The Artificial World of Facebook

I am seriously considering shutting down my Facebook account because to be quite me in Rome's Coliseumfrank, I am so sick & tired of the artificiality of the whole thing. I am trying to not be rash but at present the only thing that is holding me back from deleting my account is the thought that I do get some useful health tips now & then and I do enjoy the political tidbits that I get here & there. But the whole “Social” facade is just getting to be too much.


I think of the movie made about how Zuckerberg started this thing and it’s truly ironic because he was obviously one of the least sociable people on the planet but stumbled upon the key to his fortune by exploiting the shallowness in so many others like himself; by tapping into the power of the Internet to “connect” with a world-wide network of users & the fragmented, alienated or existentialist state of modern man, this gimmick known as Facebook gives people instant gratification & the illusion of having friends.


My anger and my disappointment is not really directed at my Facebook “friends,” but rather at myself. I feel like such a fool for having been seduced by it. And once again, I should’ve listened to my gut instinct which told me for years that it is just a superficial site mostly enjoyed by high school girls. Real life friends & relatives urged me to join FB several times over the years and I always dismissed it as I said above. But one day I asked a cousin of mine how to contact relatives we supposedly have in Eastern Oregon and he told me “Facebook.” Well, I never found my missing relatives but I slowly got sucked into this dream world of FB.


The political articles were my undoing because I’ve been a political animal for the past 30 years or better. And when I slowly started getting a few comments here & there praising my opinions, I was done for. I believe that over the past year, FB was useful as a distraction for me. The passing of my best friend & former wife, Jeri, has tested my spirit and has pushed me to the edge of the abyss. But I know now that it’s time to get back to reality and stop wasting so much of my precious time & energy trying to reach FB “friends” that simply aren’t capable of real friendship. It must be the ease & artificiality of the whole enterprise that makes this so? I know that most people whom I meet in real life, usually like me and I can feel a warmth between us. We enjoy conversation, laughter, music, our ups & downs, etc. But on FB, no matter how much I give of myself, I get extremely little if anything in return.


Again it was my naivete to think it could have ever been anything else. FB is all a grand charade & facade. I write paragraphs, sometimes entire essays and the most people can do is click “like” on the photo. That pretty much sums it up in terms of the shallowness of these “friendships.” I guess it’s true that almost everybody craves celebrity or popularity and I’m no exception. I thought I was being clever and by building up a huge number of FB “friends,” I would have an audience for my writing. And I was foolish or egotistical enough to believe the praises & compliments for my writing that I’d get every now & then. I recently revived my blog and sent e-mails to a couple dozen of what I considered to be my circle of true friends on FB, asking that they bookmark my blog & whenever they felt like reading one of my essays, they write a comment. I got one comment on my blog and a couple of responses to my e-mail but as the saying goes, words are cheap, actions speak louder.


I feel like a modern day Don Quixote chasing the windmills of my mind and again the analogy of FB as a drug just came to me but in a different context. People like drugs or the experience of getting high because it’s an escape from this boring, and often miserable existence that most of us live. The same goes for FB. It’s an instant, illusory fix and it helps us to continue limping along through our sad lives. And as the corporate cockroach crapmasters have brainwashed us so completely with their artificial manipulation of us with images & sounds, we have lost our humanity. People demand instant gratification for all their senses and all aspects of their lives; fast food, fast sex, fast comfort, fast transportation, fast news, fast friends, etc. etc. etc.


I have always moved at a slower pace and some people probably think me a bit “challenged,” but it has always amused me at how superficial their perception of me often is. I grew up a loner and books were my best friends. And writing naturally became my way of communicating with the world. I was in my senior year of high school when I first experimented with pot & alcohol and it was a very slow or gradual entrance into the world of the hip, the “in” crowd for me. But that summer after graduating high school was a mesmerizing world and I thought or felt that suddenly I was popular. FB is not that different from that illusion. I am only capable of writing the comments that I have shared with FB “friends” because of all those years of studying & reading alone in my own little world and I realize now that I have been neglecting my friends, my truest friends, my Books!


I am going to return to these friends now because I realize that there is where I will find the kind of nourishment that I need to survive in this artificial and insane world all around me. Jeri and I shared a common trait, the fact that our natures were giving natures. We always put others before ourselves and we were often disappointed in others when they didn’t reciprocate. Jeri was my shelter from the storm and I like to believe that I was her shelter or at least a comfort to her as well?


Again, I have to put the blame on myself for my disappointment over FB. My mom often liked to tell me that I expected too much out of people and I always disagreed with her but now at last, I can see that she was right. People can’t give what they don’t have and FB gives people the illusion that they are connected when they aren’t. It’s chock-a-block with “feel good” posts with cute kittens, Hallmark cards from the New Agers, sports matters, etc. but it’s all a distraction from “Reality,” and I fear that because of all this distraction, people aren’t doing the real work and we’re going to Hell in a hand-basket as the old saying goes.


In conclusion, I am reminded of a quote I saw some time back by my hero, Noam Chomsky, I forget the exact words but he was amused that people thought their FB friends were real friends. And I know that Chomsky doesn’t waste any time on FB, others do that in his name. And Chomsky didn’t build his world-wide reputation by wasting time on “Social Media.” I’ll leave you with this quote from one of Chomsky’s heroes;


Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. Bertrand Russell British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 – 1970)


—Rob DeLoss, Sept. 18, 2014 Astoria, OR

1 reply
  1. emilia draper
    emilia draper says:

    In my opinion, I think you are absolutely right about Facebook,,..but that’s just me…I think it means different things to different people.


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