Friday, December 26, 2014

Facebook killed the internet

This is not just another anti-Facebook piece.
The bottom line is, there’s no reason most people would have had occasion to notice that the internet died, because they weren’t content providers (as we call authors, artists, musicians, journalists, organizers, public speakers, teachers, etc. these days) in the pre-internet age or during the first decade or so of the internet as a popular phenomenon. And if you weren’t a content provider back then, why would you know that anything changed?

I and others like me know – because the people who used to read and respond to stuff I sent out on my email list aren’t there anymore. They don’t open the emails anymore, and if they do, they don’t read them.
I spent most of last week in Tokyo, going all over town, spending hours each day on the trains. Most people sitting in the trains back during my first visit to Japan in 2007 were sleeping, as they are now. But those who weren’t sleeping, seven years ago, were almost all reading books. Now, there’s hardly a book to be seen. Most people are looking at their phones. And they’re not reading books on their phones. (Yes, I peeked. A lot.) They’re playing games or, more often, looking at their Facebook “news feeds.” And it’s the same in the US and everywhere else that I have occasion to travel to.

Is it worth it to replace moderators with algorithms? Editors with white noise? Investigative journalists with pictures of your cat? Independent record labels and community radio stations with a multitude of badly-recorded podcasts? Independent Media Center collectives with a million Facebook updates and Twitter feeds?

I think not. But that’s where we’re at. How do we get out of this situation, and clear the fog, and use our brains again? I wish I knew.
Let me add another point. During the past few weeks, I've been doing some research (pursuant to one my many little projects) and several times tried to get in contact with authors to ask for follow-up information. Unfortunately, they could only be reached via Facebook. You can't send mail to a Facebook unless you yourself have a Facebook account, and you can't get a Facebook account unless you give a cell phone number, and that number can be used to track one's location. Anyone who gives out that information needlessly is an idiot.

If you're writer, please make it possible to be contacted by the public in some non-Zuckerberg fashion.

Also: No Twitter.
Comments:
And I thought I am the only one on the planet who doesn't have fb Twitter instagram etc I don't know how much longer can I last. People are hounding me
 
WOW what a concept? I can not add anything to this great way of hiding from the world of info.
 
You can send email to a Facebook account, and it will be forwarded to the recipient's designated primary email. For instance, if my Facebook account was 'Mazoola' (which it isn't), you could email me at 'mazoola@facebook.com' and it would be forwarded to whatever email account I have registered with Facebook.

Or, you could just email me at that account -- if you know it. (Some people use a public Facebook presence as a way to cloak their real email.)

Can't really understand the 'can only be contacted via Facebook' comment, as Facebook requires one to have a valid email to set up an account. When I joined, ages ago, they didn't require you give them a phone number, but you *did* have to have a working email. As far as I know, that's still the case.
 
As James Taylor once said:
Fuck Facebook
 
maz, when I tried to Facebook a few years back for business reasons, they let me sign up with just an email acct. But the next day, to use Faccebook AGAIN, I had to give them my cell phone number. No thanks!

And you have to be ON Facebook to find the Facebook email address to send mail to.
 
I have always used a pseudonym with Facebook because I like my privacy.
I also did not have to provide a phone number to have an account.

I recently deleted "FB" from my phone and question how anyone with half a brain would allow them or anyone else to keep tabs on them (where they are and who they are with.)

Does "FB" not realize they will make it easier for thieves, stalkers, ex's, disgruntled employees and any other form of 'crazy' to know where you are and who you are with at any given moment.

 
"And you have to be ON Facebook to find the Facebook email address to send mail to."

And that differs from all other email how? Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the X.500 standard for email lookup never went very far. Typically, if you don't know the email address, you're out of luck.

A while back, I was trying to reach an old college roommate. I knew his name and where he worked -- he was SVP and chief counsel for Western Union, for Pete's sake -- but I couldn't suss out how his email account should be formatted. I finally wandered around the WU website until I triggered an error page that included a webmaster contact form; I used *that* form to ask the webmaster to forward *my* address to my friend.

Actually, it's probably easier to find Facebook emails than pretty much any other. Sometimes, you can get a strong-enough hit from a Google search to know which "Joseph Cannon" on FB it is you want; if so, the user name is visible in the Google hit. (That is, if you search for me, and you get a hit at http://www.facebook.com/mazoola , you can contact me at mazoola@facebook.com .) That's still hit-and-miss, though, rather than a feature.
 
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