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Against Facebook: The Stalking
Epistemic Status: Nothing we didn't basically already know, but felt obligated to share
I knew that when Facebook went it would go spooky. It was still spooky.
After the events of How to Destroy Civilization, I had definitive proof that Facebook was not only using terrible software, it was making my life appreciably worse to interact with Facebook. It still took me several weeks and new inspiration to delete the app from my phone. That came in the form of the article Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation? which is the summary version of the book iGen.
Later I also read the book. The book has some neat charts, but unless you're super fascinated I would stick to the article. Both make a strong case that smartphones and social media are destroying young people's lives and making them miserable. I have reviewing the book on my 'maybe' stack.
Today on the radio I heard from an author whose book makes an explicit case for boredom. She claims we need quiet time to reflect and develop ideas. Therefore filling every spare moment with our phones is really bad. I am skeptical, but find it plausible.
In any case, I finally deleted the app.
This made me instantly happy.
It also set Facebook into action.
Its first trick was that suddenly its notifications were turned back on. It seems that it thought the two of us had a deal. I keep it on my phone, and in exchange it will agree to not spam me with an email every time my friends like a photo.
I marked a few of those as spam and Google made the problem go away.
Later that day, Facebook fired its second salvo, with an email that said "Having trouble logging into Facebook? Get back on with just one click!"
Needless to say, this did not work.
A few weeks later, I made the mistake of checking Facebook's website for the few people I have See First on for, which I've been doing less and less often. While there, I was chatted up briefly by an old friend. It was nice to hear from her.
Her second message mysteriously had a giant link to installing the messenger application.
I asked her what that was doing there. She laughed and said she hadn't meant to put it there. An accident. I'm sure.
Then a few weeks later, after not logging in for a long time, Facebook decided to notify me that there was a woman requesting my friendship, and that we had four mutual friends. Via text.
I will repeat that. Facebook texted me to tell me I had a friend request.
At this point the website is just a crazy stalker ex. She tried emailing me cute little things. Then she tried emailing me saying I must have lost her number. Then she tried to get me to click on a link and install spy software. Finally, she's reduced to texting me asking about the new girl in my life and asking why I'm not returning any of her calls.
The good news is that I've talked to a few other people she's dated. Good friends. And they're so over her. The heroes are winning this one.
Today I deleted Twitter from my phone. I again felt instantly happy.