To Facebook or not to Facebook. That is the Question.

Carole Cadwalladr.jpeg

Recently I watched the TED talk by Carole Cadwalladr (pictured above) and I was reduced to tears, because she is talk about the ripping of the very fabric of democracy.

Suddenly though, as I sit here writing this, I can, for the first time see that perhaps some good may come out of it (albeit the ‘it gets worse before it gets better’ type), after all, my whole life I have been completely frustrated by how deeply entrenched the old world order is. I have no faith in the establishment to safeguard humanity, so perhaps this is the thing that will burn away the existing regime that is bursting at the seams anyway, with the vast inequalities not only between developed and third world countries, but within developed countries, between the few obscenely wealthy, and the rest of us, that reek of pre-revolution Russia and France?

But I also know that I am looking for ways to tell myself a story that will allow me to continue to use Facebook with a clear conscience. I am not a social media native, I have come to it kicking and screaming for business, and I am just as susceptible as most to the addictive dopamine hits. I have recently moved most of my activity to LinkedIn recently anyway, but for promoting my women’s storytelling events, Facebook has been brilliant.

The essence of Cadwalladr’s TED talk is to say that Facebook is being used to totally undermine the results of democratic elections, (elections that have been built on decades of safeguards that allow us to trust the results), and that Facebook knows this, has the information about who is doing this and how, and is refusing to help.

Add to this the vitriol and hatred that is spawned in the petri dish of Facebook ‘community’ and I want out.

For a few days I look at some of the new social media sites that are attempting to compete with Facebook but I find far right extremism and hatred already there.

Suddenly I think ‘maybe Pinterest will do the job, given most of the users are women’. I have a little play but my head hurts quickly so I decide I do it in small bursts. I also wonder if maybe MeetUp can fill the gap, as the women’s storytelling nights have always been listed there. And there are always traditional forms of event promotion — ads, posters, interviews etc. But it’s time consuming, and I’m tired this month, and the event has a new date and venue and I need to do a big promotion and so it’s back to Facebook…

By this stage I think ‘Facebook’s actually a ’tool of humanity’ so maybe ‘we the people’ could eventually own it? So I research who actually owns Facebook. Nope, it is very clear that the 32 year old Zuckerberg is the owner with a roughly 75% controlling share. (I then find myself wondering what would happen if he died….)

Next I research Zuckerberg’s personal life, trying to find little clues that might make it ok for me to support the machine that is responsible for Trump and Brexit. He’s married to a doctor, they have a daughter and they give truck loads of money to charity. He is jewish, which he previously rejected but he now owns and says religion is very important. She is of chinese heritage and they are ‘interested in Buddhism’.

In 2010 Zuckerberg said ‘The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open.’

And so here I am, like many of us, stuck between a rock and a hard place. I clearly don’t have any answers, and I’d love to hear from anyone who does, or even just thoughts like me. In the meantime, for this month at least, I will be promoting Story Wise Women on Facebook.