Fixing Facebook Vs Fixating On Facebook

Well, the two week’s experiment is proceeding pretty well. I am avoiding Facebook for the better part of the day, and just dealing with it in a set period of time in the evening.

It is working out well, on the whole. I am less distracted when it comes to household tasks and can concentrate on my other writing and upon hobby matters.  And I have isolated the two things that most bother me about the social media giant:

a. The fact that people who I quite like to talk to in real life are menaces on the screen. I realise that people will always have different political, religious, moral , and cultural opinions that I may not agree with. I accept that – I know that some of my thoughts may make them quail.

But for the most part when we are face to face we do not trot these out…certainly we do not lambaste each other with them. The conventions of polite society seem to keep us in check.

Not so on the screen. Even though they are not anonymous – I can read who has posted something – my Facebook friends grab some of the most annoying and irksome posts from others and plaster them in my face. It does me no good to click the button stopping these – they are carried to me by the friend, rather than the Facebook service itself.

I am left with only three options; hide all from the friend, unfriend the friend, or grit my teeth and bear it.

b. The vortex of stupid click-bait posts that is any venture off the main page. I’ve learned to avoid any of them. Part of me admires the skill of the shill, but they are still demeaning.

As for the first section, part of me wants to collect a series of appalling memes and inflammatory pages and scatter them out onto the screen myself, with particular references and calls to individual people…but part of me knows that this is not funny – just bad manners. I prefer to be bad-mannered in person.

Heading Image: Lakanuki Atoll 1944

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Create Instantly Without Writing

Yes, you read that correctly. Slowly, perhaps, but you did read it, and doesn’t that say volumes for your third-grade teacher. Bravo.

The idea of creating an e-book ( Whut dat? ) without writing a word, and in just seconds…has come via that goldmine of culture – the Facebook side panel. I am dying to press the link and be taken away on a magical mystery tour but long experience has shown me that it will only lead to pain later.

The pain will be the extra suggested posts that the algorithms dredge up and plaster on my regular section of the feed. I am generally appalled and horrified by what my regular human acquaintances will attach as shares or likes…how much worse is it going to be when it is just commercial robots?

So I will not touch it – at least not on my own computer. If I can get someone else’s iPad while they are in the toot, I will whizz over and investigate. I may even send off for the free pamphlets outlining how I can become a millionaire in just three easy steps. Or sign up for a year’s free supply of Russian brides. It all depends on how long it will take for the owner of the iPad to vote for Obama in there. If we’ve run out of paper again it could take ages.

Note: Fraudulent schemes are all very well, and I would be the first to support international trade, but there is something functionally wrong in selling horse shit on a $1000 tablet. If people have enough money to buy the iPad in the first place, surely the crooks can think of a better way to separate them from it.

The Russians Have Been Influencing The Elections In Moscow

Apparently with the help of Julian Assange, Donald Trump, and Robert Mugabe. Or so the latest sidebar wisdom from Facebook would have us believe.

I’m fully prepared to agree with this – if only in an effort to get away from the arguments about whether vaccines cause football players. I’m waiting until a would-be bestselling children’s author releases a statement clarifying the roll of Bob The Builder, and whether he did, indeed, fix it.

I am always amused when I hear of the secret influences the Russians are said to have on overseas governments. How secret can freighters loaded with Kalashnikovs and RPG’s be? They couldn’t even sneak atomic bombs through the Bosphorus back in Nasser’s day without getting caught at it…and having to beetle round and sail back with them. And how popular could the Russians be in the Muslim world anyway – after Afghanistan they are generally as welcome as a two-tone turd on a toothbrush.

And they have the problem of not only China, but North Korea. Oh, they are meant to be allies of both countries, but being an ally downwind of either of these places is a worrisome matter. Especially if the wind gets lively – they have a choice of 4 billion cases of smoker’s breath or an underground nuclear test site built on the Swiss cheese principle… I have a strong suspicion there’s a growing desire on the part of a number of countries to remove the present ruler in Pyongyang…I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a take-a-ticket machine for the various  Spetsnaz teams so that they all get their chance.

