Facebook brings me joy. No, I’m not being facetious. The social media site adds a positive dimension of quality to my life. I realize that it’s fashionable to hate Facebook, particularly for its reliance upon algorithms and user targeted advertising and opinion pages. I venture forth to my Facebook newsfeed several times each day to make contact with distant friends and family members. I also utilize it to inform many bluejayblog readers that I have new posts available.
I understand that Facebook and other social media platforms are basically sophisticated feedback loops that give us what we want to read and hear. We live in a world of very opinionated people. Corporations, governments, religious organizations, charities, and criminal enterprises tap into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others in order to reap influence and financial gain. Like it or not, this is a part of living in the 2020s.
The supermarkets and the hardware stores where I shop have vital information about me in their databases, too. We would probably have to become hermits to avoid this trend. However, I understand that social hermits are not immune from the almighty algorithm.
So, I approach Facebook as an informed, cautious consumer and Internet user. Except for YouTube, Facebook is the only social media platform I use. I do not have a Twitter account, no Instagram, nor Tik Tok. I allowed my LinkedIn account to lapse a few years ago.
I am reminded that Mark Zuckerberg has a less than stellar reputation but so do a great many other CEOs and entrepreneurs. Social media in general has made us susceptible to our own credulity and fosters simplistic public opinions. We are exposed to unethical players, demagoguery, misinformation, and other propaganda nearly everywhere we browse on the Web. With the hazards in mind, I check my Facebook newsfeed for updates from friends and the groups that focus on my hobbies.
I’m glad I can easily obtain timely updates about my favorite baseball and hockey teams. There’s also the guilty pleasure of Smudge the cat memes. I use Facebook mindfully, in accordance with Zuckerberg’s original, alleged purpose–that is to make us more connected and open.
One vital aspect I learned decades ago when becoming a broadcaster is that when the audience gets something for free, be it music, information, or escape, the audience is the product. It’s always been about access to listeners and viewers. Content is what keeps the listeners and viewers engaged. If you use the Internet at all, there is information about you in databases.
Keeping in mind that Facebook and other Internet sites are not our pals but are surveillance technology, I use Facebook and YouTube as tools to keep in touch with friends and past-times. I utilize YouTube for advice about home improvement techniques and for language lessons. Occasionally, I’ll watch old television documentaries, too. These things bring great value to my life and joy.
I just wanted to add my two-cents worth about Facebook today. I’m not an apologist nor fan of Mark Zuckerberg. It’s just my opinion that Facebook is not an evil force. It is what it is. There will be more media like Facebook in the future that will probably employ more sophisticated algorithms. The main point is that we now live in an electronic jungle. We can go forth to explore and enjoy as mindful, informed consumers.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes entertainer, writer, and activist, Marlo Thomas. “Despite our ever-connective technology, neither Skype nor Facebook–not even a telephone call–can come close to the joy of being with loved ones in person.”