facebook

Facebook is a pain.

If it wasn’t Facebook, it would be something else, but right now it’s Facebook.

There’s the whole misinformation thing. “Fake news.”

There’s the constant updating, constant checking.

Facebook.

I wrote about Facebook awhile back:

As the multiplicity of hegemonic theories makes clear, society reinforces its own oppression, advertising its destructive values and false needs to itself. The power and capability for society to do this is intensified and accelerated through social networks. Billboards and commercials impose themselves upon the eye and push values onto us, but Facebook’s users voluntarily turn to it, constantly revisit it, addicted to the messages of their peers.
. . .
No paid-for print, television, or internet campaign can match the power for selling a lifestyle like the constantly advertised lifestyles of real individuals. Surely this is not top-down, unless you consider it the long-term result of seeds sewn in the 20th century. The failed democratic enlightenment of immediate network communication generates a desire and world projection wildly distant from any sub-simulation reality or truth.

While the 1990s models of avatars, online personas, and impersonations followed a more fantastic, escapist orientation, the subjects created on Facebook are meant to be ourselves. As we do our best to generate ourselves digitally, our status-updated online performances merge with our real-world lived subjects in a strange, subject-blurring exchange. Facebook takes the celebrated internet possibility of crafting avatars and other-dimension personas as step further and superimposes the persona back onto the real-world person.

That's not to say that there are no subject-affirming aspects to Facebook, the internet, or any of the examined media. Clearly this is not the case, but what I here mention are unfortunate and dominant tendencies that can be used in the strategizing of militant media, or at least the evaluation of existing media for its effectiveness in counter militancy.

So that wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped, closer to what I had guessed, and in one aspect it’s off the mark. “Surely this is not top-down.” Those of us who work with Facebook in 2017 know the weight of pay-to-play. That’s not to say that as an individual I need to pay for interactions with my "friends," but much of what drives Facebook is paid content. We follow pages. Those pages want their content seen and shared. The more they pay, the more it’s seen, the more (if it interest their followers) it’s shared. This is not particularly interesting beyond its correction of the above analysis.

More interesting is the way that Paul Virilio’s writings on the speed of misinformation and public opinion and sentiment played out in this recent election. But that’s been explored ad nauseam, which Google tells me since is “referring to something that has been done or repeated so often that it has become annoying or tiresome.” Wow, that sounds like everything! P.S. looks like Google strips that from Oxford.

More nauseating than the fake news thing is the forum of public expression. The forum of nonsense. YouTube comments or 4chan come to mind, but they don’t have the benefit of being in front of everyone’e eyes 24/7. They don’t have the mainstream legitimacy. I can hold a job without chewing that. Facebook on the other hand…

OK, so let's force a binary. Is the world a better or worse place because of Facebook? We've (I've) said that if it wasn't Facebook it would be something else, but it is Facebook.
There's certainly positive. Communication, community, expression, information sharing, mobilization, exposure to others.
Then there's the echo chamber.
Then there's the auto-advertising.
The status-seeking.
The obsession.
I don't know. It magnifies and amplifies particular aspects of our cultures and selves, some in ways that we might deem positive, others negative.
I guess I'd critique this moment by questioning the value of trying to judge Facebook or think about what or how it is rather than how it manifests and operates in reality (as a phenomenon). But there's no time for that.