that were important to them.
They formed groups about similar interests, invited other friends from college or family – real life friends – to join them. They built their own businesses through these conversations and in turn, the companies who created website software grew as well.
That’s how the internet grew.
Then along came Facebook. And everything changed. Suddenly, you could find people you used to know but had long forgotten, just by giving the Facebook people all your personal information and signing over your rights to whatever you upload, to them. Your full name, phone number, contact lists, address, job history, address history, current workplace, schools attended etc, etc – all the information they ask for, give it to them. And people did.
It was addictive. Because, Joe, the guy with the big ears from the 3rd grade you hadn 't thought of in 25 years was sending you a friend request! And that stalker you had forgotten about found you through Facebook after 14 years. How exciting.
Then the celebrities joined in. You could join an official blue tick “page” for a celebrity and follow their every move. Maybe they would even respond to your comment one day. How exciting.
Businesses joined. No longer needing independent websites, they just used Facebook’s system. Everyone was on it already and they could target people by race. How exciting.
Then politicians joined. They could enlist celebrities to “like” and “link to” their Facebook Pages. They could create ads and upload videos that don’t even have to be true. Because there is no policy that says videos and ads have to be true. And people will watch. And share them so much that it became the word “viral”. How exciting.
Elections could be swayed. Laws could be swayed. It’s all about the spreading of information as fast as possible, even if that information has not been verified as being true.
It will be great for everyone, they said. We will never misuse your private information, they said. As they did just that.
So yes, I was there for a while. I started a Facebook Page. At last count I think I have about 4500 friends and about 7000 followers on my personal page and about 325,000 followers on my blue-ticked Nappturality Page.
And all of this means absolutely nothing.
Because by 2006, Facebook began to kill my and many other people’s websites’ traffic. The new shiny Zuckerberg thing took away hits, visitors, conversations and popularity from Black-owned website communities all over the web as millions moved over to the latest thing on offer and it happened very fast. Money poured into the Facebook owners’ pockets and drained out of ours, making Facebook owners very rich and powerful. Like a snake, Facebook and their social media army then swallowed the internet whole.
I don’t believe in datamining for people’s personal information, whether they give it to you willingly or not. Facebook does. I do not believe that it is OK to allow fake and offensive information to remain online. Facebook does. I do not believe in allowing a platform for violence, racists, sexists, pedophiles, and murderers to spew their rhetoric. Facebook does.
Regardless of all the family, recipes, reunions and homeschool group meetings people create, Facebook to me has become a dinosaur. A useless, overblown piece of extinct history that sucks all the oxygen out of the room and is no longer relevant to me. But still, it has become so invasive and so encompassing. It's a monster. But to not maintain a presence there is not good business practice. This is the quandry and the dichotomy. Every post, feeds the beast. So If I must feed them, I will feed us first.
So here's the deal. I am going to now blog here. I'll link to my blog there. But I'm going to be here. Back home, because it's ours.
I am older. I am wiser. I still have a lot of stuff to say and show and I'll say and show it in our Black Women's platform first, not on Facebook.
See you soon not there.