I’m Thinking of Un-Friending Everyone

We get up in arms — offended almost — at the suggestion of Our Internet being taken away from us. We view corporatization or privitization, tiered or restricted content as an affront to our civil liberties. We must maintain network neutrality. The www is merely a vessel, like a library, something that holds information we might seek or need. Which items you choose to view is completely at your discretion.

So why, then, do we allow Facebook to slap a crazy bias our online experience with such welcoming and open arms? Facebook has essentially taken the back door: now that we’re at the party, FB has come in and made that party a little less free and amorphous. The party is now rigidly structured. Compartmentalized. There’s nothing neutral about it: FB offeres a thinly veiled sense of freedom, but really, we have simply and unwittingly been initiated into a private club.

The FB format tugs on our very heartstrings, having lured us in emotionally, then entrapping us under a pretence of socialization, popularity and approval. If a child’s birthday party needs to be a Facebook event, or an intriguing idea condemned to a one-Like-click then hasn’t it been done already? Haven’t we all, as members of FB, been played?

I imagine stinking rich millionaires, smoking cigars, wearing tailored three-piece suits on their yachts (or whatever the stinking rich stereotypes would do), chuckling with admiration at the level of Evil Genius Mark Zuckerberg has attained: how he made it through the gates, into our hearts, and now we believe in him. Implicitly. Now he preaches to the converted, and we follow. Unquestioning of the fine print. Who has time to sift through repeated updates to the myriad terms of service agreements we face daily?

If the phone rang this moment, and on the other end was a nice lady asking if you had a few minutes to answer some questions you would say: “No,” and press End before either of you had a chance to say good bye. What we don’t realise is that Facebook passively does this: collects personal data. Every move you make, word you say, link you click through, funny picture of a cat, zombie or cat-zombie you approve of: that information is collected. Every friend you have comprises a matrix of data that is being used to “connect” you with products. Or future products. Now we gleefully volunteer the information, we volunteer our level of education, where we live, how old we are, if we are married or single, if we have kids or pets, what books we read, TV shows we watch, games we play: statistical data we can’t find the time to enter in to our own government’s Census forms (I bet you just threw that shit into the garbage anyway).

The level of marketing at the foundation of this operation is multi-tiered and brilliant. Admit it: you guys lapped that “The Social Network” drivel up. Another success: Evil Genius/CEO/guy that JUST WANTS TO BUY HIS OWN FUCKING YACHT has been humanized. But you know what they say: “It takes money to make money.” And I am saddened on a daily basis by how true this is, especially in the Western World, and more heartbreakingly, how it increasingly applies to modern culture (another rant, another time).

“Success” is not about doing your best, it’s about being invested in.

Just remember: you don’t need an online life. It’s just something someone gave us for nothing. Oh, and what’s that other adage? “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Fundamentally, what I’m getting at is that I encourage you to be a good person. Don’t be evil. Don’t be a dick. It is so vitally important that you live your life in the moment, because let me tell you, the grass doesn’t get any greener on the other side.

About Natalia Yanchak

Keyboarder and singer of The Dears. Also: blogger, gardener, scifi writer, plainclothes nerd, mother.
This entry was posted in Feelings, Kids, Life, Music Industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I’m Thinking of Un-Friending Everyone

  1. Jessica says:

    I agree with you completely. I had been struggling for quite some time to get rid of my facebook account. And this last week I DID!! I have never been so proud of myself! I am now on another social network, that will more than likely become what Facebook is now, Google+. I got tired of FB changing and complicating things CONSTANTLY. I like simple sharing of news, photos and videos….nothing more. If they kept it the way it was a few years ago, I’d still be there. The sad part is, most of my friends are so Facebook obsessed, that I will more than likely lose contact with some. Which in turn makes you re think the trueness of your friends. I’m glad there are a few people out there that feel the same way as I regarding this whole Facebook fiasco!!

    ~Jessica (lovingmymommylife.wordpress.com)

  2. babel says:

    Nice you did this, I totally agree with you, that’s why I erased my FB account. About G+ I think is the same cuz it’s still about making money with publicity. If you want to try something fresh, community driven and open-sourced (meaning without publicity and free-libre) you can always try Diaspora* (joindiaspora.com), I can invite you if you want, since right now is invite-only.

  3. flo21 says:

    You should read Eli Pariser’s “The Filter Bubble” or watch his talk at TED. It pretty much sums up your ideas on an internet that is no longer objective and balanced but tailored to each one of us.

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