necromantic tech

Carving out a little distance. Logged out Facebook. Doubt that I’ll ever log back in except for the odd check to make sure my account hasn’t been hijacked or whatever. Nothing as dramatic as deactivation. I can’t be bothered with all that. Seems a little over the top.

Not really a personal or political decision. Like, I’m not pissed off with anyone there and as far as the service itself goes . . .

I think we all pretty much know –at least in my little clump of people– that Facebook is a huge, evil pile of shit. Not a day went by when I don’t ask myself why I even stuck around. The answer is mainly that I liked the people. Then I’d feel guilty that I stuck around. Because, like, if any of these people like me, then I’m kind of helping Facebook keep them and, well, Facebook isn’t paying me.

But it’s never really been a friend thing. That service is largely acquaintances. I know that if I deactivated, none (or very few) of the people there would ever even drop me an occasional email. Those who would do so probably already do so. And that’s fine. You don’t want to take every stray from the bar home. Believe me, I get it.

I also managed to miss out on the worst of Facebook. I didn’t try to get a lot a friends. I had a door policy and that helped to avoid a lot of bullshit. (I don’t see why meeting a person once five years ago means I have to hear from them forever.) I hoped exclusion would keeps a context for me and keep me in context. One of the worst things about SNS is context collapse, imo. That shit is disastrous.

I like conversation but have no interest in going viral or likes or shares or whatever. I generally feel like, if I ever manage to stumble into saying something you agree with or think is a thing that’s somehow valuable, that you try to find some way to act on it rather than provide a “react” to it. But, you know, the internet doesn’t really do that very well. It generates reaction a lot better than action. One of the many things that often makes it worse than useless.

But the service provided a nice background hum of familiar voices. I value that. I’m also a bit sick of it. This election feels like it’s been going on for fifteen years. It’s a sort of madness.

As far as the privacy issues. . .

I’m two immigrations into life. I don’t have privacy. I am about as measured and documented as any person outside of a prison can be. And if something actually requires privacy, I keep the internet and these pocket-snitch phones as far away from it as possible. I don’t trust anything online –not even that allegedly secure cypher-punk shit– to be private. That cypher-punk stuff reminds me of camo clothes. It might have some practical uses but I doubt many of them can be found in a Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon.

But I did also kind of like that FB is, at this point, basically a haunted house on the edge of town. It’s just screaming noises in the night, shadows rocking back and forth and mumbling to themselves, the distant howling of people’s weird ghosted relatives, and occasionally an unspeakable horror emerges. The townspeople are gathering with torches. You can’t even blame them.

And, help me Satan, the second you log out of FB they start hitting you with emails. Each one makes you want to avoid the place. It’s like A LOT HAS HAPPENED SINCE YOU LEFT and I’m like ‘i fucking doubt it’ and then out of nowhere they’re trying to hook me up with some guy I haven’t seen or spoken to or even thought about in over 20 years. These are necromantic technologies. And that seems to be the appeal. Weird thing that the internet has stopped feeling like The Future and has instead become Total Nostalgia. Says something about The Future. Most of the future always was nostalgia.

Everything I want from that service, I get somewhere else. Like Instagram keeps me in lowgrade contact with the ghosts. If I feel like jotting something down, I can do it here. FB just isn’t required. It’s extraneous.

And as far as communication tools, Facebook and most of the Google suite are pretty much useless here. They’re just not the services in use and their information is bad, outdated, or wrong. They feel increasingly like Skype. Something to be used only when communicating with my geriatric parents. So, you know, I’m switching more to the local services. I like them pretty well.

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