Recent Facebook revelations don’t surprise me. What surprises me is all of the shock and outrage from the populace. It seems pretty obvious to me that any online operation is going to use tracking and research to improve not only it’s usability for users but to increase the profit margins to grow said online operation. There are workarounds for savvy users who happen to care about such things.
Anyone who hasn’t noticed their ad feeds on random websites showing photos of something they looked up on Amazon or mentioned in conversation while near their cell phone – I worry about you. (an aside – I like to confuse the system by looking up random stuff, just for fun to see what will start showing up 😂)
Facebook is in essence a business entity that provides a tool. It will only ever be as good as that business entity allows it to be and it will only be as good as the users that use the tool.
On the Business Entity
It doesn’t matter what size a business is, it could have a single person who runs everything or it could have a whole board of directors that operate it and manage a large workforce. One of the first and most important lessons that any small business owner should learn is that your business and you are separate – your business becomes its own entity. This is to protect you and help you keep your finances and legal things separate from your personal life. You refer to your business as a we and not an I. It has a vision and mission statement that may include your values but it should also have financial goals that ensure it is a success.
Larger companies have more hands involved in the operation and they also have a lot more people invested in the financials. Any size business should perform market research on their image, product and service. Not taking corrective action on red flags until forced to is pretty much standard practice for companies and corporations in our country. Why? Because they are allowed to operate that way. It’s how our system is set up and I don’t imagine it will change any time soon.
Millennials are easy to make fun of, but in all honesty, changes in the way businesses do business is due to shifts in the lifestyle and values of millennials. You could physically see the panic in the air. SO MUCH MONEY has gone into researching what makes them tick. Hell, my sisters are millennials and they are so different from me and each other, I have no idea where they are coming from most of the time. So there is a huge culture shift taking place that encourages companies to re-evaluate their values, work environments and global impact. Those who aren’t making changes for the better or at least putting on a good front will soon be empty abandoned buildings. Those who are fighting change tooth and nail, well. We’ll see you in 2024 I imagine. But I digress, stay focused!
On the Users that Use the Tool
We can all be pissed off about how Facebook does business, but the fact remains – Facebook is a tool. It’s a tool that is designed to connect people to other people, groups, organizations and the businesses that they support. The end user is the content creator. The end user being an individual, group of like minded people, an organization or a business.
Facebook isn’t in the business of content creation – they collect the content and store it so it is accessible to the end user. Should they police the content to ensure that it is safe for users? For sure, but what does that look like and where is the line drawn?
Common sense seems to have flown out the window. Anyone can create content. Content is going to be biased to whatever type of person or entity that content is coming from be it good, bad or just plain silly. In addition to that, whatever social tool you are using is going to figure out that you like a certain thing based on the content that you post, like and share. They want you to enjoy your time with them and come back for more, so they of course are going to show you more of that. That seems pretty straight forward to me. Idk.
Another thing to take into consideration is that even though social media keeps everyone connected, it isn’t the same thing as showing up in real life. People are ruled by senses – needing to touch, taste, smell, and hear to gain understanding.
With a screen the only sense you are really using is sight and even for those of us that are not super social, that lack of other senses is depriving you of the very connections that make humans human. Take away those senses that help us make connections and gain understanding for another person and you’re left with some base emotions.
I can and often do write sarcastically 🙄, but you may not understand that I am being sarcastic because you can’t hear it in my voice or see it on my face. Does that make sense?
Putting your kids into an environment that most adults struggle with is just a bad idea all around. When it’s hard for an adult to tell the difference between fact or fiction, humor, sarcasm or rudeness – what makes you think your kiddo is equipped to do so? When you can’t sit in one spot for more than 30 minutes without checking your phone, social media or email… there’s a pattern there.
You need to equip yourself and your kiddos with knowledge that can help you both navigate this environment together. “But everybody’s doing it” is not an excuse, it’s a cop out. In addition to that, communities need to be working together to make sure that information that is shared locally is true and for the common good.
You cannot believe or allow a corporation whose end goal will always be growth and profit margins to be in charge of teaching your kiddos appropriate online behavior. All you have to do is scroll through the most recent 25 to 50 social posts that you and your connections have posted and shared to get an idea of just how awesome we all are at regulating ourselves.
Is leaving Facebook the answer?
That’s a personal choice and you should really think about it before you do (see article below). I left when I did because I wanted to like the people in my life again. Or not know so much about them. I was so entrenched with social media because of the work that I was doing and having to put up with so much drama that I had to keep quiet about – for my sanity, I had to leave.
It also isn’t going to solve the bigger problem of what content is allowed to be posted. It won’t affect the kiddos much because they are really only there for family and school connections – it’s not their preferred platform for close connections. Make sure your kiddos know what is appropriate behavior while online and interacting with strangers.
To help with social media overload I always recommend taking apps off your phone if you have access to them on a second device. Secondly, set a timer to regulate the time you are on. I used to do that with Pinterest, so easy to get lost there 😅.
I recommend checking in with your local community education centers and finding out if anyone local provides safety, health and wellness topics pertaining to navigating social media for you and youth. If so, attend some presentations. Gain the knowledge you need to self regulate and then teach that to your kiddos.
Opinion from an American Misfit, [she/her/hers/trying to be humanish, maybe]
I’m not sure yet how I feel about this one – gonna keep an eye on it: https://www.howtostopfacebook.org/