Facebook Desperado

I’ve always known that, despite outward appearances, I was a badass. Now I can prove it.

But you need a little background.

First, I’m on Facebook.  I use it to keep track of my friends and family without harassing them with “old man” telephone calls.  I scroll through, see what everybody’s doing, click “like” if I actually like something (weird, huh?) and move on to real life.  Handy as a hip pocket!

Second.  I live in Canada.  But I live in the one part of Canada (Vancouver) where it doesn’t really get cold and we hardly ever get snow.  When we do get snow, it’s an event — kinda like Carnival in Rio except with winter coats, a lot more swearing and traffic accidents.

Okay?  Stay with me.

This year, it snowed in Vangroovy – a bunch.  We had a White Christmas.  It was an event.  I posted it on Facebook.  Here’s the picture and here’s the caption.

 “Okay, Mother Nature.  Enough is enough.  Go Home.  You’re drunk.”

Then, a couple of days later, when there was more snow, I posted another picture – again with a caption.

“HEY, Mother Nature! Again with the snow? That’s it. I’ve had it. One more time and I’m taking legal action. How would you like a big fat Restraining Order, you bi … bad person?”

Me and my Facebook friends had a good laugh, and all was well with the world.

Then the snow went away.  And I posted this picture …

AND ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

My post was deleted because … wait for it … the Zuckerberg Police said, “Your post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech.”  Not only that, but I was warned that if I continued to flout these Community Standards, my account would come under review and my Facebook privileges could and probably would be taken away.  (No more “Thumbs Up” for you – ya Nazi!)    

To be fair, it wasn’t the picture that pissed them off; it was the caption.  I can’t write the caption here just in case the Algorithms are still watching me (they probably are) but here’s the gist of it:

First word – D** — cease to exist.
Second word – Y** — not me but …
Third word — W**** — the colour of snow
Fourth word – D***** — residents of Hell

Apparently, if you’re going to criticize snow, you have to play nice or – uh – the snow? — will be offended?  I think?  (The Zuckerberg militia didn’t actually explain.)

Now, I could go on and on about the mindless, senseless, cyber monopoly called Facebook and how it has slithered its soulless tentacles into every aspect of our daily lives.  I could mention that “the Big F” answers to no-one, and that Biden, Putin and the Pope combined don’t have the kind power Zuckerberg’s minions do.  (Don’t they wish they did!)  Or I could suggest that — of all the bizarre, stupid, ridiculous, hateful and downright harmful things I’ve seen on Facebook — controlling hate speech against snow doesn’t strike me as a top priority.

I could do all those things.  But I’m not gonna.  Cuz I’m a badass now.  I’m walking tall.  I’m talking tough.  I’d drink my juice out of the carton if my wife would let me.  Maybe I’ll just get a neck tattoo: “Born to flout Community Standards.”  Yeah!  And I’ll misspell “flout,” cuz that’s the way guys like me roll!

I’m Crap At Social Media

social-media1

I love Social Media.  I think it’s one of the coolest benefits of living in the 21st century.  It’s as if the Internet has given us a gigantic cocktail party.  Unfortunately, I’m crap at it.  The problem is, for the life of me, I don’t understand how it works.  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  I know the techno-gabble that keeps it together – you post, I post, somebody else posted, we all click “like” or “share” or some such other thing and walk away happy – but after that, I’m lost.  And I truly believe that’s why I’ve never actually been invited to the party.

First of all, I’m old enough to remember pen and paper.  This is a major disadvantage.  Back in the day, when you had something to say, you had to stop, take a minute, think about it, and then take pen in hand.  This forced even the stupidest among us to try and present a comprehensive idea and back it up with a cohesive argument.  Social Media is a lot faster than that.  So, as a consequence, I’m just not intellectually prepared to take a Facebook meme, an Instagram photo or a 140 character treatise on the evils of supply-side economics all that seriously.

Secondly, there’s just so damn much of it.  Social Media is everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest – God Almighty!  It never ends.  The sheer volume of relentless information is overwhelming.  No wonder people are wandering around the streets like zombies, thumb-numbing their telephones.  Personally, I don’t have enough hours or energy to sort through the Cute Cat Videos, the angry Trump Tweets and recipes for pan-fried kale to get to the good stuff – forget respond.

And finally, I’m not absolutely certain I want to spend a lot of time chasing Social Media.  I’m all for sharing ideas and discussing them ad infinitum.  (I’m usually the last man standing at real cocktail parties.)  However, for my money, people who think what they had for lunch (or where they had it) is noteworthy, need to reread their Copernicus.  Most of the trivia of everyday existence is – uh – trivial, and recording it across Cyberspace doesn’t give it any extra significance.

It’s not Social Media’s fault I can’t figure it out.  The fact is, in human years, Social Media is still a teenager, and we all know what an emotional and intellectual game of hopscotch that is.  So, for the time being, go in peace, Social Media.  Maybe, in a few years, I’ll be a little smarter and you’ll be a little older — and then you and I can have an adult conversation.

Facebook Sucks … Kinda/Maybe

OMG, the sky is falling!  Citizens, run for your lives!  SAVE YOURSELVES!

facebook1

This moment of panic was brought to you by Mark Zuckerberg and the good folks down at Facebook.  Apparently, those fun-loving scamps in Menlo Park, CA have been slackin’ off in the I’ve-Got-Your-Back department and allowed another company, Cambridge Analytica, to harvest personal data from a bunch of unsuspecting Facebook users.  Actually, “a bunch” is a bit of an understatement; the real numbers are north of 50 million.  Wow!  This is a serious no-no, and I have the feeling “my bad!” isn’t going to cover it.  (Although it looks like Zuckerberg is giving it the good ol’ Harvard try.)

I’ll grant you that this sordid bit of business looks remarkably like some faceless corporate somebody is peeking in the bedroom window, but let’s not get all lynch mob crazy just yet.  There are a few things we have to consider.

One — Unless you’ve been living on one of the moons of Uranus for the last 30 years, you know that the Internet is kinda like Santa Claus:
It sees you when you’re sleeping
It knows when you’re awake
It knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
Cyberspace is not a vacuum, and every computer click that happens there is going somewhere.  Only children and the hopelessly uniformed believe the Internet is a private party.

Two — The people who are suddenly swimming in a sea of indignation over their invaded private parts are the same ones who’ve been posting their lives away on social media.  Honestly, if you’re telling the entire world everything about yourself — from your college Beer Pong championship to what you had for lunch at Olive Garden — you don’t have a lot of room to complain.  There’s such a thing as due diligence.

Three — Right now, Facebook might be the Big Bogeyman (Bogeyperson?) but they’re not the only ones collecting your private information.  Literally everything, in the 21st century, is selling you out to Cyberspace — from your Smart phone and its GPS tracker to that Rewards Card in your wallet that offers up your buying habits every time you swipe it.  At any given moment, some Internet minion somewhere can probably pull up a profile and tell you what size underwear you’re wearing and where and when you bought it.

But finally — So what?  Like it or not, we all know privacy has always been a movable feast.  Anybody who grew up in a small town will tell you that.  Personally, I’m not too pleased my preference in intimate apparel is getting harvested by 1,001 data management companies across the world, but my alternatives are limited.  I can a) sit around and bitch about it or b) pull the plug on my digital world and walk away.

So far, I’m not prepared to do either one.