I don’t like Facebook. There are a number of reasons for this. Here are some of them…
- Every single day, Facebook forgets the sort preference I set for my timeline. I want to see posts in chronological order, newest first. Facebook wants me to see posts in whatever batshit insane order their algorithm comes up with.
- I used to use Facebook quite a lot as a form of link storage. If I found something interesting, I’d post it on Facebook—partly to share it, but mostly so I could go back and find it again later. Not only has Facebook made finding these things stupid hard, I now have much better tools for doing this.
- I’m not a fan of Facebook’s policies. This should surprise no one, since Facebook is a corporation and corporations aren’t known for having policies I like. To be honest, though, I don’t find any of their policies too outrageous. Although that’s probably because I can’t be arsed to be outraged very often.
The biggest reason I don’t like Facebook, though, is what it does to people. Or, rather, what people tend to become on that site.
Imagine you’re standing on the sidewalk next to a busy road on a hot day. Everyone’s got their windows down and everyone is playing their favorite songs at ear-splitting volume. The cars go by, you get pummeled with short snippets of sound, but the brevity of each individual signal turns the whole thing into a symphony of noise.
And every so often the drivers start screaming at each other to turn their shit down, sometimes become so intent on hearing their music above all others that they devolve into creatures which only vaguely resemble the friends you know.
To be clear, I’m not talking about anonymous strangers here. I’m talking about real people, many of whom I’ve sat down to dinner with. People you could easily have a face-to-face conversation with about pretty much anything, and while passionate disagreement might ensue, none of them would start throwing things and smashing windows. Rather, we’d argue, laugh, and pop open another bottle or whatever.
Facebook brings out the absolute worst in people, even while they’re sharing images and articles about what it means to be compassionate human beings.
At least that’s my perspective. So, I stopped using Facebook to keep my friends up-to-date on what I’m doing, or to learn what’s going on in their lives. Instead, I use email, the phone, text messages, or—don’t freak out—actual face-to-face communication.
So what do I use Facebook for?
Art. More or less.
Way back in January of 2014 I started turning my Facebook profile into a trolling shitshow, and I’ve been completely honest and upfront about it since the beginning. I regularly post disclaimers—usually with a link to my blog or Twitter account—and explain that if people want to interact with actual me, they should look to other avenues.
On Facebook, I’m a complete barking lunatic who will spout alien/human hybrid conspiracies one minute and decry anti-scientific thinking the next. I have publicly called out President Obama for not taking a stand against necrophilia, then promoted a watch which is designed to help people’s fingers find the g-spot.
And in any one of these posts I’ve created, I will argue beyond all reason, straight into the realm of lunatic gibberish, that my position is the only correct one. I’ve done this taking positions I actually agree with, but just as often I’ll argue positions I personally believe are totally crazy.
Boy, oh boy has that made my Timeline interesting.
See, I believe—in my own, adorably-optimistic way—that art is one of the few things which can slice right past people’s filters, especially if they’re a part of it. And, like it or not, trolling can be art.
When people jump into one of my threads, it’s usually for a one-off quip. Agreement, disagreement, whichever.
But sometimes these threads turn into terrible and beautiful messes filled with passionate insanity—half a dozen or more voices all shouting and foaming at the mouth. And, more often than you’d think, a little bit of wisdom can be found.
That’s people in a nutshell, more or less. We’re all horrifically disturbed, broken, and batshit lunatics trying to make sense of an increasingly senseless world composed of both instant, planet-wide communication and a profound feeling of isolation.
And once in a while, we manage to make a little sense.