domingo, 4 de febrero de 2018

Living without social nets

Las masas humanas más peligrosas son aquellas en cuyas venas ha sido inyectado el veneno del miedo a comunicarse en persona.
(K., Anotaciones dispersas)

Nuestras vidas se definen por las oportunidades, incluso las que perdemos.
(F. Scott Fitzgerald, El curioso caso de Benjamin Button)

No puedo evadirme de mi tiempo, pero  puedo decidir en que lo ocupo.
(Ibrahim S. Lerak, Cuaderno de notas)

The monthly meeting of the nosers club was this time longer as usual. The reason was the vehemency of the speaker defending that social nets are not healthy. He didn't say anything really new but put all together had an impact on us. This is the main content of the provoking speech:

-- There is a lot written about social networks. Thousands of pages about their benefit or evil. All social nets create always positive and negative reactions and act like a drug. But addicts are not conscious of all what happens, most of them believe is only time what they lose and time … is a personal decision how to invest it.

Many users of these nets would like to be less dependent but the social virtual structure they have created has substituted the real one, and to abandon even only one of the nets means to them to lose family, friends and a part of life. These people need somebody that convinces them that there is life beyond a screen even if you don’t check every 10 minutes. In a certain way is like cigarettes before: non-stop and socially well seen. I also was tempted by the social nets, up to the point to see myself strange and abnormal for not having FB… at least! FB, Instagram... whichever. All of them praised, all of them demonized. Let’s take Facebook (FB)  as an example. In many ways could be considered as the modern representation of evil and  is clear that Facebook is a modern vampire.

The first point is that we are not really clients or users of FB,  we are simply the product. Why? Because FB’s clients are other people that put ads and have information about us. Information they pay to have our data and sell us their products. In other words FB (I repeat, only as an example) is selling our data, preferences, dreams and wishes. More I share, more I say I like or dislike, more information about me arrives to the real clients that will sell me later their products. I’m the perfect target as they know me well even if I never crossed a word or shared anything referring to them. The fact that all net information can be centralized is even better. More data for the clients. Not more benefits for me.

All these vampires are called communication products, but painting, literature, theatre, writing is also communication and people are proud or happy to read, write, and watch movies or study. Is someone telling proud how many hours is devoting to social nets? And even so all nets are a success. A success because they satisfy the emotional needs of the so called users: connection, stimulation of creativity, giving something to comment without having to defend it face to face and creating a (false sense of) friendship.  If we meet someone in one trip and talk a bit, instead of exchanging addresses to have some post contact we give our FB identity…. and are from that moment obliged to maintain a certain relation with this person that in a normal situation we would have forgotten in the next 5 days. Why? Because the biggest sin we can commit is erase or ignore a net relation. We are publically showing our dislike to someone. And all we share is only virtual. I prefer a coffee in a bar or wherever with a friend to 1000 likes to my last picture or comment.

These net vampires take my blood (information) till the end and create me some problems also. The first is the number of hours that I have to spend to keep updated an all people’s activities. Too many and I don’t have them, so what do I do? Unnoticed I give order to my brain not to think, only to react, to process as much information I can in the least time. In other words: I become superficial, read, react by emotion, don’t pay much attention and answer.  The second is that I look by curiosity for people I don’t really care (again more hours, more likes or comments, more showing my preferences to FB clients) and as I react emotionally my comments can be harsh or written in a way that they seem to be rude, something I don’t want. The third is that I know so much and pay so less attention that I only remember when I meet some FB acquainted  and my life is so public that all people know what I have done and I don’t know even when I said or why I said some comments. Clearly a false connection to the people, up to the point that many misunderstandings can be created by “fast comments” that break even friendships. Forth is the type of information I get from FB. There is a certain tendency to see (previously selected by “the machine”) links, notices and comments that are similar to my shown way of being. This means that the information I get is biased. Nice! Sold and cheated. Consequence is that in such an environment I tend to believe that my position is right and I become more and more radical (something similar happens with radical groups that “convert” people just by surround them with people thinking all in the same way and not admitting other opinions). And talking about information, the quantity of information I can have is far too big to take some decisions out of it. More information does not bring to better decision. Good information does. Quality, not quantity but social nets make us believe “more is better”. 

Let's be honest. Would we copy all the comments we have in FB and cover the wall at home with them? Would we make a book out of them? Probably not... and if not where is the value of the so much praised comments without which we can hardly survive? Besides it do we feel pleasure to see in every page an ad telling us the best price to go to Florida only because we looked for the flight two weeks ago? Seems creepy, doesn't it? Is it normal that to erase my account  I have to wait 14 days in the case of FB or 30 in the case of Twitter? Are nets a new kind of sect? 

The problem of getting free of this addiction is the same as any other drug. Emptiness. Feeling of too much time to fill with what? and sense of solitude. Abandoned by the world. We urgently need again to be. We exist only if somebody recognizes us, true, but we don't really need to be recognized as persons every minute, and this being generous. True we thought to be part of other's life... but is it so? Do they call us when we don't show up, write, answer? Normally not... seems we were / are not so important. And if I wish to contact someone, I do it without FB. I write or call, much much better believe me. 

Advantages of being nets-free are many, but one points out more than the rest: I have time and can concentrate on what I really want. Only this would justify not having FB, Twitter or whatever. There are more advantages but i will only insist on time. How many hours do we use per week in social nets? One hour daily? probably more but if we admit that we spend 7 hours per week and only 3 to learn a new language or do something we like imagine what would happen in 3 or 5 years! we could have learned Arabic, Hindi, and Russian as natives, become engineers or paint to fill a museum. Yes, TIME, free time. Exactly what we always say we do not have. Is this not a good investment? What social nets are stealing us is what we declare to be one of the most valued items we miss and want to have: TIME. And what they give is only is a false feeling of not being alone, what at the end is the biggest fear we can have in life. But is a mirage, not real. 

And this is why I don't have FB, Twitter or any other social net.

The discussion we had after was again long and valuable for everybody. In fact we were all non-virtually together sharing our interest and time. Our speaker was right, real sharing is much much better than social nets.

2 comentarios:

  1. ¿No son los blogs una red social abierta y de respuesta lenta?
    ¿Debes abandonar el hacer blogs?

  2. Gracias por el apunte:))

    No, una red social tiene una diferencia importante: es múltiple y de uso cruzado continuado, lo que no es el caso de este blog, aunque pueda serlo de otros con muchos seguidores.