My father recently asked me, “Russell, what happened to your old blog? I sure miss it”. My Dad’s not exactly a social media consultant, but his comment struck me deep. I realized he had a point. My Facebook posts were nothing like my blog of old. He’s been missing something. And after much reflection on how Facebook has changed my self expression, I have come to the conclusion that I’ve lost something. Its time to transition away from Facebook.
I think, we can all agree that there’s something off about Facebook. We all had our suspicions back in the day when we didn’t yet have an account and were thinking of signing up. I certainly did, finally deciding to slowly transition from my blogging to Facebook. Eight years later, I’ve decided its time to go full circle, and transition out.
Facebook is now a profit-priority corporation full out immersed in the capitalist industrial paradigm. Thus, despite all its best intentions of uniting the world, web 2.0, sharing great ideas and connecting people, it falls inexorably back into the exploitative, enslaving and capital concentration dynamics of everything else from that paradigm. One has only to look at some of the recent articles and exposes– the Guardian’s article Our Minds Can be Highjacked recently delved into the various mechanism used by facebook to addict users to its platform. Another article took a look at how Facebook and the other big platforms are destabilizing and fragmenting not just our lives but nations.
Nick, Srnicek, a lecturer in digital economy at King’s College London observes:
“At the heart of platform capitalism is a drive to extract more data in order to survive. One way is to get people to stay on your platform longer. Facebook is a master at using all sorts of behavioural techniques to foster addictions to its service: how many of us scroll absentmindedly through Facebook, barely aware of it?” – Platform Capitalism
Since my transition to Facebook eight years ago, I dramatically slowed down the posts on my personal website blog. My posts on Facebook became shorter than before. In the quest for brevity and drama to garner Likes, I began to lose some of the thoughtfullness, authenticity and feeling that once ignited my blogging. Once published, my posts got attention, and likes, but then rapidly became buried and forgotten on my timeline. Sure, one can find them again, but it’s hard– probably, because their not really yours any more– they are part and parcel of Platform Facebook.
Aafterall they are on Facebook.com.
Facebook is designed for the newest post– for capturing your attention to its steady stream. Its definitely not for the old posts. As an artist and designer, falling back and referencing my previous work is key. This is almost impossible on Facebook, but on my blog, where I can tag, categorize and archive everything, its easy. My work still belongs to me on my site. And its clear– as you read the post you are on my site, with links, images and archives all at hand to give deep context to what you are reading.
My Dad, used to go to this blog to find about me. I often go to Facebook now to find out about someone specific. I don’t know about you, but for me its a Herculian act to stay focused for more than a minute on one’s intention while on Facebook. Facebook is literally designed to distract (to the next thing, and the next…) and our intention to gift our attention to our friend, family member or idea is hijacked by the platform.
Our attention and all the content we post and share goes to make Facebook what it is. Sure, its tremendously useful to find all our friends on one network– but its also valuable. That’s why Facebook is a billion dollar corporation and a select few at the top make billions from it. Is it fair that all our sharings and information make the rich richer? Of course not! That remains one of the fundamental and most fragrant flaws of the network. And one that our participation unwittingly perpetuates.
Its an injustice that is becoming clearer and clearer as other social media networks, like my current favorite, Steemit.com begin to flourish in the vacuum. Steemit shows how it can be done fairly! All the posting and people and networking make for value– and the Steemit network shares it back with all its members! You gain Steem cryptocurrency depending on how much other members in the community like/upvote your conent. Its innovative beta test of a way more elegant, egalitarian and frankly sane way of uniting humans on a social network.
I will continue to use Facebook. But things have changed. Its back to my blog, my medium and my platform. I am going back to my russs.net wordpress (i.e. fully open source) platform to post and curate my thoughts, innovations, and creations. I’ll be still posting the content to Facebook. And I will be doing a full post on Steemit at the same time, where I intend to delve into the community there. I will also offer my essays and articles to other great and noble platforms for publishing. To use an old term, most of all my full focus, and yours too, can be distraction free on my home page.
Happy reading Dad. 🙂