I’m actually privately pleased to see that the Russians are getting their act together…if they could ever be said to do that…and getting more consumer goods. That’s the real ticket to world peace. The Chinese went from being regarded as outer-space alien zombies to world shopkeepers in the space of 30 years and there is nothing to stop the Russians, with all their mineral wealth, from doing the same. Nothing except the Russians, mind…

 

Holding Facebook’s Beer

I was mildly amused when a Facebook game came by asking me to score points for admitting to foolish/sad/criminal behaviour in my past. And making it public to the entire planet. I mean, how could one resist the temptation to fill in the little chinks in the information brick wall. I’m just a little surprised they didn’t include a section that asked for sexual fantasies and credit card numbers…

Well, here at the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia we feel that this sort of blatant attempt at coercion is all very well, but should not be done on an amateur basis. If you are going to ask people to condemn themselves publicly, you need to give them more tempting chances. If they’re going down the sewer, make it a big one.

To this end, we have devised the following quiz for social media. There are no points scored, unless you count the knowing looks that people will give you at your next party.

Have you ever…

a. Shot a police cruiser in the grill work with a 17 pounder anti-tank gun from a camouflaged position?

b. Flayed an Albigensian heretic?

c. Written a song about your feelings and then played it to people at a party, accompanying yourself on guitar? All 15 verses?

d. Served week-old warm runny egg salad sandwiches from a service station cabinet to people at a church social?

e. Counterfeited a draft card to allow your underage classmates to buy beer at the local liquor store? Then phoned ahead to alert the local police?

f. Removed a ladder from an attic access hatch while someone was up there and then gone quietly home and had a good dinner?

g. Switched tops on the spray-paint cans in the local Bunnings store cabinet?

h. Put salt in the plaster mix of someone who is trying to invest a casting?

i. Invited a religious caller in to tell you their entire story by using an accent rich in unidentifiably foreign sounds, mixed with blatant grammatical error –  and then insisted that they sit down and drink toasts to your country? Used water tumblers full of hard liquor and cooking oil?

j. If they lasted the course, showed them the Albigensian skin…?

 

The Authentic Fake News Site Vs The False-Flag Rumour Forum List Meme

If we were asked to characterize the social media that we use – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. – in terms of food, what would we make it out to be?

a. Facebook: A crusty stew with appetizing aromas at the edges – aromas that never actually seem to be there when you search for them. The occasional bubble in the centre indicating heat. And a roiling mass of unsavoury ingredients just under the crust. Cat hair here and there. And unicorn glitter.

b. Twitter: A Pez dispenser. You poke the ornamental head at the top and a hard pellet of opinion is popped out of the screen. Some of the pellets taste like sugar and some of them taste like horse shit. None of them do you any good at all.

c. Instagram: Magnificently plated, superbly coloured, and unavailable to someone like you at this time. Just look and envy.

d. Pinterest: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and so is the food. The reason is mould. Subscribe now.

e. The personal blog: Someone’s home cooking. Not necessarily bad, but nevertheless someone else’s pots and pans. Taste at your peril. They may not be a good cook. You may not be a good eater.

If we had been presented with today’s social media news in the 1950’s or 1960’s we would likely have recognised it for what it is – propaganda and commercial promotion. The flimsiest of the flam. Those of us who saw the lies when they came on newsprint and left ink stains on the fingers…or who waded through innumerable cigarette advertisements in magazines…react entirely differently to those who have only ever seen a screen. We may not know how to turn that screen on and make it dance, but we know when to turn it off and do our own thinking.

Of course we can be wrong when we do that – original thought can be as bad as the store-bought stuff – but as we use simpler ingredients and have less access to processors, it is likely to be fresher and tastier. It may lack the salt and scandal that is added by unknown hackers but it nourishes us just the same.

