I picked a hell of a week to get writer’s block, didn’t I?

Anyway…

First, some stuff that isn’t about what I haven’t been doing in the past week (I’ll admit it: I’m proud of that turn of phrase):

If you love over-the-top 1980s horror movies and/or present-day “Nicolas Cage gets weird” movies (but it appealed to me mainly as the former), see Color Out Of Space while it’s in theaters. I may see it again this week.

Wire and the Pet Shop Boys both have new albums out as of Friday. In fairness, I will tell you that I didn’t love either album on first listen. That doesn’t mean I won’t love them later, and the fact that they have albums out is still certainly noteworthy. Feel free to give a listen below. If you’re not Spotify-inclined, you can either catch them on other streaming platforms or buy them.

I’m going to be reworking some stuff on this site and the other site soon, mostly consolidating some sections here, and deciding once and for all which things I talk about where. Historically, this site has been the “personal insights and artifacts from past Internet lives, peppered with some stuff about what I watch and listen” site when it’s actually active. The other site is the “physical objects, sports, and occasional travel adventures, but clearly born out of both a previous site about trading cards and a desire to keep my personal life away from my hobbies and vice-versa” site. There’s definitely been some bleed-through recently, though, so it’s high time to set clearer definitions there, and stick to them.

As for the other stuff I’d really like to stop talking about, so I don’t bore you all to death:

I am a little under 2 hours past the 1 week mark, and quitting Facebook is really hard.

I’d say I’m mostly past the point where my brain tries to open Facebook on instinct. Unfortunately, my brain’s still making me try to find substitute activities online to get me that Facebook dopamine rush. When I do this, I don’t find them to the same degree, and end up just sitting here. I’m basically going through withdrawal symptoms, at least psychological ones, but possibly physical ones as well. As someone who’s quit a lot of social media over the years, I can tell you that this is unusual. This also tells me that Facebook are relentlessly effective at their goals, which is very bad.

I also figured out, a few days after I pulled the plug on my account, the one thing I didn’t account for: Facebook’s Crisis Response tools, or the “Mark Yourself As Safe” stuff. For reasons they’d probably describe as being privacy, security and safety-related, those tools are behind Facebook’s login wall. You can’t see them at all without an account, despite being one of the only helpful things the company does. That is gross, awful, emotionally manipulative shit right there, maybe the worst I’ve found so far in this entire process. What’s worse is that not even Google seems to have created an similar app that isn’t chained to Facebook. It’s also worth noting that telling Facebook that we’re near crisis situations could backfire on us. They’re not so good at keeping our data safe.

If you’re wondering what I did about the crisis in question, I emailed the people I know who may have been in or near the area, and asked a friend to check on the one person I know who I don’t have an email address for. My friend got ahold of that person, but five days later, I haven’t heard back from two of the people I emailed. Me noting this isn’t an attempt to shame anyone at all, and no one should feel shamed. It’s just commentary on how dismissed email is in 2020. I also don’t think that emailing my friends to ask them if they’re dead is going to scale well. As we know, “crisis situations” happen a lot these days, especially in the States.

The other thing that’s been unexpected so far is that I haven’t gotten one of the “Please, baby, baby, please…” emails from Facebook, begging me to come back, that I’ve heard of so many people getting after they quit Facebook. However, this is a welcome development. They must have me on a “yeah, fuck this guy” list or something.

These experiences, especially the “sitting here trying to make the Facebook feelings happen” thing (though I think the Crisis Response stuff is far, far more insidious, because eventually, my habits will change, whereas the crisis response stuff is a hostile corporate monopoly on public safety information), are anywhere from an annoying inconvenience to a little debilitating (and I say that without exaggeration). However, understanding the cruelty behind Facebook’s processes, and seeing that cruelty in action, is strengthening my resolve, rather than making me feel like I should just give it a rest and come back.

I believe that brings you all up to speed on my bullshit. If you have questions, feel free to comment!

4 thoughts on “I picked a hell of a week to get writer’s block, didn’t I?

  1. Anthony says:

    The withdrawal from not using FB aspect is something that can not really be felt until you fully leave. I’m not there yet, but I can see it being rough. Quiting smoking is my way of relating to that. But as all addictions go, you eventually come.out better in the end. Keep on keeping on!

    • It’s definitely weird. I mean, I quit LiveJournal, Friendster, and MySpace cold turkey, just to name a few, and I had heavy, years-long investments in at least LJ and MySpace. I also just kinda stopped going to IRC (I still stop in a few times a year), gave up on AIM for the most part a while before it died, and I disappear from Second Life for long periods of time on occasion. Nothing like this. They’ve engineered the living shit out of that site, and it’s evil.

      Thanks for the words of support, though!

  2. Rich K says:

    FB managed to integrate itself into people’s lives in a way that none of the others ever did. That’s why it’s so much harder to quit.

    • It’s more than that, though. If it were just that they had indispensable features, 1. it’d be easier to leave and 2. I wouldn’t want to leave. As y’all know, they use some really dirty psychological tricks to manipulate their users into “engagement”, things like all the algorithmic manipulation of what you see (and don’t) in your feed, making certain types of information exclusive to their site, and so forth. They learned a lot of it from OKCupid’s data handlers, but they really, REALLY ran with it.

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