Tag Archives: social media

Thinly Sliced

How tenuous your Democracy.

On the width of a piece of parchment, it hangs

Where the slow breeze of selfish breathe

Chews away at its corners.

 

How brief your arc in the sky.

An idea formed from oppression for

An ideal of freedom and equality;

Lasted only a moment.

 

How thin the ties of your society.

Once more we pull and tug

Over truth and justice and integrity,

Untying knots of unity.

 

What slight margin secures the office?

Imagine! A measly few thousand votes

Strong enough to pry open

Heavy steel gates of tyranny.

 

How sadistic this treason?

Self-serving and super-sized;

Personal vendetta paid for by

International reputation.

 

Beg to pardon that hypocrisy.

The self-righteous pointing of the past

Comes round to claim its due.

Pray, mercy be granted.

 

Did you not vaccinate for this virus?

A mutant DNA of sequential lies,

Algorithmically curated;

Souls become deaf, and blind.

 

Words fly as short, dark arrows.

Facts distorted, maligned.

Dissident becomes the enemy.

Right will always find its mark.

 

Transformation finally complete.

A once dissected Octopus

Now an ugly Frankenstein of

Strange patch-work laws.

 

Deep groans a country.

Suffering from weight of avarice

bending the spine, then Snap!

From the strain of inequality.

 

What of you dutiful citizens?

Will you confess your indifference?

Recognize the facade of indestructibility

While you hastily mend the aspect.

 

Does not your heart break again,

And again and again and again?

To watch the speed of cancerous growth,

Knowing the cure is destructive as well.

 

How tenuous your democracy.

How brief your arc in the sky.

Does not your heart break again,

And again and again and again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Belonging to Facebook

There’s a subtle social struggle going on about whether to Facebook or not to Facebook. I talk about it with others and observe many comments in different forums online. I myself made the decision to step away from the platform some six-plus months ago.

My decision was based on two things: Facebook’s wont to mine our personal data and pass it on to marketers or god knows who, and the fact that I could not longer deal with seeing some of my old friends, or even family members defend things like child concentration camps, racism, or historically failed economic policies. I’d rather remember them as decent people than view them through the lens of an algorithmically curated timeline.

I don’t miss the frustration, but I do miss out on family pictures and social group connectivity, like posting local events or keeping in touch with local organizations. Yet when I conjure up the benefit/cost analysis in my mind, the result falls in favor of staying off the site.

As I gain further distance from the platform and engage or listen in on conversations about participating on it, I’ve formed an important insight: Facebook offers an incredibly strong sense of belonging, even if much of it is a false sense of belonging.

This is a worthy point to hone in on because the need to belong to a social group, to feel accepted and loved, isn’t just a flippant desire; it’s as hard wired a necessity as food and oxygen to our survival. Abraham Maslow backs this up with the scientific observation of his Hierarchy of Needs – if we don’t feel a sense of belonging and love, we can not achieve our full potential as humans.

By and large, the one reason people seem to be sticking with Facebook, in spite of its astonishing lack of respect towards private information, is that it plugs in to our human need to belong.

Every thumbs up and heart emoji translates to feeling like we belong, we’re connected, we’re appreciated. We live in a hectic, fast-paced, dog-eat-dog society that often makes us feel lonely in spite of the thousands of people physically milling around us. But if we  post a picture of our cat, vent about our ex’s new spouse, or share a news article, a select few friends will see and like or offer comments of support and BAM! we’re accepted, we belong, we feel important. 

It’s not a genuine sense of belonging, though, simply because Facebook relies upon algorithms to determine what we all see on our timelines. The end result is that we’re only sharing or posting stuff from a narrow, virtual, point of view and our sense of belonging is tied to the likes of those followers who are chosen to see our posts through an algorithmic determination. Neither the incoming or outgoing messages are organic, but the responses satisfy our need to feel important nonetheless.

On the broader scale, many are reluctant to leave Facebook since that’s where they can connect with local organizations. I often hear someone lament that, ‘It’s too bad there isn’t some other way we can connect and share with such-and-such demographic.’ This particular area is where I personally miss Facebook most acutely. This indicates that our need to belong is so strong, and satisfied so well by Facebook, that local organizations are dependent on the platform’s connective ability to market their events and causes.

To the point that Facebook does not filter its news outlets for veracity or authenticity, the reliance we have on Facebook to provide a sense of belonging becomes dangerous. Millions are subject to outright propaganda which transcends to polling results…check out where we’re at right now as a nation.

To Facebook or not to Facebook may not be as much of a choice as we think. Considering the impact it had in the last general election, I’m concerned we all ‘belong’ to Facebook in an indirect way no matter our conscious efforts.

The fact that its roots reach deep into our psyche and entwine themselves greedily should at least make us pause to think about the consequences the platform inflicts upon our society. And maybe, some smartypants kid will develop a better way to connect. Or, maybe, we could fulfill our sense of belonging with real life people instead of virtual avatars.

Peace,

Frankie

NB: I’ll admit that YouTube, Twitter, and other social media outlets offer a sense of belonging in the same way. I focus on Facebook due to its ubiquitous role in our lives comparatively.

For a similar analysis about the dynamic of belonging to a social group and its effects, here’s an article about how it works in religion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Digital Noise – A Poem Concerning Life With Social Media

Digital noise hijacks our thoughts.  Leaves little room to consider reality, if we are not careful.

A Facebook feed full of contention.

To reply or not to reply?

That is the question. I do.  I regret.

Back and forth ensues, a day is wasted.

*****

“I came here for the comments!”

Forget the story, I want the schadenfreude.

Then I can ignore my life, yours becomes the target.

Perfect projection of my faults onto your worldwideweb  face.

*****

Twitter feuds rife with subterfuge,

Not even my own but I’ll claim a stake anyway.

Team Swift!  Team Perry!

Turns my thoughts from important things: Children are starving.

*****

Turn it off.  Refuse to click.

I’ll take a literal swipe at negativity.

I will choose to focus on here and now.

Who is sitting next to me?  What can I do to help?

Digital Noise, seductive and caustic.  Leaves little room to consider reality, if we are not careful.