Is it as bad as all that?
Recent revelations about the sins of social media and especially the Facebook/WhatsApp/Instagram empire have caused me to pause and think. I wonder if you agree with me?
- Undoubtedly, there is a lot of scope in a profit-driven organization like FB for misuse, even if due to a conscious or otherwise inability to see what is under the noses of those in charge.
- Yes there are alternatives if we want them, though they come at a cost.
- Although I am aware there is a lot of hateful stuff posted out there in FB (etc) I have to say that I see very little of it. Possibly this is because of those algorithms everyone complains about because they are doing what they are designed to do – show me stuff I might actually read. If objectionable stuff does get through the filters I am fairly diligent in “hiding” it which involves tell telling FB why. Over time this seems to work.
- I live in country A and have old friends and family in country B that I could have lost touch with after all these years apart. Through social media contacts with them and their friends I have interacted with and had meaningful discussions and exchanges with some pretty nice and interesting people in countries C, D and E that I would not have otherwise met. This is a benefit to me. We are, as everyone repeatedly says in these covid-restricted times, social animals.
- There is a delete button on your keyboard – I use it. Often.
- I am also a member of a community FB group and a couple of interest groups and associations. This provides quite amazingly useful and flexible ways to rapidly exchange information and thoughts with people who share my interests. We cannot easily meet in person, even those of us living in the same town. Social media is the only game in town.
But nothing is free.
- Yes FB makes money out of selling adverts to me. For the most part I ignore or delete them. I think that goes for most people. If I purchased a regular newspaper it would be full of print adverts – I always ignore those too.
- I would be more than happy to pay a small monthly fee for an advert free FB experience. I pay for Spotify and a daily newspaper so why not another $10 for social contact?
- Those who wish to close down FB etc say “You can always send an email or post a letter”. Well, that is true and it’s something I do but the purpose is different. An email is between the writer and a very restricted small group of recipients – it would not work for larger groups, members of clubs, and community affairs. Horses for courses.
Social media is far, far from perfect but compared to the pre-internet days it’s a very useful tool indeed and used wisely it is pretty harmless. It could be improved, it could be regulated. Come to that those it is said to harm could pay attention a little better to what they doing. Discretion is a handy thing to exercise and remember, this is just a tool so learn how to use it.