I find myself taking a break from Facebook, again. I basically swore off Twitter after the election, and while I check in every now and again, because Twitter’s a place where a lot of marginalized voices can be heard, I don’t miss it. Specifically, what I don’t miss is the constant angst, and its persistent presence in my mind. Like, “Oh, I’m doing X, I should tweet!” No, I shouldn’t, because what I’m doing is irrelevant. And while sometime there’s that sense of catharsis when you can get a frustrated/angry thought out, I think net, the fact that I end up “vocalizing” those thoughts doesn’t actually help me feel better or be better.
The same kind of thought happened re: Facebook. I like a lot of political rants, because it echos what I’m thinking. It feels good. But it isn’t actually good. It gives me a little dopamine hit. And FB then sells that info to advertisers so they can better tailor how they sell me stuff. I don’t like the business model, because I don’t like how the business model drives their optimization.
I know it’d be virtually impossible to create a business that does this, but if you could pay $20/month for a FB-alike that showed nothing but chronological content from my friends and had zero ads, I’d pay it in a heartbeat – the catch is that I’d have to have my family & friends there already for it to be worthwhile, and I imagine that’s a tricky proposition. But it’d allow for a social network that’s designed primarily around *socialization*, and not around optimization for engagement and advertisement. If you only check on once a week, that’s fine – I could care less – because you’re paying a fixed, sustainable amount. I’d love to see something like that. It’s just so astonishingly high-risk that I have no idea how you’d actually do it.
But FB does have tangible value to me – some of my family’s on there, and it’s one of the primary ways I keep in touch with them. Which means that while I’ll take a break, it’s unlikely I’ll be off it for good. Which I have mixed feelings about, because I don’t think it’s a good organization overall. I know a bunch of people that work & have worked there, and they’re uniformly wonderful people. So it’s not that I think that it’s an evil organization run by nefarious masterminds – I think that the problem is that some of the core assumptions about how a business like this should work were done without a lot of thought for the unintended consequences, and it turns out the unintended consequences are globally destructive, and I don’t feel great about participating.
I have similar feelings about Reddit. I love a lot of the front-page level content, but it’s also a site that hosts some of the absolute worst trash the internet has to offer. How do I justify that, vs. something like Twitter or FB? I don’t know. Part of it is that they’re not selling my specific personal information, at least not in quite the same way. But it’s not great, either, and I waffle on whether it’s just a vile cesspit of garbage, or full of delightful jokes. It’s both, simultaneously, and sometimes the positive wins, sometimes the negative wins.
On a purely solid note, though, Ei-Nyung and I watched The Good Place, and got to the end of S1 last night. It went from being “delightful” and “charming” to one of the greatest things I’ve seen in a long time. We ended up immediately buying S2 without a second thought & watching the first three episodes of that before going to sleep, and it’s amazing. S1 has some moments where it seems like the show’s just kind of goofy and charming but not much more than that. Stick with it. Trust me.
I’ve been doing some music-y stuff recently. Nothing too deep, just because I’ve got a limited amount of time, but between practicing the drums, and firing up some of the old electronic music gear and giving it some effort… it’s just something I genuinely enjoy doing.
Also went swimming with Charles & Sean this morning, and that’s also something I genuinely enjoy doing, though waking up at 6:20 to go work out is definitely not among my favorite experiences.
And right now, my computer’s backup drive keeps “pinging” like something’s mechanically wrong with it. I think it’s time for a new backup drive. :\