As someone who came very late to Facebook in 2015, I didn’t make the mistake of handing over everything in the same way so many did. For some of us very late adopters that might be slightly better news, but not by much. I pulled the plug September 1st, not without a full-fledged battle.
Afterwards, I noticed several things. First, and probably most critically, I took back control of the flow of what came into my personal and very sacred space. Without being assaulted all day long by everything from vicious videos to hate- and hopelessness-inducing memes and messages, I slowly reclaimed my sense of humor and balance.
Unlike you, I’m 65. That’s a critical difference here. My reference points range from typewriters to the elegance of a well-penned letter. Like many, the notion of being able to connect with long-lost friends, and I did, was a lovely promise. However the cost was vast. I’ve no clue how much my personal data was hacked. As with Equifax, all I could do was react as swiftly as possible.
No tenuous social media connection with folks in other countries is worth my sanity. My privacy, what little of it exists these days. What’s remarkable is how little I miss Facebook. Other Medium writers have spoken to people who jumped from Facebook to other social media sites. From where I sit, that wholesale movement simply makes those sites much more attractive for a hacker. I feel precisely the same way about AirBnB, which demanded my passport. I said no. For damned good reasons. I have no faith in AirBnB, and to be able to travel cheaply isn’t enough of a motivation. One one hand I can appreciate the value of the digital economy. But nobody is watching the henhouse.
I wouldn’t trust any of these other sites either.
Hackers watch our addictions. We are extremely easy to spot. We may leave one playground and then head like lemmings to the next, trusting we’ll be safe.
As long as there is money to be made off our naivete, our belief in our privacy, our trust in absolute arrogant fools like Zuckerberg, we will be hacked. There is no safety on the Internet. Not really. I’ve had my identity stolen multiple times, my business bank account emptied to the penny. There is no safety. The more we bank on the Internet and its many aberrations, the more it will feed off us.
The more ridiculous fools line up for four days to shell out a grand for the newest iPhone, the more easily we are manipulated, monetized and managed. With our cooperation, permission and with our eyes firmly locked onto the screen while our pockets are being picked.
I will continue to write for Medium. But I wonder how long before it gets sold or gets big enough that the powers that be decide that we all need to be further monetized, a word so devoid of humanity that it reflects the soul of the of whoever or whatever came up with the term: empty.
Once long ago, I considered hiring a coach to help me build my presence on the Web. What a joke in retrospect. I’m glad I never bothered. Now there will be a whole new business: helping us get the hell off. Not a bad idea, if any of us hopes to have anything left for our retirement.