There’s a lot going on right now in “real life”, which is kind of a problem in itself – the age-old “where does real life and online intersect?” Yep, I’m talking about leaving Facebook, good guess.
Firstly, if you haven’t checked out a couple of interviews I nodded towards with the previous blogpost (in regards to starting off 2018 with some skeptic-supportive reading), there’s Let’s Be Reasonable, an interview with Rebecca Fox, who is the author of How to Be Reasonable (By Someone Who Tried Everything Else) and an interview with one of the authors, Nick Toscano, of The Woman Who Fooled the World as well. They’re both over on the Curiouser and Curiouser blog on the Skeptical Inquirer website. I’m encouraging lots of reading this year, and you can check out the podcast versions as well.
The rest of my time has been devoted to teaching, writing a thesis, wrangling atheist matters with the hope that there’ll be people with even more time who are willing to take up some opportunities in the near future… and also keeping an eye on a thread on Facebook where a podcast I contribute to debates leaving Facebook altogether. Well, if Elon Musk is doing it, how far is everyone else from doing the same?
So far it seems the majority of the arguments tend towards the pragmatic: “if the group is already mostly converging / finding the podcast through Facebook where there’s polite interaction, then why bother deleting it?“. However, with a team of a handful of moderators on another different, popular page (which has recently passed the 32 thousand followers mark) it’s a continual effort of sifting and moderating, and probably nothing compared to even larger ones, like IFLS. For some, social media can become a nightmare of death threats and vileness, which becomes a time drain as well as an emotional one. Elon Musk may have had five million followers on his Tesla page, but he probably didn’t have ranty tantrums by sexist, unhinged bigots who insisted that you thank them for blabbing their hatred of one woman’s opinion for days on end. Is it really worth keeping Facebook pages on when it’s not only a unpleasant, unpaid volunteer effort in some cases, but also one that pours advertiser-sourced money into a group that is facing claims that it “amassed information about millions of people without their consent, based on a 2014 personality quiz on Facebook”?
I can see the value in suggesting other avenues – Reddit was floated as a suggestion, also (as a joke) Vero. But apart from blogposts (which we already have on the Talk the Talk Patreon) there probably isn’t similar powerful equivalent. Is it really so simple to walk away after all that time, or even put more effort into building a new community on some other platform like a forum? Diversity may be the key for some efforts (and I’ve seen plenty of podcasts using every avenue available, such as Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Instagram, you name it) but it also means being able to justify it as additional work and valued as effective outreach. And internet message boards/ forums also have their own issues and hangups, which is probably why they’re not as popular anymore.
At any rate, here I am blogging away after a break of nearly a month and wondering why I couldn’t have devoted more energy to posting here rather than on Facebook… or even devoted all that Facebook time to cleaning up my office space. I guess I should thank Cambridge Analytica for the boot up the rear in that regard.
But then, I probably would proudly post a photo of my newly-cleaned office space to Instagram (owned by Facebook) anyway. Sheesh. Should I be downloading all my cat photos now, just to be sure? I don’t have time for this.
So. My answers may not be forthcoming on a retro-styled postcard, but you can join the debate over here, if you haven’t already deleted your Facebook account. Which may only be a casual click away, going by Musk’s example.