November 23, 2018

And If I Stay It Will Be Double…

“If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Like many, I’ve been trying to understand of late exactly what Facebook’s executives did or did not do, what they knew, when they knew it.

Did Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg allow data hacks?  Did Facebook hire “right leaning opposition research team” (according to Wikipedia) Definers Public Affairs to disseminate untrue, negative stories about those who criticized the company, including George Soros?  Zuckerberg and Sandberg steadfastly denied denied denied.  And then, yesterday, Elliot Schrage, the company’s head of communications and policy, not only admitted that Facebook hired Definers, it also requested that Definers work to discredit Soros, a Jewish philanthropist.

And, like many, I’ve been trying to decide whether I want to continue using Facebook to connect with friends and acquaintances far and near.

I took a break from Facebook for a week, ignoring the steady stream of email messages trying to get me to “use.”  Did I experience withdrawal?  Not really.

When I went back onto FB this morning, it took me but a few minutes to conclude that my life had not been materially worse for having stayed off the social media site.

For the record, here’s what I think I’ll miss:

+ Cheery photos of friends’ children, grandchildren, and pets.  (These always make me smile.)

+ Messages from organizations and causes I care about.  Updates from organizations such as Decoding Dyslexia, which works to reduce barriers between dyslexic individuals and effective education, make me feel like I know what’s going on and tell me what supportive actions I can take.

+ Private messages from folks who have reached out to find me despite the passage of time.

+ Opportunities from time to time to express my thoughts in an easy-to-reach way.  I’ll hope, perhaps, that some will sign up to receive messages from my blog, Bowl o’ Cherries, and I will work to post more frequently.

In the end, I think, if I leave Facebook, there will be trouble – the platform is handy and makes some things easier.  But, if I stay, I’ll be allowing an irresponsible company to continue using me and my friendships for its own ends, which, it is clear to me at the moment, do not mesh with my own:  “And if I stay it will be double.”