook account? Well, I find the groups and pages useful for finding creative opportunities and self-development content and support. There are still certain content providers that supply links to interesting long-form articles. I don’t read the news, I don’t visit news websites, the only magazines I read are Wired and Positive News. I need some fresh content occasionally.

To this end, I’ve done something drastic. I’ve unfollowed every single last man jack of you. This is not a commentary on your content or our friendship or anything like that. But you are the logs in facebook’s furnace of attention. I remove the logs, and I don’t visit as often or stay, and when I’m here I’m benefitting in an amount commensurate with the price I pay for it (my data). I remove the logs, and I pay a lower price, by interacting less and giving less data.

I urge you to do the same – unfriend/unfollow me by all means, it’s unlikely I’ll be posting much if at all and when I do it will be sporadic and self-serving.


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