Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

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Regarding the “MORON”…

December 14, 2016

part of oxymoron and reason number 999 why I hate Facebook….

I don’t go looking for this stuff, honestly. It just seems to jump out of the bushes at me while I’m on the way to something else, like that goddamned Chihuahua that jumped out of a hedge line and sunk his miserable little teeth into my ankle back when I was in college. I tried to punt the snarling coprolite into the next county but he was too quick for me. The upside is that the little shit likely died fifty years ago.

But, I digress. I was talking about those off-the-wall websites and other waste products that some jerk I never met, sitting in an office thousands of miles from here, decides I really need to check out, join, or at least pay attention to so the referral source gets that fraction of a penny for a “hit.” Facebook is one of the worst for presuming the right to dwell in the global mind, heart, soul, and rectal orifice, and it was there that I was threatened with a web-group called…get this…”Libertarian Socialism.”

I’ve been trying to reconcile the use of the adjective “libertarian” in combination with “socialism”, but so far have failed. Perhaps it’s at an intellectual level beyond my reach, but I can’t get past the thought that “Libertarian socialism” has a bit of an oxymoronic ring to it, you know, sort of like “Celibate Prostitution.”

Of course, I had to check it out.

First of all, I have to say that the concept is real, in the sense that such a political philosophy has been around for a long time. I didn’t know that until I looked it up. Being given shelf space in some remote lexicon closet does not legitimize or validate the term, or any other, however. It merely acknowledges that the term had been coined and enjoys a reasonably stable definition, and is therefore, at least on that score, equal to any other “ism.”

That doesn’t belie my assessment, though. I stand by it. My first involvement with Libertarianism began many decades ago, whenever it was that I first read something by Ayn Rand, and later during the seventies when I registered as a Libertarian and voted for Ed Clark for President. My understanding has always been that “libertarian” referred to a concept of community that eschewed force in favor of volunteerism. Liberty.

Secondly, the first thing I encountered upon tiptoeing through the iron gate of the Libertarian Socialist page was the welcoming message:

“this is a place to discuss libertarian socialism. trolls, reactionaries, racists & race realists, etc. are not welcome. ableism, queerphobia, transphobia, misogyny and other forms of reactionary discrimination are not welcome. this includes libertarian capitalists/ancaps/right libertarians and so-called “anarcho” nationalists. violations of these rules may result in a ban, both for the person who does them and possibly the person who invited them to the group as well.

Here again, I was tripped up by my preconceptions regarding definition. I thought I had learned way back when that “socialism” was an economic idea based on social, society-wide, ownership and democratic control of the means of production. I’ve never liked it because it disenfranchises the individual in favor of mob rule over the utilization of one’s assets, and it depends upon force to maintain its form. Despite verbiage to the contrary, it does not represent liberty.

Obviously then, the philosophy of “libertarian socialism“, at least the form offered by the internet group in question, eschews liberty and freedom of speech in favor of an authoritarian, narrowly prescribed menu of permitted sub-philosophies of the newspeak variety. The only reason I could think of why someone would wish to “join” such a group would be (1) if they could be in charge, or (2) could be located near enough to the emperor’s ass to facilitate profitable sycophancy.

Sycophancy has never been my strong suit, however, due in part to an unfortunate lifelong bilateral Tourettes-like tic in my middle digits.

They (Faceplant, et al)really should let me window-shop for my own points of interest and curiosity.  Nine times out of ten while at the end of Mr. Zuckerberg’s tether and choke-collar I find myself misdirected to some flame hole or digital Rubber Room that lacks any compatibility with me or my vapor trail. Just because I spent 30 seconds on Tuesday, 1988 at the urinal next to a guy in a blue suit in the Boston airport does not justify non-stop ads for blue suits or job offers from American Standard…

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Facebook rivals NSA

February 13, 2015

when it comes to intrusiveness ….

