Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Breaking free from the ZuckerBorg

It's time for me to delete Facebook. 


Update: I just pushed the magic button after spending a good amount of time figuring out HOW to delete FB in the first place. They make it tricksy, those assholes. 

From what I've been told, we'll be receiving whiny emails for the next 30 days, and then they just might actually delete our info (but probably not.)



I've come perilously close to doing so before, but always found an excuse not to click the button. (I use it for work, it's how I find stories, there's a lot of memories stored there, mah friends and, of course, memes ... but probably most that last one ... )

I'd be remiss in not mentioning the small matter of being seriously addicted to the dopamine feedback loop Facebook so handily provides. When there's other life factors like grief, uncomfortable feelings, or hormone imbalances, it's an especially easy escape.

It was so bad for a while I would automatically navigate to Facebook every time I opened a browser window, whether that was the reason I was in front of my computer or not. Or I'd pick up my phone and notice a notification and three hours of scrolling later I'd finally be like, oh yeah, I have real life shit to do.

I've broken free for periods of time, but somehow I always end up back in the Zuckerborg, scrabbling around for those little red circles to shore up my own insecurities.

I take full responsibility for my own inability to correctly manage time on the app, with the caveat that Facebook's sole purpose is to keep you locked on their screen, absorbing content, which translates to profit, profit and more profit (billions and billions and billions of dollars.) 

Plus, they have a technological army constantly redesigning, tweaking, testing, experimenting and collecting information to suck you in and feed that profit machine.

Most of the time, I get nothing of value from my long scrolls through my news feed. Scroll, like, scroll. Sad react. Happy, funny, RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE. (unfriend, unfriend, unfriend.) Oh shit, it's been three hours. Repeat.

Using the platform has always taken a huge toll on my mental health, but especially lately. Remember when we couldn't blast our stupid, uneducated opinions and unfounded beliefs to two billion other human beings? Remember when there used to be actual consequences for saying terrible, stupid shit? That was a nice time.

I've unfriended gobs of people in the past three months, which sucks because I don't want to live in an echo chamber of my own opinions (even though apparently that's acceptable now), but I don't even know how else to DEAL with some of the unscientific, idiotic, misinformed DRIVEL that pours forth from the fount of Facebookery.

The final straw for me, however, is how Facebook categorically refuses to take any sort of responsibility for anything on their platform. Patently false? 🤷 Racist? 🤷 Sexist? 🤷 Inflammatory? 🤷 

This really, really, really bugs me. We've allowed Facebook to replace well-sourced, researched, fact-checked, credible information with utter bullshit, and they don't give a flying fuck.

I witnessed the dark side of the platform this week while covering a peaceful vigil for black victims of police violence (a sentence I can honestly say I never thought I'd type, living where I do.)

Some resident started a rumor that the, again – PEACEFUL – vigil, would be bussing in Black Lives Matter protestors and posted the information to a fringe page on Facebook.

It blew up, and then it grew, as these things always do. Pretty soon, Antifa was coming. Protesters were suddenly being paid, and they were going to tear down the veteran statue and start a riot, to boot!

If you have even a quarter of a brain, you recognize how ridiculous this idea is. 

I can just hear protestors thinking, "Travel several hours to a peaceful vigil in a tiny rural Colorado town 99% of people have never heard of? SIGN ME UP!"

But I mean, it's on Facebook, so it must be true, right?

The rumors spread far enough and fast enough that by the time we arrived to take photos and do our journalism thing, there were at least 200 ... counter-protesters? It wasn't a protest, so I'm not sure that's the right word. Spectators, which is what we landed on for the newspaper article, made more sense, but that doesn't really convey the generalized menace in the air. 

It was a nasty Facebook comment thread personified, and it was not pretty.

(For context, 200 is 10% of the population of the town. That's UNHEARD of unless there's free food or high school sports involved.)

Thankfully, nothing terrible happened, but I have to wonder how the hell these people are supposed to go back to being nice neighbors. ( ... heyyyyyy, sorry I tried to bully you out of holding beliefs that are different than mine. How's your grandma doing, by the way?)

On a larger scale, how can this fracture in our society ever heal?

