One of my friends, who is often full of crap, but whom I cherish and trust nonetheless, recently deleted all his social media, and it is effecting me more than I care to admit. He said that social media is evil, which makes me feel that I too, am evil, since I have a bigger than average social media presence.
The fact that my friend is off line and perfectly smug about it is really kind of a downer. I’m sad that we’d lose track of each other, first of all, but it’s true that some corporations know all my passwords, know all the things I like, know who my friends are, and probably have a record of my whereabouts. They may or may not own all the pictures I post so willingly and can legally use them without my consent or use them against me. That, of course is evil, and I don’t want to be a part of that.
I mean, I don’t think I’m evil; today I used to it see my nephews pose with their grandmother for Mother’s Day. Another nephew was received for his First Communion. Earlier today, I posted an interpretation of some religious art. None of that feels evil me. In fact, part of me thinks that keeping in touch with far flung friends is worth it. A friend of mine from northern England, who was part of my old Shanghai crew, just posted a picture of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, which I just wrote about in my blog. My sister’s Cuban American friend who moved to Madrid just posted a picture of her new puppy on her first day in her new office. Have I just put everybody at risk?
I may sound sarcastic but my friend’s concern, and his opinion of me, are very important to me, and I’ve been very seriously searching my own soul about this, not a joke. I was initially very skeptical of social media, but then I went nuts on it back in 2007-2008 in a desperate attempt to promote SpanishPod.com. After I left that company, I kept promoting myself, fully out of vanity. And now I have a worldwide network of friends; not all of whom I cherish, but some of them I do. I certainly do cherish the network; far flung family, good friends from past adventures.
I doubt I can lose those connections; they spark joy to me. But the worst part of this soul searching is that so many of my friends have already gone the way of deleting… Kiwi J never joined any of them. Shawn of the Bread left and let me know when I texted him a birthday wish. Yones, AG and Nate… vanished like ghosts. I have several other close friends who are still on FB but were always guarded; nobody used the platform like I did. They’re all people I respect. Maybe I’m a chump for staying on.
Today I unfollowed a bunch of FB groups that I’m in, that don’t spark my joy. I also deleted Snapchat, which I never liked.
But then my sister said Snapchat had a new filters that made you look like a man or a woman. I know what I look like as a man, and I’m not that curious about how I would look as a woman, but my sister sent me her results and the filter made her look look like me, so of course it follows that I had to download the app again, log in, go though all the permissions, and slap the filters on. The results are below. While I was there, I quickly tried all the other filters, and they skeeved me out, so I deleted the app for the second time in one day.
Just as a post script, I think the Amazon smart speaker is evil. That device is sending data back and forth to HQ twenty four hours a day; they know your sleeping and waking patterns, they can hear when you’re home or not. They know all the things you order online, plus the things you just shop for. All for what, so that you can play a radio station by voice command? I will be smug and say that I don’t have one of those, and have no interest in one of those. Smug smug smuggity smug.
Besides, I can get Siri to play my radio station.