Here’s a tip for Facebook:

I am not likely to know someone just because the third cousin of my next door neighbor drove by the sob’s house a week ago Tuesday. You needn’t run that non-stop scroll of people I “might know” down the side of my page. It looks like a national telephone directory. In fact, I sometimes suspect it IS, and that the third cousin of my next door neighbor doesn’t even drive. Please stop. If I DO know any of them, I have probably already decided NOT to “friend”, contact, or give them digital noogies, or HAVE done so only to be summarily blown off. Long lost acquaintances who wish to contact me have numerous options for attempting to do so, and vice versa. Butt out. Stop playing yenta. It’s annoying.

Another tip:

I’m not sure about how Facebook started out, and it’s not an important enough piece of information for me to sacrifice any scratching or yawning time to chase down possible explanations. However, I do have some knowledge and a few opinions about what I have observed since I decided to see what it was all about a few years ago. I found the venue to be annoying from the start, but the amusement factor kept me around long enough to be reminded of that childhood story involving a feisty rabbit and a tar baby. Therefore, I can appreciate the brilliance of the marketing plan, which obviously works quite well if the journalistic borborygmus of various news and feature writers tattling about Mr. Zuckerberg’s finances are any indication.

Nevertheless, those of us who enjoy the interaction facilitated between selected friends and family members may not be particularly amused, impressed, or anything but severely annoyed by the mandatory process of wading through an incessant “opt out” gauntlet on the way to our preferred connections.

I click on the little “x” to make the grey silhouette and empty data set of someone I “might know” disappear, and a new one takes its place. Once I manage to clear the board, and sometimes right in the middle of the process, I get slapped with a multiple choice quizzie regarding my reasons for rejecting my gifts. If I don’t just ignore it and move on without answering, I normally choose “sexually explicit”.

I never play games. I don’t like those games. Facebook provides no options to inform them of that so I can “opt out” and avoid being pummeled on a daily basis with information and invitations I didn’t ask for, am not interested in, and for which the statistical probability of my responding to is zero.

x, x, x, x, x, …………..

One afternoon not long ago, I was “Googling” information about a figure of English nobility from several centuries ago in order to cross-check my assertions in something I was writing about. I made note of what I had learned and then moved on to Facebook to see if any new pictures of my grandson had been posted. In addition to the anticipated pictures and the other usual fare discussed previously, I was provided with a cascade of ads and focused info-blurbs from book sellers, genealogy purveyors, and recommendations for a dozen or so “groups” or pages I should visit. Good grief! It was like I’d been diagnosed as OCD with a Medieval history fixation and Facebook was playing doctor.

“Who the hell asked you?” I mumbled.

I haven’t had anyone read over my shoulder like that since I was caught reading a raunchy magazine stashed in my open notebook during an Elizabethan literature class back in college.

I recall thinking it was fortunate I hadn’t been indulging a blip of curiosity regarding exotic weapons, explosives, or the Arabic language. On second thought, I may just do that this afternoon just for the heck of it and to see what happens. I wonder if I should warn my neighbors first. There are a lot of kids running around out there, and the poor guy across the street always wears black, has flags all over the place, and signs on his house warning about an Armed Veteran residing within. If a chopper shows up and hovers over my yard to deploy a bunch of heavily armed guys in camouflage, I’m afraid he might just go off his nut. On third thought, maybe I should research something a little more benign. On fourth thought, ……

 

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Facebook….

July 29, 2013

………WTF?

This will probably be dripping with puns, bad jokes, overstatements, understatements, dirty gym socks, and all sorts of other stuff before I’m done. You will have a number of options:

  • One: deal with it

  • Two: get over it

  • Three: get over yourself

  • Four: do absolutely nothing…simply wander around with your thumb up your ass and that vacant expression on your face.

Call me an “old fart”, if you please, or call me cheese doodle, I don’t give a toot, but the fact is I am of the wrong generation to fully appreciate whatever pheromone it is that exudes so profusely from Facebook and all of those other internet soul-sucks that are doing a twenty first century version of the Pied Piper shtick. So, I asked myself this morning, “Self, why do you participate?”