Between the anonymity that gives keyboard warriors full license to say whatever hateful shit they want free and clear, the heady sense of empowerment that comes from finding out a whole lot of people happen to agree with you, and the ability of misinformation to spread like absolute wildfire ... simply put, Facebook is speeding up the downfall of the human race.

(Need something worse than my mild experience at the peaceful vigil? Here you go:

In the words of Zuckerberg himself, if we keep allowing this to happen, we are some seriously "dumb fucks."

So that, friends, is the overly long and convoluted explanation I really owe no one. The TLDR? Life is too fucking short for this shit. 

I'm actually really excited to see what's happening in the world, without a screen in front of my face.

Peace out ✌

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Everybody makes mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes.

But everybody doesn't have to print 1,500 copies of them 52 times a year, only to be repeatedly eviscerated by people who seem to really enjoy forgetting that we are fallible humans ... you know, just like EVERYONE ELSE ON THIS PLANET.

The upside: we discovered we can beat the fuck out of ourselves emotionally wayyyyy better than shitty meme comments ever will.

But enough about that. It's the nature of the beast, and I'm going to be okay with it or I'm going to turn into a shriveled shell of a human.

This post is supposed to be about a coping mechanism/thought pattern I've developed over the past year that is maybe healthy, maybe not.

It goes something like this:
You made a mistake? Oh well, it won't matter cuz YOU'RE GONNA TO DIE! MAYBE TOMORROW! MAYBE IN THREE SECONDS!

Someone is pissed at you? Oh well! You'll die eventually, and so will they! *throws confetti*

You made the wrong choice? Don't worry! You're nothing but a compostable meat sack with a super computer in your skull and eventually it will all be meaningless!

I'm on a constant mental merry-go-round of "Does this matter? Really?"

There are things that do, absolutely. But most of the time? The answer is a great big NOPE.

Maybe it's a macabre expression of the perspective you gain when someone you love drops dead.

Maybe it's a side effect of trying to deal with the first holiday season after the shock has worn off. (People say shock is bad. I disagree. Shock is a wonderful insulator during the first few months.)

Maybe people are just the fucking worst.

Or maybe I'm turning into a nihilist. (Not necessarily a bad thing. They have a lot of great points.)

From this excellent excerpt:

All I know is, at the end of the day, this current stupidity will soon be swept up in bigger, newer, shinier stupidity.

Maybe ours, maybe someone else's.

And will any of it matter in the end? Absofuckinglutely not.

(Somebody please tell this to my feelings, who apparently still think that if you try to be kind and do good, people *won't* treat you like garbage, gossip about you behind your back, or straight up stab you in the eye. Hypothesis WILDLY incorrect, y'all.)

It's maybe not happiest perspective, but I'm pretty sure it's keeping me trekking. So, cheers to that.
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Sunday, December 1, 2019

You don't have to die on the hill of motherhood.

Brought to you by this meme from my newsfeed this morning (are we still calling it a newsfeed, Facebook, or have we all just agreed to start calling it the brainwashing station?)

Now the comments on the original post, as you can imagine, are fulllllll of mom shaming.


"My Christmas would have been so much better if my mother would have wanted to share that experience with us *insert sad violins*."

I feel like this is a symptom of the whole idea that when you become a mother, it is *supposed* to eclipse the rest of your identity. And that's certainly what it feels like when you've got a newborn attached to your boob 24/7, or a toddler (or three toddlers, like we did because we're nuts) whose sole mission in life is to swallow as much sand as possible and jump off things that are entirely too high.

But I don't think that's healthy. Like, at all. It's created an entire generation of self-entitled brats whose helicopter/lawnmower/tiger/whatever other descriptor mommies hover over their high school (YES, HIGH SCHOOL) teachers and coaches and bosses and step right in when they feel their precious snowflakes are not being properly cared for.

What the actual fuck, society.

(Obvious disclaimer, it's not the *entire* generation, lest I go reverse #okboomer status.)

So if you don't give a rat's ass about your tree arrangement, good for you. And if you need to have separate trees for everyone in the house so you can hold on to some small semblance of sanity in a world that is 99.99999% uncontrollable, go for it.

You are a mother. It's beautiful and wonderful. And it's not all you are.
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