I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with Facebook. I am not even sure why. Some possible reasons:
- I am growing up (finally) and looking for more substantial relationships, not mere connections.
- The insistence of many to post their unsolicited political statements. I do not go to Facebook to read spouted dogma and party talking points. It always amazes me how utterly intolerant some people are while professing to be so open and accepting in their thinking.
- I am becoming even more of a hermit as I age. I do not need to know what everyone is doing at every moment. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If I have a real true connection with someone, I already know.
Even as I write this, a new book is out, The Boy Kings: A Journey Into the Heart of the Social Network, by ex-Facebook employee Katherine Losse. In fact, she was Facebook’s 51st employee, beginning in customer service and working her way up to be FB Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal ghostwriter.
According to Losse, who even went so far as to disconnect her Facebook page, the social network left millions with numerous connections, but they were in her opinion connections that were narrow and unfulfilled. Amazon‘s description of her says, “Losse started to wonder what this new medium meant for real-life relationships: Would Facebook improve our social interactions? Or would we all just adapt our behavior to the habits and rules of these brilliant but socially awkward Internet savants who have become today’s youngest power players?”
So, she took her money and ran. She ended up in the tiny west Texas town of Marfa, hidden away at the intersection of highways 67 and 90. Marfa is so small that, as we used to say in the Deep South where I was born, “You can walk toward town to go hunting.” The next largest city out there in Presidio County is Alpine, and it is small, too. But there in Marfa, Losse found a bit of a refuge from the digital world, a quiet place where she could write her book.
I like this woman a lot. She has been in the belly of the beast and found it troubling and not at all satisfying. I would love to have dinner with her and hear her story first-hand, without a digital referee/gatekeeper.
Does this mean I will disconnect my own Facebook page? Not any time soon. It is like what they say of wrecks — you want to turn away, but you always look. I, too, will (for now) continue to check Facebook from time to time. But there has to be something more, some greater fulfillment in real-time, face-to-face, where you can hear the voices and see the emotions. Where you can touch.
John Naisbitt summed it up way back in the 80s in his book, Megatrends: “The more ‘high tech’ humans have, the more ‘high touch’ humans want.” I guess I am just yearning for the high touch.