Good question, though I doubt I’ll ever come up with a rational explanation…..the operative word being “rational”. One thing I thought of is that I like to see the pictures that family members and old friends post. Nobody sends stuff like that through the Pony Express anymore, so if I want to see periodic pictures of my grandson during his transition from two feet six to six feet two I either have to jump on a plane/train to where he lives on a regular basis or learn how to speak “lol-wtf” and check the story out on Facebook where I can get minute by minute reports of every new accomplishment or behavioral abomination. Film at eleven.

Another thing I enjoy is the ability to maintain some sort of connection with people I haven’t seen for more than fifty years. The question is, If I haven’t had any contact with someone for more than fifty years, was that because we couldn’t find each other or because we didn’t give enough of a crap to even try? Nevertheless, I find myself doing what I suppose a lot of other people do by conducting periodic searches for good old “What’s-His-Face”.

The diversion was fun when it all started to build up a head of steam and I got my first computer back around 1991 or so. “AOL On LINE” was all the rage, and it went downhill from there.

At some point, I began to take a serious look at the whole thing and came up with sort of a cognitive cartoon of a guy sitting in the middle of an offal pit muttering “wtf….?” Why am I here, and what am I going to do about it, if anything?

“Social” network

I understand the concept of “social networking”, but from a more archaic perspective than the one I believe the term is now supposed to imply. I studied the behavioral sciences in college and worked in related fields for twenty five years. I guess I just like to figure out what makes people tick. I’m not unique in that endeavor by any means, but, other than a whole passel of books, my academic and experiential learning involved predominantly direct, physical, sensory contact. The social skills I learned, and then learned to teach; the communication skills I learned, and then learned to teach, required visual, auditory, and vocal interaction.

Essentially, “social networking” still means the same thing it has since the term was coined, but the Digital Revolution has injected significant changes to both methodology and outcomes.

In my book, there’s nothing particularly social about keyboarding consonant salads while riding a bicycle, talking on the phone, and forwarding lame jokes to anybody with a connection. It’s the communications cognate of tossing a golf ball onto a gymnasium floor covered from wall to wall, end to end, with carefully balanced dominos and then bragging about your aim.

A social network is a structure of connections. Getting ahead in the world, or just plain getting around for that matter, is often a matter of who you know as much as it is of what you know. “Connecting” requires a little more than just copying the names off of the bathroom wall. Connections require more intimacy than that, though that can certainly vary from someone you met at a workshop once and had some interests in common with, or it can be life-long best friends and people you might have met through them. A connection has either a purpose or a potential purpose, so there is value in maintaining that association. The value may be socially vague, as in you just enjoy hanging out together, or specifically business oriented, but it fulfills a need.

Friends

One thousand, three hundred sixty four friends? Pardon my enunciated English but, “give me a goddamned break!” I’ve lived in towns with fewer people than that. That’s bigger than many battalions, and they all wear nametags to help out. People who can’t get through a pop quiz without a crib sheet claim to have five hundred or a thousand “friends” or more. I’d bet a kidney they couldn’t recite all of their names. For that matter, I bet they couldn’t name the members of their high school graduating classes. Let’s bump it up a rung. I bet not one of them could rattle off their home room roster!

To me, a “friend” is someone who knows my name, address, phone number, and a whole bunch of personal stuff about me that others don’t and that I think of as being “private”. A friend is someone with whom you trust “private” stuff, because that is part of your essence, part of who you are. I have extremely few friends, and I’m married to one of them.

A friend is not just somebody I bumped carts with in Wal-mart, both of us smiling pleasantly and nodding insinuated apologies while at the same time mumbling “Stupid shit!” But, it seems to be that way in the digital dimension. If you encounter someone in cyberspace and exchange enough information to equate a Real World Wal-mart smile or nod, it’s friend city! People collect “friends” like baseball cards or something, but without giving a toot about all of the stats. Numbers. Names and numbers. It’s more about ones and zeroes than what they may signify, anyway.

