Social scientists have warned Zuck all along that the Facebook theory of interaction would make people angry and miserable


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/22/facebook-is-sad.html


#2

Facebook took “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” added in the obnoxious stranger’s demand that “you should smile”, and then formalised it, attached it to real names, and made it available 24/7. You didn’t have to be a social scientist or psychologist to understand why that would have bad results.

If I had my way every Facebook user would be required to watch the “Black Mirror” episode “Nosedive” (which, sadly, would only inspire 20% or less of the users to close their accounts).


#3

Back in 2011 a friend of 20+ years convinced me to join Facebook so I too could catch up with a bunch of mutual college friends with whom I had no active relationship. In 2012, while my wife was going through some heavy duty healthcare needs, I closed my facebook account and I haven’t been back since.

During a period of time that I was extremely stressed (wife’s cancer diagnosis, 9 hospitalizations over 8 months, 9 months of IV antibiotics and an infection that resulted in an eventual BK amputation) I realized that somehow, through it all, Facebook managed to make me even more sad than I was dealing with all that shit.

I took to calling Facebook a PR Newswire version of life. Everything was super happy, super fake and near-totally devoid of meaningful content.


#4

But wasn’t this obvious to all of us from the start? The impossibility of coming up with status updates that would be equally interesting/funny to all of my contacts was the reason I never posted anything to FB.
(Although I have always kept a semi-dormant account going, in order to prevent anyone from hijacking my identity.)

My question is therefore; when it comes those that gladly went along with Zuckerberg’s one size fits all concept - how/why are they so different from me?


#5

Nicely put. Never joined FB myself, which people I know thought was weird since I’m one of the big early adopters in my circles and because I’d been talking about social networks like FOAF. I just looked at the whole FB package (this was long before they added “improvements” like the news feed) and responded with:

More importantly, I hope that your wife is in full remission and healthy.

Your question contains its answer: most people find it easier and more comforting to conform to a one-size-fits-all concept, especially when it’s conveniently provided to them for “free.”


#6

I find many people I know are compartmentalizing their social circles by using Facebook for one group (family), Instagram for another, Snapchat for another, etc.


#7

Wah-wah-wah. Just stay off that shit, and you will be fine. If your relatives can’t handle email to maintain social connection, they are not worth the trouble.


#8

Facebook for prospective employers and extended career network? Seems to be how it works around my ends. I try to explain to my family that I am easier to reach on Tinder, but they’re a bit slow on the uptake.


#9

Compartmentalisation is a good stopgap, and I do see younger people doing it more and more with their social networks. However, if anyone thinks they’ll be able to continue doing that with Instagram (owned by Facebook) they’re in for a nasty surprise.


#10

She’s been cancer free since 2012, and a few weeks ago she had her 5th annual memorial dismemberment luncheon.

Smilow hooked her up with a great prosthetist, she’s had no sequale (other than the missing bits), she has a (usually) great attitude and she can now cover 3.2 miles on the treadmill in 62 minutes, a feat she performs several times a week. (A long way from the 5 minutes at 0.5 mph she started out doing in PT.)

Being much smarter that I am, she and her entire cohort of college friends never got on Facebook in the first place.


#11

Giving up Facebook is hard, a lot of friends use Messenger, and also event invites.

However, I have found a way to get the benefits without the cancerous news feed: simply unfollow everyone. Every single person, every single page. Your newsfeed is blank, you don’t even have ads. You can still use every other feature, but the depression-inducing newsfeed is gone.

I recommend this to anybody.


#12

Cool story, but twitter shows that letting people maintain multiple faces leads to exactly the same misery.


#13

Wah-wah-wah, oldest cop-out to criticism of a thing.

Why should “just not using something” be the answer to a suggestion of improving something? “Take it like it is or don’t complain” is such a dumb argument. You can use something, even like it, and still have complaints and suggestions for improvements.

Besides, sometimes you don’t have a choice in the matter and you have to use it. Maybe it’s the least bad thing out there.


#14

If only Zuck had been a fan of Seinfeld, then he would have know that people have several faces, and when the circles collide, bad things happen.


#15

I was conditioned at an early age to accept epic levels of emotional and physical abuse. Oddly enough it took almost dying and realizing that the callous “good guys” who would jump all over me while I was homeless and hiding from my drunk dad in a closet while he abused an elderly person also related to me… were so busy crucifying me over something some dude I barely know posted that offended the queen bee (and this is barely a metaphor, some people are truly venomous) of their group that they had to spend the period where I was being treated from cancer trying to tear down my identity to justify their own actions. It was this moment when I realized I was under less threat from an actual psychotic drunk than I was from so called “allies” on FB. I have never been back. I will never be back. FB is dead to me… but EVERYONE I know is still on it. I still get yelled at for not being on it and making it “hard” for people. I could set up three or four secret accounts and manage them full time to keep from sets of family members being on the same one at once and try to keep it all a secret all the while out there some toxic narcissist who has weaseled into the upper levels of various social justice clickbait recyclers and a stalker from a long failed relationship who proved… dedicated… all the while I can duck and hide from them. Now I have a job, a house, a partner, health problems, a life.

WHY would people try to force me to use the site still? Why wouldn’t they be sickened by what happened to someone close to them?

I realize I responded to the toxicity of FB quickly, hell I wasn’t even really on there under my name, and yet I stayed. For me, it’s easy to see why. Until the last few years every time I was abused my response was “try harder to please them” because that is how being raised that way will make you until you figure it out and it’ll still show up from time to time.

But that’s just me… I do wonder about the others. What still makes me sad is that some of those people I thought were real friends. And so I spent less time offline with casual acquaintances. FB in my mind is one of the most socially toxic things I’ve come across, and I’ve had guns held to my head.


#16

There’s something worse than Facebook? We’re all fucked.

FB is what happens when tech-nerds with a demonstrable history of semi-abusive behaviour get financial backing from desperate investors. Of course it’s the bright shiny version of life. People have control over what they project, what they publish.

So when Zuckerberg says anything else is “a lie”, he’s either giggling, or naively incapable of knowing that the projection people post is a fabrication, or a poking up only of the bit they wish others to see.

Humans are by nature capable of compartmentalising, we don’t really like big community and too many people knowing about what we do in private.

FB gets eyeballs, but it’s useless. I log in once a … blue moon … and nothing has changed. My account is effectively dead.


#17

Fbook will f’ you up.


#18

Twitter is worse.


#19

Suggestions are totally fine and great! But at the end of the day, Facebook is a private for-profit entity, and YOU are the product, not the customer. You didn’t pay a dime, and your suggestions will likely be worth the same to Facebook.

HAVE TO USE IT? Citation fucking required!


#20

What’s Twitter?