When I go to see a play in Chicago, I don’t read Chris Jones’ reviews in the Tribune all the way through before seeing the play. I play a game with him to see if I notice the same points of discomfort that he does. If I do, I feel smart. If I don’t, as soon as I read him, I spot my vague reservations and understand them.
Now, he’s done it again in an opinion piece entitled “Feeding Facebook every day…” (April 17, 2016) about where we stand with Facebook. His basic theme: social media’s 24/7 demand for something to say has outrun what we actually have to say, so we end up sharing posts that other people have shared because they also ran out of things to say. Which leaves us basically becoming advertisers for the thoughts/ products/ utterings of others who we don’t even have a remote connection with. And who may be using us to build their influence click by click. And to monetize their efforts.
Which got me thinking, once we run out of things of our own worth saying, maybe we could just be quiet and go for a walk, or call someone we actually know, or play a game with our children, or do the thousand other things that would be more worthwhile than scrambling for notice on Facebook.
I can envision a rationing system. What if each of us got to post something on Facebook only once per week? What of our own content would make the cut: What we are having for lunch? Outrage at the rude salesperson? It’s fine with me if you keep the adorable things your kids say and Chicago sports boosterism, but since we are friends, I’d be happier to hear something that’s actually about you.
And if we could only share once a week, what would go: the cat videos? The political diatribes (Please!)? The quizzes? The amazing weight loss tips? Donald Trump jokes? Feel free to keep hacks, and instructions on how to tie a scarf though – I like the practical, not Like as in Facebook, but like as in appreciate.
I know these ideas won’t fly, because they miss the entire point of Facebook and its cohort. But I can dream. As for Facebook, I am more of a lurker than a poster, so I could easily carry out this plan. But how to get myself to stop checking Facebook daily, just to be sure I’m not missing anything? Let me know it you have a hack for that.
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