Or a Necessary Evil?
Today is April Fool’s Day (and Easter Sunday) 2018. But this is no joke. Facebook has come in for a lot of criticism lately. Most of it seems justified, but is it really wrong to give people a way to share information about themselves, especially when everyone likes to be ‘a little star’ shining in cyberspace?
Even Janis Ian, Society’s Child, finds her joy in life when she shares her life’s joys with others. But it does raise some vociferous opposition from many of the ‘trolls’ who like nothing more than to sound off on others’ posts.
Marshall McLuhan was right
Our world has turned into a ‘global village’. In the old days, we had to rely on snail mail and landlines to share information. Now, it goes round the globe in a matter of seconds. And the distances between us have shrunk: we have acquaintances from different countries in the world now listed one after another in our column of Friends.
As an example of that, I have two friends, one on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. One used to star on a children’s television program on the CBC; the other was celebrated radio DJ on the BBC regional networks. To my surprise, they have a friend in common that wasn’t just me. It’s a small world, after all.
The Global Mind
One recent lament by many Facebook users is the problem of not seeing their friends’ posts on a daily basis. Like neural pathways in the brain, disused connections die away. (This may account for the ‘disappearing’ likes of Fountain International’s page.) If you don’t show your appreciation for a friend’s posts, Facebook assumes that you no longer wish to view them. After all, its job is to give you more of what you want, not less.
One could equate this to the old fashioned concept of gathering together in church or the community hall. Those that you’re not interested in talking with can be unconsciously ignored or even purposely snubbed. That’s how cliques are formed. “Like attracts like(s).”
It is totally logical that a social network is the perfect platform to sway others to your particular point of view. To then sputter and stammer that you were tricked into forming or changing your mind is ridiculous. Anyone who has ever attended a political party convention or a spiritual revival tent can attest to the power of a visible popular trend. We love to follow others, especially to the front of the auditorium. Me, too, please!
What we don’t like is when we are tricked into attended that cyber conference, without notice. But advertising tries to do that to us every single day. We think we tune it out, but we are easily programmed. Try not to think of the Bay…
If you really want to see what impression you are making on others, check out which posts are ‘sponsored’ to appear on your News Feed. These are the things that the analytics of the system have determined where your interests lie. In other words, instant feedback.
It is easy to blame others for the mess of the world, but in truth we have done it to ourselves. If Brexit was won by ‘cheating’ and Trump became President by fooling the voters, then everyone is getting exactly what they wanted. Really. (Please don’t shoot the Messenger.)
When you point a finger at the others, you have three fingers pointing back at you.