I quit social media a few years ago to make my life better and easier, which it has.
But ... that was as a late-twenty-something newly-engaged city dweller. Now (strange as it feels to say), I'm a married mom living in the 'burbs. And let me tell you something: Facebook. Is. Everywhere.
It started when I was looking around for garage sales to get stuff on the cheap for our house. I asked my neighbor for strategies, since I wasn't seeing that many of them. Her reply: "Well, a lot of people just put stuff on Facebook now."
What?! She was right: There is a HUGELY active marketplace of used goods in our town on Facebook. In fact, she scores me stuff all the time for our little guy from some Facebook page where people give their old toys/clothes/furniture/you-name-it away ... for free.
Meanwhile, another neighbor texted me over the weekend about a float in the Fourth of July parade this year that my son could join. She told me to look it up on the "Moms" page for our town — without any further explanation, since it was obviously a Facebook reference. I confessed to her that I'm not on Facebook, so she kindly went back to find it, take a photo of it, and text it to me — only for me to realize the organizer asked to be contacted ... on Facebook.
And that's not all. Every kids' camp, every town event, and more and more small businesses and shops all post their information on Facebook. They basically exist only on Facebook! My opting out is feeling more and more like a chore — the very opposite of what I intended.
I keep hoping I can wait it out and Facebook's influence will wane. But the opposite seems to be happening. It jokingly makes me think of how Matt Taibbi described Goldman Sachs a decade ago: "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity." After all, as I'm fond of saying, Big Tech is the new Wall Street!
But my real point is this: The headlines (fake news! privacy scandals! time spent is dropping!) aren't the actual story when it comes to Facebook. Facebook has completely reshaped community organization and interaction, and inserted itself right in the middle of it all.
I'm not back on it yet, but it's getting harder to resist the pull — especially if it means the chance to march my son down Main Street in a fireman's hat.