FACTorial: Social networking? Face it, you’re addicted

February 28, 2012

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know—all my activist friends tell me I need Facebook.

Social networking is a shell game, kids. How many “friends” do you have? How many such friends do you need?

The fact is that Mark Zuckerberg needs you, not the other way around. And he steals from you with your permission. He’s nothing more than a pimp—he owns you. Only addicts don’t recognise they’re being used. And you came cheap. You’re not the customer, Bunky, you’re the product. And you’re giving govt one more way to track you.

My old friend’s 12-year old daughter has 450 “friends” on Facebook. In real life, those are just ships passing in the night, acquaintances you’ll never see again. On Facebook, you wouldn’t even recognise these people in the street, let alone have enough juice to carry on an intelligent conversation.

My teenaged daughter is forbidden Facebook. Despite this flagrant censorship, under peer pressure from her school friends, she cheated, and was caught, four times. Like our prime ministers, she’s not good enough not to be busted in a lie. We’ve compromised on Twitter because at least you have to write something.

Twitter, huh? I get nervous when people are ‘following’ me. Rather than the depth of real thoughts, ideas, emotions, we are reduced to 140 characters.

Several years ago, FACT’s tech wizards, told me it was a good idea to offer a subscription to FACT postings via Twitter. I have no idea how many people are reading the first 140 characters of FACT’s cutting-edge censorship news. Do they read farther?

Yes, FACT probably needs Facebook addicts for the same reason. But I have this nagging idea that 850 million people just gotta be wrong. And what about Facebook’s used-to-be-secret censorship rules? http://www.rawstory.com/rs/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/facebookcensorshiprules.jpg

If I have something to share with you, I’ll send you an email, often composed over several days. And I always answer your emails. My grandmother told me it was bad manners not to reply to one’s correspondence. Want me to see those grand-kids’ photos? Attach them.

Why would I want to go searching the Internet to see your intimate photos or find a soundbite of what is no substitute for real life?

Free expression is not just about the Internet. If we want to make a really free world, we need each other. We need real relationships, tears, anger, laughs, great music, glasses of fine wine.

Facebook is for wimps.

CJ Hinke

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)


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