If you don’t know yet, you should know that the reason for Facebook’s existence is not to help you engage with others, share photos, give you freedom of speech or enable you to organize and protest. I cannot help but laugh when people on Facebook post about how their freedom of speech is being taken away when it changes something. Facebook is a business, it is not here as a platform for freedom of speech, in fact freedom of speech is anathema to its business model. Its single sole function is to make money, and how does it do that? It sells us, its users to advertisers. The same model used by TV for many years apart from the BBC which we all have to pay for to see the endless repeats of shows from over the years past.
To keep us all engaged and hypnotised, Facebook uses algorithms and persuasive technology that keeps us like junkies looking for the next hit through the accumulation of ‘likes’, heating up our dopamine neurotransmitters as we lose ourselves in world of hyperreality, a veritable fool’s paradise. Like a casino, Facebook, the house, always wins.
Routinely, I delete the app, because I can feel the pull. I can feel myself wanting to post, rant or argue (absolutely pointless), knowing that internally it is a fantastic waste of time that could be put to so much better use. Simply sitting by the river in my garden and listening to it gently flow witnessing nature at play is by far a better use, and much better for my mental state.
Unfortunately being an artist across many genres Facebook actually does have its uses, mainly for promotion. So as of late, I’ve decided to delete the app from my phone and only use Facebook on my laptop, which I don’t particularly use, unless I’m at work. I can feel a huge difference. We are all slaves to the social networks, those of us who use them, and daily piss our lives away on them. And let’s be honest, they aren’t particularly filled with anything life changing. It’s just, more of the same. Everybody is selling, and nobody is buying. It’s filled with mainly gossip, and people hoping to be gossip, but as Yoval Noah Harari writes in Sapiens, language began with gossip, so maybe there is an evolutionary link there. I think that last statement is more satirical than a philosophical enquiry.
The timeline of Facebook, where you maybe reading this, built by an algorithm, will dictate how you see the world through the eyes of others who it thinks are like minded. We are put into filter bubbles. Recently, for a joke, I would write provocative statements about conspiracy theorists and all their ridiculous highly irrational views, opinions and ideas. Instantly my timeline was filled with conspiracy theorists posts. It’s easy to see, if you are one looking for confirmation bias of your thinking, and if you are wrapped up in your own ego, which is very easily done, how you could get lost on Facebook and disappear right up your own arse. I’ve witnessed it many times, myself guilty at times.
With a somewhat breakaway from it all, with it not being so easily accessible, I see that it’s just only Facebook. It’s sport. It’s not an educational forum. It’s essentially pointless. You delete the app and all that world just instantly doesn’t exist. The wild dark flights of imagination about a dystopian world are simply just in the posts on Facebook, someone’s uneducated gripe and not in the real world that you can touch and feel. The mania, the headless knee jerk thinking, the ill educated statements simply are dissolved. This is not to say there aren’t political issues to be fought all the time, and constrictions of our freedoms daily, but one needs to take stock, remove themselves from the hyperreality they are essentially creating and see life as it actually is.
This reminds me of a joke by Bill Hicks whereupon he talks about the news on CNN, how depressing it is, then you look out your window and all you can hear is a bird chirping away. This is because Ted Turner can’t get laid, so he makes the world insufferable and depressing so no one else gets laid.
Facebook in essence has become the modern day TV, only it is its users that are pushing their own agendas with a mild sense of propaganda. But once again, like the TV, you can just turn it off, or simply use logic and rationality, which are free. And best of all, get laid.