Why I hate Facebook (reason #2457)


I am not a Facebook user though I do have an account. I just can’t be bothered to post updates of the mundane events in my life (or whatever the hell it is that people do with Facebook) nor am I that interested in such events in the lives of others. So I am clueless about what people find attractive about using it.

But it seems that I am being coerced into using it. For example, our street has started having monthly pot-luck get togethers for the residents, a nice community-building exercise. For the first one, they put flyers in the mailboxes and I went. For the next I got an email invitation and I again went. I then did not hear of any more events and assumed that it was on hiatus for some reason. But then one of the organizers met my wife and asked why I had not come for the third one and my wife replied that I had been unaware of it. It turns out that the third invitation had been posted on Facebook, which was why I had missed it.

Are we now all expected to regularly use Facebook if we are to communicate with one another? If so, I am going to be even more out of circulation than I was before.

But what really got me was this article about Facebook etiquette. Apparently, if you are invited to an event via Facebook, you should always accept even if you have no intention of going. You should send a text message to the host stating your true intentions. This is because saying you will attend boosts the event’s prominence in the algorithms, while declining will lower it.

Since I am someone who replies promptly to RSVP’s because it helps the host in planning, I find repulsive the thought of saying I will attend something when I will not, even if it is nullified by a later text.

This new Facebook etiquette that makes us all search algorithm manipulators is just one more reason to hate it.

Comments

  1. deepak shetty says

    Are we now all expected to regularly use Facebook if we are to communicate with one another?

    Sure and whatapp and instagram and nextdoor and pinterest 🙂

  2. cartomancer says

    I’ve been on facebook for twelve years now. I check it most days, but I never even realised there was an event planner function. I’ve certainly never seen it. Looks like my friends don’t use it either.

    Mind you, they don’t seem to use facebook much at all. Which is a real shame because they don’t seem to use anything else to communicate either. They don’t respond to emails, they don’t pick up their phones, they don’t return text messages. Or, at least, they do so very rarely. They don’t even reply to posted letters. It’s quite frustrating – we finally have a whole suite of communications technology at our fingertips that we can use to stay in touch, and yet most of us seem to prefer being isolated and alone.

  3. Steve Cameron says

    I hear you, Mano. I stopped using Facebook about six years ago when it became pretty clear that the site wasn’t about the users as much as for businesses and advertisers. I still have my account, and check in occasionally when a friend or family member needs me to. But I mainly experience it through my work at a local television station with a company account, and the way the site has algorithmized — and more importantly, monetized — everything is pretty disgusting. I am gobsmacked that so many people are okay, even enthusiastic, with sharing so much of their personal lives with such a predatory company. I suppose they reason that since we’re all in this together it can’t get too bad….

  4. Matt G says

    I also have an account I haven’t checked in years. I am grateful that it got me in contact with high school classmates I haven’t seen in 30 years, but I hate the idea of being roped into this kind of social network. Recent revelations about the 2016 election and other things make me want nothing to do with them.

  5. deepak shetty says

    @Steve Cameron

    I stopped using Facebook about six years ago when it became pretty clear that the site wasn’t about the users as much as for businesses and advertisers.

    Not to say that what FB does is right – but it does cost to run a site that has that volume. Which means there are really 2 options – people pay for the service OR you target business / advertisers for your revenue. If you make people pay for the service , while there are other equivalent free services , you can mostly kiss your users bye bye. Why would advertisers advertise unless you can effectively target the advertisements ? How could you effectively target the advertisements unless you gather data ? And so on ..

    I find that , so long as I don’t have any expectation of privacy , the site is ok. But then I dont have that for anything on the Internet.

  6. John Morales says

    deepak @5, that’s a very pointed comment, which I can’t really rebut, but a couple of notes:

    I do note that, back in the day, micropayments were an aspiration; I certainly can conceive that it would be workable (if not as profitable) but it was never seriously attempted.

    I think that the rate of return on those ads is trivial directly — leaving aside things like brand recognition and fads — and would be easily matched by rather small amounts from any given user if all users were charged. Can’t justify that quantitatively, I’m not about to do many hours of research, but that’s my present impression.

    Also, don’t forget that is only one aspect of how income is generated; the collection of data and metadata that they accrue from their vast userbase is a valuable (and salable) commodity in itself, even aside from the value added due to fine-grained demographic targeting and/or sampling it allows.

    (I don’t actually know facts, but were I in that position I would be doing other stuff; that raw stream of data and its archives would be relentlessly mined for other profitable purposes too — e.g. determining social trends in their early stages and thus being in a position to take advantage)

  7. KG says

    I have an account on which I have never posted anything. Their constant pestering emails go straight to my Trash folder. Occasionally, I’m told some information about an event is on Facebook, and look at it. I have repeatedly thought, since I’m politically active and it’s so widely used for political events, that I ought to use it more – than something emerges that once again persuades me to have as little contact with it as possible.

    My son, who is in his early 20s, says that among his social set, it’s no longer used to post personal trivia, but only for arranging events – and their etiquette is similar to what you report, but slightly different. If you’re definitely not coming to the party, you don’t respond at all. Responding that you will come does not actually commit you to doing so – but a text or WhatsApp mesage does.

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