Considered opinion

I only have vague concerns about Big Brother, issues such as them using info to discriminate with medical insurance and/or treatment (if you post pictures of yourself smoking a cigarette will you be refused cancer treatments?) because I think the sheer volume of data they have probably means I get lost in the crowd. I don’t post enough, or give my details out enough, for them to notice me. (Although I suppose there is the argument that I stand out because of how little they know…sigh…can’t win).

But I don’t use social media mostly on principle, selling people’s data without making it explicitly clear that’s what you’re going to do is shady in the extreme, but there was one particular incident that really put the lid on it for me. I have never downloaded fb but my friends all have and one day I mentioned something in a shop window, obviously within listening range of my friends phone and within 15 minutes she was being shown adverts for the thing I had talked about. I found that massively creepy…possibly intensified by the fact that I used to go to sleep listening to 1984 by George Orwell on the radio when I was 14.

What it really boils down to was that I grew up with NO privacy whatsoever and that is not a healthy state to be in. Every part of my life was available for examination and was usually found wanting. Subjects dear to my heart, hobbies and studies I was passionate about and small, secret pleasures were all used against me to humiliate and shame and keep me in my place. Now I guard my privacy jealously, it is an asset to me, it protects me from ridicule because I don’t want to play the game we are being told is necessary (give everyone your info or you’re a loser).

When you are never really Seen you get very good at hiding because being Seen becomes painful and the idea of international companies using the sight of You to sell themselves is stomach churning.

So I won’t be joining any social media sites, I won’t be promoting myself on Instagram or Pinterest and I won’t be judging my life as compared to other peoples…people who are also judging their lives against whichever impossible target is being set that day.

I don’t feel smug and superior because of my avoidance, I feel lucky to have dodged that bullet. I also feel sorry for the younger generations who are under the demands of normality and acceptance and believe that giving their whole lives over to the social media companies is the only way to get anywhere in life.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Alien Resort says:

    Same way with ID theft. Why worry when everybody else’s id is getting stolen too?

    1. errantmoon says:

      Or why not just avoid the whole situation from the get-go? (Thanks for the comment 🙂)

  2. I left Facebook year and a half ago, though I was able virtually attended a wedding there on Saturday. I have no idea how to promote myself anywhere at all, but I daily read the news as a civic responsibility, at least five sources. Using Pinterest to save photos allowed me to abandon magazines. I only ever looked at the photos.

    I have never been private about my interests and concerns, and until recently I always used my real name in postings online, but my life experience has been different from yours. I wish you well.

    1. errantmoon says:

      Oh I can very easily see the appeal of social media, and I think it would be wonderful if it worked that way all the time, but the notion of a company profiting off me, even just by selling my searches and interests to advertisers REALLY rubs me up the wrong way…it’s not even as if I have anything more than the average person to hide, I just don’t trust them to keep me safe online.
      I really hope you and yours are all well!

      1. We are well here. I hope you and yours are too.

        Facebook was just an ugly mess and I was tired of trying to put out fires—the drama is not appealing to me. You’re right; it’s a different issue. Businesses monetize our existence online. And of course they will not trouble to keep people safe. “Profit over people” every time. I have come to understand that few people have any moral/ethical compass at all beyond their own self-interest. I cannot live that way. I am not perfect but I feel guilt when I misbehave. I recognize and feel shame when I do wrong toward others. I will be 68 years old this week, so it’s taken me a long time to accept that others feel no such obligation.

        1. errantmoon says:

          Congratulations! I hope you have a wonderful birthday week 😁

  3. “Every part of my life was available for examination and was usually found wanting.” I’m sorry. That sounds horrible. If anything, my childhood went the other way. I was left alone a lot. Which I loved at the time, but may have left me with a desire for attention, which is why I am so hot on yelling down a well, er, blogging. And speaking of childhood, the latest crop of 20-somethings may be oversharing online because their parents shared every step of them growing up. It’s what they are used to.

    As for companies selling your info. Yeah, it’s a business model. Free services aren’t free. Someone pays. Usually us.

    1. errantmoon says:

      If something you use is free then YOU are the thing being sold.
      ‘Perfect’ childhoods result in over-privileged and oblivious adults, what all children should have is at least one person utterly on their side, so that even when the bad things happen they know they are valued and cared for.
      As for the 20-somethings…how can they possibly know what they should be aiming for in life when everything they have to compare themselves to is airbrushed, faked and unrealistic?
      This is why I’m keeping my focus as close to home and hearth as I can. I can’t change the whole world but I can keep my little bit of it as safe and sane as is possible 😁

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