Bit riskier when we send it to our friends and neighbours, though. As our own thoughts are unlikely to be covered by the legal indemnities enjoyed by professional liars, we are in danger of being detected and having our opinions challenged. Most of us have no biased reports or dodgy scientific studies to back us up and common sense has long been discredited as a way of living. The best we can do when some other madman challenges our own mania is throw out a smokescreen of kitten and Hitler memes and close the account.

Anyone who either agrees or disagrees with this will be instantly defriended with the prickly end of an emoji.

” Do Tell Me You Loathe it “

The cartoon is pinched off the internet…in turn pinched from a copy of Punch magazine of the 1930’s. The fun it pokes at Moderne architecture and the pretensions of the owners is dated, but priceless. However, it would appear that with the advent of the social media campaign, satire might now be spread into our era.

We’re currently seeing several campaigns in our social media to do with changes to marriage law in Australia. A questionnaire has been sent to us all asking if we would like to see same-sex marriage introduced. We get to answer yes or no, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics will be making the result known to the parliament. What they do with the opinion count is anyone’s guess.

The form is simple – yes or no – but from the way people are behaving on the social media section of the internet, I think it should have included a number of additional questions and options:

a. Yes, and I want the ABS to tell everyone on my Facebook list. And I want to get a signed receipt from each one of them to show that they know what I voted for.

b. Yes, but not when I’m looking.

c. Yes, But can we have something in it about the participants not writing their own vows and reading them out to the assembled guests before the bar opens? Please?

d. Yes, but not for certain people on the list I’ve enclosed with this form. Especially not No. 4 and No. 17 on the list. Not after what they said.

e. No, but not because I am a bad person. Because you asked…

f. No, but you can change the inheritance laws if you like.

g. Yes and No. Well, you asked. If you wanted a definite answer you should have made it a lot more vague. Hint first, then qualify that hint. Like a legislative game of ” Clue “.

h. No, but then yes, and then no again. And then yes. That should use up a couple of parliaments, if I know Canberra.

I’ve been watching the informed debate, the uninformed debate, the emotional outbursts, and the cynical jockeying for validation that is Facebook. I know that if I entered into any form of discussion I would be instantly shunned by half the people I know. If I espoused the opposite view I would suffer the same fate from the other half. I would become a social pariah…wandering the cold halls of the internet knocking vainly upon closed doors.

It is the one cheerful image that keeps me going…

Taking Back Life – Part One – How Many Friends?

Is your life shared with people on the internet? Do you have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet that keeps you in touch with people –  people you normally wouldn’t touch with a barge pole? Welcome to the modern world.

As a child, I had two parents, three grandparents, fifteen cousins, and about six friends in my home town. That’s 26 people with whom to interact – some on a regular basis, and some at intervals as long as 5 years. I managed to be happy and fulfilled with the amount of approval that they gave me and coped with any other treatment in the meantime.

Of course there were acquaintances and school companions, but they shifted and faded as the years went by. I can remember them via school yearbooks, but find evidence of only two of them in public records via Google. The relatives fare even worse…I had to do a thorough analysis of one picture before I could convince myself the person in it was a cousin. Heaven knows where the rest are…

Now, with FB and other accounts – as well as the WordPress connection – I seem to have gathered 1200 souls into the iMac. I know some of them personally, and some merely by screen. Some are a complete mystery, and some a complete pain, but I am too polite to wave them away in case they are offended by it.

The most frightening thing is finding a day in which all my intellectual contact and stimulation comes through that screen – and not through human conversation or serious reading. I’ve no-one to blame but myself for that isolation – though the distances we travel in this town to meet each other are sometimes excessive considering the short period that we are in each other’s company.

I really do have to consider whether I am getting the best out of my time by following these social sites so slavishly. It may be time to trim down the Facebook contact pool and ditch the Instagram. And go find real people in real time.