I have never liked Facebook. In the early days of social media, I was a MySpace person. I wasn’t looking for a way to connect with old friends that I hadn’t spoken with in years. I was looking for a way to meet likeminded people while I was stuck at home with three kids who were too young for school. I loved MySpace and some of my oldest internet friends are folks I met through there. But in the end, Facebook won out over MySpace in market share, and everyone migrated, and MySpace became a graveyard of sorts.
Over the years, I’ve tried to make FB a place I could feel comfortable. But as social medias go, FB got more and more annoying to navigate. It stopped being a place where I could just see my friends’ posts. Instead, I had to sort through all the junk, figure out which friends FB had hidden from me, hide all the spam pages and posts, etc. When I look back on old memories, I see the early days in 2009/10 when FB tried to operate like Twitter, is at the front of every status. I can also see the timeline of my usage – the years when I was trying to post often, the years I just gave up and went silent. I’ve nearly quit at multiple points in the past, and it was always the memories that kept me there. Then back in early August last year, I began migrating those memories off FB onto a private blog. At that point, I stopped posting 99% of the time, and have pretty much only posted brief updates or photoshoot stuff in the last six months.
As for other social medias: I stopped posting on Twitter sometime in 2015 or 2016. I think my account is still there, but I don’t have the app or anything and I need to just delete my profile at some point. I have my Instagram, which has honestly been my favorite social media since MySpace, and it frustrates me that FB took it over at one point and changed it so much. I’ve gone through periods of barely posting there, too, but it remains my primary social media tool. During the pandemic, I joined Tiktok, and while videography is still not my personal media of choice, I’ve found TT to be the closest thing to MySpace in terms of meeting folks that I’ve seen so far.
Now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the (incredibly embarrassing) hearings going on in Congress right now, trying to get Tiktok banned because of supposed national security threat. It’s all BS – all social media platforms use data-mining, and Facebook/Meta is the absolute worst in terms of national security. But FB is the big American company, and they’ve spent millions of dollars in lobbyists these last few years to try to get TT banned, because it’s their biggest threat. FB doesn’t like threats, so they either buy them out or bully them out, and TT hasn’t allowed itself to be bought. The whole political theatre charade going on right now is disgusting, xenophobic, and racist, and the whole thing just sickens me. I completely agree that some regulations are needed and it would be great to have measures in place that protect people who use social media from data-mining, but they should apply to ALL social medias and not just to the “scary foreign one.”
Also, governments should not be limiting access to media. To do so smacks of the kind of censorship that we see in places like North Korea and Iran. I mean, Iran is currently blocking access to TT and other social medias because that’s how word of the ongoing revolution is getting out to people around the globe. The sanctioned news about the situation is misleading or entirely inaccurate, whereas brave folks are sharing from on the ground what’s really happening. A few years ago, I read a book called Without You, There is No Us, which was an inside look at what is happening in North Korea, and it’s extremely alarming to see the early stages of this in the US. It’s honestly really scary that the government is involved in this, and to know that they’re involved because companies like Meta (FB’s parent company) are hiring lobbyists to advocate for their involvement? Yikes.
I hadn’t decided before if I was going to get off FB when I finished transferring my memories in August, or just keep a profile without adding to it. There are groups that I enjoy participating in, and there are people I wouldn’t be able to keep up with outside of it, because FB is the only network they use. However, I can’t in good conscience stay there. Many folks are deleting their FB and Insta immediately, and I also can’t do that. I’m not sure what to do about Insta, tbh. I hate that they’re part of the Meta corporation, but they’re also my primary social. So I still need to figure that one out. FB, however, will be gone by the end of August.
What I would really love is to see another competitor to FB rise up, one that doesn’t rely purely on photos or video to engage. Very few people I know actually enjoy FB, they just stay there because it’s all that’s available. This would be a very good time to create or advocate for something new. Just saying.
My wife and I deleted Facebook several years ago. My wife never “got” Twitter. I “got” it, sort of…but really bad never used so had no problem deleting and now with Musk in control, I have zero regrets. Like you, I’m not a big fan of Meta, but IG is the only place I’m left in terms of social media. I have my blog but that’s been very sporadic and I’m not sure what to do there. In terms of TikTok, I think I’m too old for it. I don’t “get” it. I hear you on the censorship issue, but I’m not thrilled with the company being so closely surveilled or potentially surveilled by the Chinese government. But maybe these concerns should have been addressed before 100s of millions of Americans started using it. Now it seems like it’s going to be difficult for an outright ban. I don’t see how that is going to work.
I’m not thrilled with ANY government, including ours, looking into our social medias and data, and unfortunately, the bill that was introduced would give the US government power to look into anyone’s info if they were connecting to networks with over 100k accounts. So if you have a Ring security system, they can view feeds from any of the cameras. And that screams TERRIFYING to me. Thankfully, it looks like Rand Paul of all people just singlehanded blocked the bill due to it violating freedom of speech, noting that China itself bans Tiktok. I’m all for more government regulation on what data can be gathered and sold by social media platforms across the board, but in all honestly, the Meta corporation has gathered and sold more of our info to governments and businesses around the world than TT ever did. Meta as a special clause when you download their apps giving them permission to gather “other data” which is a bit like a food labeling an ingredient as “natural flavors” but not really telling you what they are. TT does not. They tell you exactly what they gather. And tbh, FB and Insta show me ads related to places I’ve recently been, things said in my vicinity, etc, whereas TT relies entirely on its algorithm for advertising. It’s far less creepy.
Hmmm. Maybe I need to see what this TikTok thing is about. 🙂
I do have to say, the problem I find with TT (which has nothing to do with security or government) is that it relies solely on videography, and I’m not a videographer. As a user, it’s easy to watch and meet people and find things I enjoy, and much more difficult to share my own stuff because I’m not particularly comfortable with video/voice. I prefer photographs and writing. There’s a new app that was just created that apparently pools “the best parts” from Insta, Pinterest, and TT, called Lemon8, that was going to be the new thing people migrated to. I signed up, but haven’t posted. I like the concept, but the only people there right now are influencers, so I don’t know if it’ll work out.
I agree with so much of what you’ve said here. I left FB years ago, then came back on after we moved to a small town in the foothills. Getting local news and word of events is just very easy to do on FB. I left Twitter a month after Musk took. In just a few weeks my Twitter feed turned so dark and ugly that I had to go. I assure you, I was only following book people and a handful of celebrities all carefully chosen to make my day brighter. I’m still on Instagram, which is basically Tik-Tok-Two-Weeks-Later, but I don’t know how much longer.
What I think we really need is a publicly run social media site, something like the public library. One that we support through taxes so it won’t need algorithms to sell products and suck away all of our time. Just people we want to connect with sharing information we might be interested in. Like the public library does.
I can dream big.
I think a publicly run site sounds incredible. What we really need is far more funding for public institutions like libraries, because they provide such amazing services and could do so much more with the funding.
I will say that I don’t mind the way TT does its algorithm. Unlike FB/Insta, which seems to try to interpret what you want to see from your friends (aka hiding some friends, or pushing certain friends), TT bases what it shows on your engagement with content. For example, I recently watched a whole video of someone commenting about the newest Love is Blind season. I hadn’t known there was a new season. Because I watched the whole thing and commented, it showed me another video about LiB. I watched. So I started getting a lot of related content. I watched a lot of the LiB stuff, skipped stuff related to other reality TV, so TT started showing me ONLY content related to LiB and my former interests, rather than continuing to push other TV content to me. I don’t know how they work their algorithm, but it’s actually really good at finding things you want to see and curating your feed.