Facebook and Other Thoughts

Today I took the steps to deactivate my Facebook account. The whole idea of leaving behind a ‘social’ environment that connects me to others caused me to pause and reflect on what I was about to do. After all, isn’t Facebook already being scrutinized and bashed enough by the media for it’s transgressions?

I can’t say I was ever one who just ‘went along to get along’. There is an old quote by Alexander Hamilton that says … “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Taking that one step further, I believe … if you don’t stand something, you don’t stand for anything. So, what do I stand for?

There is little doubt, and plenty of evidence, that Facebook knew and made money from selling their user’s information. Years ago, when I first joined Facebook, I had tight security measures placed on my account. I thought perhaps they were a little too strict, but also knew I did not want to be vulnerable to people or businesses who would gather and use my information for their own personal/professional gains.

My husband and I have often commented on how our personal information (e.g., what we recently shopped for or bought on-line) seemed to automatically show up on the various websites we used or visited. How could the outfit I was looking at on one website show up as an advertisement on another website? Trying to buy a surprise gift for my husband’s birthday was crushed when the items I was shopping for appeared in an advertisement while he was checking his email!

I don’t fault Facebook for all of these actions. It’s a bigger problem than just Facebook. The problem for me is, if I went to a bank or some trusted retailer, and they sold or gave my private information to everyone who walked through their doors, I would no longer do business with them…if not take some type of legal action.

Many years ago, while living in Detroit, our home was vandalized while we were all at school and work. To some degree, each of us was left feeling violated; uncomfortably exposed. A similar sense to what I feel right now.

Leaving Facebook is my way of ‘standing for something’. Before I joined Facebook, I lived quite well without it. And, I am sure I will again.

I recently broke my ‘addiction’ to my cell phone; feeling I HAD to answer it every time it rang or pinged a text message. I, like so many others, was a ‘slave’ to it, allowing it to interrupt anything and everything I might be doing. Now I answer when I want to; when it is convenient for me, or when answering it is NOT disrespectful to the people I am with. Don’t you feel disappointed when you are ‘put on hold’ by someone you are talking face-to-face with, when they get a phone call or text and say ‘Just a minute’, ‘Let me see who this is’, or ‘I need to take this’?

Communication is a very important part of our lives. What we communicate and who we communicate with should be within our milieu, or our realm of influence and comfort. Every time we communicate, whether with friends, family or businesses, we offer information about ourselves (e.g., where we shop, dine, or play). Over time, we have allowed small bits of our personal or private information to be harvested by those whose interests are of a purely self-serving nature; with no regard to the faceless individuals whose information they freely sell, share or trade. Copiously taking what does not belong to them, and selling it to others; not once, but over and over again. Making millions of dollars selling our private or personal information.

I don’t believe there is anything we can do to gather up all those bits and pieces of  information being held hostage out there, and take it back. But, I will not stand by and give them a nod of approval or acceptance, which is what I would be doing if I remained on Facebook.

My dad used to have this saying, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’






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