What is an “acquaintance”? I never hung out with an “acquaintance”. I hung out with friends. My friend might have another friend that he invited along. I met him. We shook hands. He’s still my friend’s friend, not mine. I wouldn’t even call him an “acquaintance” at that juncture.

Communication

An odd phenomenon that has developed as an intricate characteristic of the Digital Dimension in general, and the Social Network environment specifically, is the innate absence of boundaries. Perhaps the fact that communication in this venue is a sharply abbreviated substitute for the traditional modes of exchanging information established over tens of tens of thousands of years. I learned that there is more to “communication” than just talking. It requires listening as well, and that isn’t all done with the ears. Effective listening involves observing “cues”, being able to “read” them, and responding constructively. Some people are highly skilled communicators, and some are lousy.

Communicating on the internet, as in social networking sites, loses the benefit of the “cues” we were taught; at least those over forty were. The development of a set of effective digital communications skills is still in the very early stages of learning by experience. As was true in the case of many experiments down through the ages, there are some explosions. Expressions such as “OMG” and “LOL” are somewhat like “cues”, but there are subtle differences in how they may be interpreted cross-culturally, just as are various facial expressions and gestures in the physical world.

I learned that only about 15% of what we call “communication” occurs in the form of actual words. I have no idea how that principle will be adapted for a universe where communication is dominated by impersonal electronic devices.

Boundaries

Along with the challenges of communicating effectively in the digital, electronic environment of social networking sites and tools like Twitter, Skype, and others (at least with Skype one has access to visual and auditory cues), there are the issues of boundaries, personal space, and privacy. With Google, Facebook, and other amassing huge databases of personal information about users, and interconnecting through multiple subsidiaries and functions, the traditional understanding of personal “boundaries” is losing its traditional value as “currency” in the digital “society” just as it has been for a generation in the “real” world.

The physical society, now undergoing adaptations and changes in its system of social mores, at the same time the brand new cyber-society is thrashing about to discover a beginning system of its own, makes for a considerable amount of miscommunication. As with the disruption in communication cues, the dilution, or even elimination, of personal boundaries removes important guidelines relied upon for interpersonal relationships.

I have, like others, observed the irony of people raging indignant about electronic surveillance while at the same time feeding Google and Facebook, et al, by the gigabyte with everything but their monthly bank statements.

On being cut adrift…

Consequently, I need a strategy for effectively and comfortably insinuating myself into the Digital Dimension to a degree established and managed by ME rather than by some
putz telecommuting from his recliner, or worse yet, from the can.

The last time I happened upon this convergence of realities, I simply quit in a snit. That was silly. Quitting is a viable option, I just don’t like the idea of doing it while simultaneously trying to juggle a mouthful of invective.

What I think I’m going to do is bring my modest FRIENDS list back to a basic “everybody gets everything” status and then work back from there. People with whom I “communicate” (archaic definition) on a regular basis, or with whom I happen to share a HUGE amount of genetic material, will be right there at the top, like the cream on an old bottle of milk.

People with whom I bumped carts at Wal-mart, though I don’t think I really have any of those, will be “unfriended“. The insinuated emotional blackmail inherent in that term is obvious, which may help to explain why so many people have hundreds of “friends”.

People who somehow showed up on my list because they knew a relative or friend, and I didn’t want to miff my relative or friend, will just have to find someone else’s family pics to poke through.

I’m starting to “friend” a whole bunch of folks from my high school class because we have a big reunion this year. Once the main shindig is over and done with, we’ll probably go back to not being aware of each other’s existence for the next fifty years or some reasonable portion thereof. Nothing personal, but if we didn’t hang out together back in the fifties and sixties, and haven’t been within a thousand miles of each other for the last fifty years, who cares? I wish everyone well. Congratulations to all of us for still being on this side of the lawn. Don’t take any wooden nickels.

That may sound harsh, but I really don’t think anybody will know or give a toot that their mooring line has been cut since most of those to be thusly cut loose don’t even know they’ve been moored in the first place. Like me, they’ve got more important things to worry about.

 

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