Thursday, April 12, 2018

Facebook: Asset or Annoyance?

I get teased. Quite a bit. Not about my bald head or wearing of caps, not for my "radio gut" from sitting as Harry Chapin sang in "WOLD"...but...for being angry at Facebook and for still USING it.

This has very little or nothing to do with the use of my information. I'm one of the few.  If I don't want you to know something on FB, you don't.  My personal page is locked down fairly tight.  You have to be "friended" to see most of my posts, at the most..."friends of friends" times, and I keep my "liking" of pages to a minimum.

I mainly use it for business communication. To have a WION page, someone has to be the admin of it, and that means an account must be held personally by someone, and that someone is me.  My personal page is a place for me to vent, usually at telemarketers, Corporate America's dehumanizing of our country, and things that I think are wrong.  These shared things not only make me feel better, but hopefully raise a few eyebrows of awareness to what I believe are things that need "righting" in the immediate world which we share.

What angers me the most about Facebook is the general lower awareness posts from users who seem to reach to Facebook for life decisions as opposed to doing good old fashioned research themselves!  Sure, it's okay to ask opinions of others!  There's LOTS of "others" now to ask in our electronically connected world, but before you do that, how about doing your own research?  Use REAL personal communications when the decision involves your family, your health, your TAXES, your expenses and your livelihood.   There's no "feeling" attached to words on a social media site.  The gut feelings which help some people to make decisions cannot be derived from words printed on a screen which do not carry a voice's tone, a face's expression, or real happiness, sorrow, or confusion.  No emoticon can replace the real thing.  Yet, the lazy, the uneducated, and the casual voters/casual consumers take what they see on Facebook as gospel truth, then they SPREAD it. While perfectly allowable in our modern free electronic society, that part angers me.

So, many Facebook users look to the site as if it's a real live entity.  It's not. It might be an anthology of many people's experiences, however. Some of those experiences are told well, some told badly.  Not everyone was given the gift of writing and public speaking. Not everyone should be in the media, act like they are, or try to be the next big journalist.

I also dislike the fact that in today's world, many internet users believe "If I read it on the internet, it is so!"  Opinions about individuals, cities, boards of education,  officials in city, state, and federal government, and more seem to spread faster and become accepted FACT way too fast. Amplified by their placement on the internet, unsubstantiated statements (opinions) become FACT through repetition.

Insert public service announcement here:   Please  don't use Facebook Groups to help you with major life decisions. We need to be a stronger country than that when it comes to good judgment. Use Facebook carefully, and take advantage of IT,  as I do, to make it suit you. Face book's been doing that  with you since you signed away some of your privacy for the service, and allowed them control of how many of your friends are important enough to see your all-important posts.

 A good example of taking advantage of Facebook is their live video streaming.  As long as it's free, we'll use it at WION for guests and promotion of OUR station. If the videos we make leak the fact to the world that we have the best sounding AM station in stereo and a GREAT community, OOPS.  Our bad. (insert evil laugh here.) If the world discovers Ionia through WION's many morning show co-host videos, so be it. Worse things can happen.  As long as it's FREE in exchange for information in the form of ads targeted at me, I'm okay with that. You don't even have to look at most ads if you run a good ad blocker!

So, to do my part, I've checked my information on Facebook. I'm boring.  My interests are minimal, my friends list only those who I really want to see in reality, (some yet to be added I don't go friend-looking).  I don't take the Facebook quizzes that can leak your secret password answers to others, and I don't accept invites to games on FB, or other apps THROUGH Facebook.   Facebook is not on my phone, so they're not aware of who you are if we message each other on the phone, and they don't know of what we speak.  Oh, and...did I tell you just how WRONG they are with guessing interests?  ONE post on the WION site a long time ago about Menards having a display of toilets with a "Demonstration Here" sign got me this on my "interests and hobbies" list at Facebook.  Notice the second item: (click to enlarge if you must.)

I suppose Facebook's view of my interests could be worse....and certainly much more accurate than it is. For the record....I'm not old enough for that the second "interest" be a hobby....I hope it never is.