I hated Facebook from the get-go.
Sure, everyone else was using it, and as my Mom was always keen to point out, I may be the kind of person who’d jump off a bridge just because all the other kids were doing it. This, she’d remark, was the sign of a mind unfit for the world at large, but I always harbored the suspicion that there were potential flaws in her argument. After all, what was over the side of the bridge? If it was a matter of plummeting to one’s death upon cruel, jagged rocks then I’d be prepared to give her that one, but what – for example – if it was puppies?
So when we fired up Command Prompt we did the whole Facebook/Twitter thing because that was a Thing You Had To Do As A Small Business. And then we never really did anything with Facebook again.
Now, I’m not saying that Facebook is bad per se – I mean, I get that it’s valuable for some people. In fact, it’s practically become the new AOL in the sense that for some people Facebook is the internet. For a lot of people it’s the default way of sharing stories and information about themselves and the causes and issues they’re passionate about, and that’s great. Unfortunately, there are many other things about it that are… not so great.
This is the point where I should talk about Cambridge Analytica and the current kerfuffle about privacy, rights, and shady practices whereby data we’d all supposed was safe and anonymous was in fact strewn all over the place and commoditized. Yes, this is all shameful, but no, I’m not really surprised. The old adage that if you’re using something free on the internet then you’re the thing that’s for sale applies, and there’s little to be gained about piling more… whatever it is you pile on bandwagons. Bands? Let’s say bands.
No; that’s all ground that’s been trodden before by better writers and wiser minds, so I’m going to cast my net wider with what I like to call David Ball’s Social Media Maxim. It’s a philosophy that I’ve honed over countless years of careful scrutiny and rigorous academic study, and I think I can defend it against any assault. Here it is in a nutshell:
Social Media Is Bullshit.
Really, it’s the worst. While it can be invaluable as a resource for activating and starting movements and fomenting positive things in the world, it’s equally (if not more prevalently) a source of bigotry and pettiness; by turning every device into a bully pulpit and giving every pissant an anthill to piss off of it’s done little to justify itself as a positive force to promote anything. Seth and I have a saying we’re fond of in application to shoddy IT solutions that applies equally well here: “A terrible idea done very badly”.
Also? Social media is dying. The demographics are interesting; the current crop of new teenagers are ignoring Facebook and largely eschewing Instagram and Snapchat in favor of other, more traditional analogs. Discord and Slack are chewing up that group while Facebook is rapidly becoming the province of their grandparents. Like, come to think of it, AOL.
So, goodbye Command Prompt Facebook account. We hardly knew ye.