‘Facebook Strike’ Essay on Disinfo

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photo by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC)

My latest essay, “Facebook Strike as Self-Awareness Course,” has been published on Disinformation. With heavy autobiographical focus, it explores the current state of Facebook and – more broadly – the psychology of social media. Here’s the beginning:

More than once I’ve been struck with the desire to abandon Facebook, and at least one of those times I actually deactivated my account. The reasons for my frustration have varied over the last six years or so, from their sudden formatting changes to prioritize business interests, to the way they mine user data regardless of privacy settings. Other reasons have been more personal, like not having a sufficient method for determining who gets to see the more eccentric or extreme parts of my personality, or simply feeling like I waste too much time on the site.

At the end of 2013, a new kind of Facebook frustration began creeping over me. My attempts to explain it to people only seemed to make it worse, especially because – as I realized – I was creating a paradox by using Facebook to denounce Facebook. Then in late December, I simply stopped posting. I thought even announcing that I’d be going on strike would further the paradox. I didn’t deactivate my account, and this allowed me to observe without participating (it was research, not stalking!). I still went on the site to send and receive private messages, and occasionally scanned the news feed. At some point I resolved to continue this posting strike for at least a month. I chose a month and not some longer period because of just how difficult this whole experiment proved to be. In fact, I was aware even before the strike that I had developed an addiction to Facebook unlike anything else on the Internet. Since I’m confronting addictive tendencies throughout my life, the time had come to address this one.

You can read the whole thing here!

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