One of my favorite albums, Peggy Lee’s “Is that all there is?” has one of my favorite songs: Is That All There Is? The last stanza and chorus of this song is:
I know what you must be saying to yourselves
“If that’s the way she feels about it
Why doesn’t she just end it all”
Oh, no, not me
I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment
Cause I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you
That when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath
I’ll be saying to myself
Is that all there is
Is that all there is
If that’s all there is, my friends
Then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
This is my dilemma:
I have been a member of Facebook since it was first publically introduced and enjoyed the spirited and raucous nature of Facebook (I am a chronic first adopter). It has helped me connect with long-lost friends and connected me new friends—some of whom I have subsequently met with in person. My friends have led me to wonderful articles that have deepened my knowledge of topics ranging from politics to travel. I have experienced sadness and deep empathy for the loss of friend’s relatives, friends and pets. I have traveled vicariously with many people to parts of the world I will never visit. I have discovered art that I would not have found otherwise. I have sketched live with a model at the Royal Academy in London. I have celebrated the successes of friends, relatives and colleagues. I have learned important things from people I do not agree with. All of this is wonderful—and I think the original intent of Mark Zuckerberg and his band of renegades.
Facebook has now morphed into an algorithm-driven money-making machine designed to neutralize invention, discourse and uniqueness. It’s algorithms are warping relationships to establish its goal of maximizing profit. The humans behind these formulas are dehumanizing the original, highly original human interactiveness of Facebook. It is becoming a frustrating place where quality is diminishing exponentially and in sync with the success of the money making algorithms; and a place where tiny, fractured groups yell at other groups from their own echo chambers. It is a tool for bots to swing opinion and sucker folks into falsehoods and distortions framed by snippets of content stolen from other sources or fabricated. It does not seem worth the psychic energy anymore. I do not need ego-strokes from folks I know for things we all know is true.
Should I stay or should I go?
My inclination at this moment is to only keep my account as an auto-depository of these articles and updates from my artwork site—and depository for my instagram post of my artwork (and I do know Facebook owns Instagram.). I am also leaning toward trimming my 2,669 “friends” to only those I really know; no longer posting political content; and only dipping into Facebook once a week to check for messages and questions from my friends. This departure from my normal routine would coincide with our upcoming move to Portland, Oregon at the end of March. I will also no longer have the need to check-in with Mérida activities, events and posting about life here. I can use a new method in Portland to connect—thus avoiding getting sucked into Mr Zuckerberg money-making machine once again.
Of course, I run the risk of “missing” something. But what did I miss before Facebook? Am I any happier or content knowing I am “connected?” I truly do not think so. If someone really wants to get in touch I am sure I can be easily found on the internet. I show up in the first few of 756,000 search results in Google—and my image is first. And, to further compound this I will be 70 years old this year. Do I really need to add “friends” to my life when I should be cultivating those I have?
I don’t think so.