The whole Facebook / Cambridge Analytica thing has been on my mind a bit lately. Really all of social media. Apart from these privacy issues, Twitter and Facebook seem to have become the place to visit if you want to learn who’s horrible for having / not having a particular belief, gender, skin color, etc. I just want to know how everyone’s doing, what’s going on in their world, maybe something to make me smile. But it generally takes less than 10 minutes before I stumble across something aggravating. And more often than not I really want to respond but I know it’s not going to help. Generally just the opposite. So I turn away and hope I don’t spend the rest of the day contemplating what my response would have been if I’d allow myself to post one.
There’s still good stuff on Twitter and Facebook, if I can manage to skim past those posts that leave a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve been reluctant to give up on them completely since it’s an easy way to communicate with friends and family. But, given that I can go days without checking in, I can miss out on a lot that’s going on. Facebook is particularly annoying since it wants to organize your timeline according to a seemingly arbitrary set of rules instead of just showing me what’s happened since I last visited. I’m sure there is plenty of news that I miss completely if Facebook feels it’s not important enough to appear in my timeline.
And then there’s all the history. I joined Twitter in January of 2007 and Facebook in July of 2007. Over ten years worth of memories scattered across these sites that I’d like to hold onto. I can (and have) downloaded archives of my Facebook and Twitter history so I could make it available elsewhere but I’d lose a bit of context since I’d not have links to those that participated in those conversations over the years. That would be a bummer. So anyway I’ve not done anything about the situation other than slowly withdrawal from participating in most forms of communication the internet.
I found myself thinking about all these things again this morning and wondering why it is I don’t simply revert to my roots? That is, posting here on my poor neglected blog. Here I’m in control of my data, for the most part. I don’t have to worry about who’s tracking my activity and I don’t have to be bombarded with the divisiveness I find elsewhere unless it’s self-inflicted. And blogging is how I came to know so many of the people I’m now friends with on Facebook and Twitter. There certainly a lot less friction to firing off a quick post to Twitter or Facebook, but then I’ve also been trained to cram my thoughts into 140 characters or less. That doesn’t allow for a lot of nuance.
If I look back at the time before social media (2003 – 2007) I averaged about 75 posts a year. From 2008 on that drops to 10 posts a year. Since 2015 I’ve posted here 10 times. With zero posts in 2016. It’s a real shame. Yeah there’s a plenty of silly stuff that I’ve posted here over the years, but there’s a few thoughtful pieces as well. And maybe if I come back home that thoughtfulness will return.
I know I’ve threatened to revive this site on more than one occasion in the past, so I’m hesitant to make any predictions. But either I come back here or I keep backing away from the internet in general and I think I’d rather give the former a try first.
As for the fate of my Twitter and Facebook accounts, that remains up in the air. I can’t quite bring myself to delete them yet. Maybe things will get better there somehow.