The Slow Motion Privacy Train Wreck Facebook has many users, perhaps you, who are considering leaving or at least modifying the way you use the social network. Luckily for everyone except Mark Zuckerberg, it's not hard to leave as it once was. The most important thing to remember is that social media should be used for you, not the other way round.
Social media has become such an ordinary part of modern life that we can no longer define our interactions as such. That's great! It means that everyone is free to design their own experience and take what they need instead of living to an extent determined by social norms or the advancement of technology.
That's why your social media experience is now a better time than ever. I'll focus on Facebook, but much of it applies to Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks.
Stalled Innovation means a stable product
The Facebooks of 2005, 2010 and 2015 were very different things and existed in very different environments. Among other things, over this eventful period of ten years, mobile and fixed broadband exploded in skills and popularity; the modern world of web-based platforms matured and became secure and reliable; Phones went from stupid to intelligent, for many, their primary computer; and Internet-based businesses like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have completed niche players to embrace and dominate the world at large.
It was a transformative phase for many reasons and in many ways. And products and services that have been there all along have changed almost constantly. You would probably be surprised how they looked and how limited they were not so long ago. Many of the things we take for granted today have been invented and popularized only in the last decade or so.
But the last few years have fallen dramatically. Where Facebook used to add features that made you more and more reliant on it, it's now desperately trying to find ways to keep people online. Why is that?
Well, we've somehow reached the limit of what a platform like Facebook can or should do, that's all! There is nothing wrong with that.
It's like improving a car – no matter how many features you add or which engines you trade in, it will always be a car. Cars are useful things, and so is Facebook. But a car is not a truck, not a bicycle or an apple, and Facebook is not (for example) a transmission medium, a place to build strong connections, or a VR platform (as hard as they try).
The things that make Facebook good, and that we all found so useful – sharing news and photos with friends, organizing events, making contact with people – have not changed much in a long time. And since novelty has worn off these things, of course, we are less committed and in a way that makes more sense to us.
Facebook has become the platform it should be, with its own strengths and weaknesses, and its inability to go beyond is not a bad thing. In fact, I think stability is a good thing. Once you know what something is and will be, you can make an informed decision.
The Disadvantages Have Been Obvious
Every technology has its naysayers, and social media was no exception – I was and Partially I remain myself. But in the years of changes that have gone through these platforms have become some fears proved unfounded or old-fashioned.
The idea that humans would stop interacting in the "real world" and living in their devices has developed differently, as we expected, certainly; Trying to teach the next generation the right way to communicate with each other has never worked well for the elderly. And if you told someone in 2007 that the interference of foreign voters for Facebook would be as worrying as the problem of over-sharing and privacy, you might look incredulous.
Other disadvantages were largely unforeseen. For example, the development of the bubble or echo chamber would be difficult to predict if our social media systems were not our news gathering systems as well. And the phenomenon of seeing only the highlights of other online published life situations, which leads to self-esteem issues for those who view them with envy, is an interesting but sad development.
Whether or not a risk inherent in social media has been predicted, or proven or not, people are taking such risks seriously now. The ideas that you can spend too much time on social networks, or have harmful effects, or feel real pain or turmoil due to interactions with them, are accepted (though unfortunately not always without question).
Taking the disadvantages of something as serious as the benefits is another indicator of the maturity of this issue, at least in terms of how society interacts with it. When the hype cycle subsides, a realistic judgment takes its place, and the whole complexity of a relationship like that between people and social media can be studied without interference.
Between the stability of social media and the realism with which these capabilities are now being considered, the choice is no longer arbitrary or absolute. Their commitment is no longer determined by them .
Social media has become a rich set of personal decisions
Your experience may differ from mine, but I feel that these days of innovation In social networks, your participation was more of a binary. You were either up or you were gone.
The way they progressed and changed defined how you deal with them by adding them to features and opting or modifying layouts and algorithms. It was hard to really decide how to get involved in a meaningful way when the sand moved underfoot (or rather the fingertips). Every few months brought new features and toys and apps, and you had to be there somehow, use them as prohibited or risk being left behind. So people either stayed up or voluntarily left.
Now that has changed. The ground rules are set and long enough that there is no risk that if you go and come back for a few months, things would be drastically different.
How social networks have become stable tools used by billions The combination or style of interaction with them is inherently valid.
Your decision to engage with Facebook or Instagram is not simply limited to whether or not you attend, and the acceptance of social media as a platform for expression and creation as well as socialization means that, however you use it, or it is natural and no longer (for the most part) subject to the judgment.
That's enough of the decision to make it an indispensable tool in your everyday life and not engaged at all. There is no longer any expectation that the former will have the way a person has to use social media, and there is no more stigma left for separation or Luddism.
You and I are different people. We live in different places, read different books, enjoy different music. We drive different cars, prefer different restaurants, like different drinks. Why should we be the same in something as complex as how we use and present ourselves in social media?
Again, it's a car: you can own one and use it every day to commute, or rarely use it, or none at all – who would judge you? It has nothing to do with what cars are or not, and everything to do with what a person wants or needs under the circumstances of his own life.
For example, I made the choice to remove Facebook from my phone a year ago. I am happier and less distracted, consciously engaging with it on my terms rather than reaching and attacking it. But I have friends who attach great importance to their loose network of scattered acquaintances and put a lot of value on enjoying the immediacy of knowing and interacting with them on the scale of minutes or seconds. And I have friends who have never been drawn to the platform from the beginning to choose from the countless other ways of staying in touch.
These are all perfectly good ways to use Facebook! Just a few years ago, the zeitgeist around social media and its exaggerated role in everyday life – mostly resulting from the new – would have led to sporadic engagement, to be more difficult and to decouple the whole deal (or fear that enough, that the cessation was filled with fear). People would be surprised that you were not on Facebook and wondered how you got it.
Try and be pleased
Social networks improve your life in the same way as cars, keyboards, search engines, cameras, coffee makers, and everything else: by giving you the power to do something. But these networks and the companies behind them also exercised power over you and society in general, as cars and automakers in the 1950s and 1960s exercised power over society and favored highways over public transport] Some people and some places, more than others, are still under the influence of automakers – are you ever trying to get into LA without one? And the same goes for social media – are you ever trying to schedule a birthday party without them? But recent years have helped weaken that influence and allow us to make meaningful decisions for ourselves.
The networks are not going anywhere, so you can go and come back. Social media does not control your presence.
It's not all or nothing, so you can commit yourself to 100 percent or zero, or somewhere in between. Social media does not decide how you use it.
You will not miss anything important because you decide what matters to you. Social media does not share your priorities.
Your friends do not mind because they know that different people need different things. Social media do not care about you.
Make a try. Grab your phone and delete Facebook. Why not? The worst thing that's going to happen is you download it again tomorrow and you're back where you started. But it could also be, as it was for me and for many people I knew, like a weight twitch that you do not even know you're wearing. Try it.
SOURCES: TECHCRUNCH.COM GSMARENA.COM MACRUMORS.COM FIRSTPOST.COM ANDROIDCENTRAL.COM PHANDROID.COM TECHSPOT.COM
DROID-LIFE.COM ENGADGET.COM ANDROIDPOLICE.COM
XDA-DEVELOPERS.COM TECHCABAL.COM THEVERGE.COM
GIZMODO.COM SMASHINGMAGAZINE COPYBLOGGER