5 June 2013

Playing Facebook

I am definitely old school. I have embraced much of the technology that exists today and have a dependence upon on some of it. I emphasize some of it. I have put the word some in both italics and bold to highlight the emphasis. 
I just did it again.

I confess that I do get anxiety when I am traveling for my work and I get disconnected from my emails and texts and calls. This happens not infrequently when working in some parts of some countries that my job takes me. Countries where Networks are huge and growing and where User loads are heavy such as India and China. Countries where there is no National Broadband Network like Australia. My work is email dependent and if I don't respond to it stuff accumulates and then people ring me. The people who ring me are often the English and they are demanding. 

I don't like that. 

I agree that I am unnaturally dependent upon connection with my Blackberry however it is to me a simple work tool. It is often cursed and occasionally blessed but it is used mostly for work and not for play.

I purposefully disconnect sometimes though. I disconnect with intent when I am in distant and remote places where I sometimes choose to go when I am not working. This is 'Me' time and the Himalaya is such a place. I disconnect with intent in high mountain villages. I electronically switch off there and I  emotionally switch on to more important stuff. These are non cyber or electronic things.

I put my "Out of Office' On - my OOO. I embrace the simplicity of life and the lack of devices and I do without Connectivity or Instantaneity and it is very nice.

I have not though adopted or accepted things like Facebook and I reject them in fact. I give enough updates of my life in this blog.

I sometimes alarm my Mum. Sorry Mum - I don't mean any harm or to cause you worry or anxiety. I do not 'Instagram' and I don't 'WhatsApp' or  'Tweet' or 'Twitter' and I also don't 'Play Facebook'.

A lot of people do 'Play Facebook'. I know this because I watch them and they are everywhere. They are mostly the teens and the twenties and the thirties that do it - the youngsters. I watch my two kids Totty and Tom do it and their cousins Ben and Georgie as well. All their mates do too.

They 'Check In' by constantly updating where they are and they takes photos of their food and they 'Upload' them. They then 'Post' and 'Share' them and wait for people to 'Like' them. I am not sure whether an 'I Don't Like' button exists. I know there is not an 'Unlike' action but you can take your 'Like' back.

I don't "Like' that.

I understand that people do this because they can and that Technology allows and encourages it. However I wouldn't do it myself and I don't. I can't see the point but I get it though. If I were a teen or in my twenties or thirties I would probably do it.

I would 'Play Facebook'.

I know lots of people who are constant Facebook Users. I have talked to them about this and I sometimes refer to a few of them as Facebook Animals. These are the ones that constantly provide updates of their lives as to what they are eating and where they are going and where they have been. They provide updates on who they are with and the ‘tag’ people in photographs that they post on their Facebook pages. These are the type who I think of as Facebook Animals. I know a few of them and they don't like it when I refer to them as Facebook Animals. 

They get a bit defensive.

Many people tell me they are Facebook Users just because it is convenient to keep in contact with friends and family who are scattered around the globe. They chat and share events and I get this and I think that it is a very good and useful tool from that perspective.

I am on it but it is not the real me. I use a pseudonym.

Facebook Users generally don't like it either when I ask them if they are 'Playing Facebook'. Both the Animals and the occasional users tell me that they don’t like it.

Many people are 'on' their hand-held devices all of the time. They tell me it is just instant communication and it t is socializing and that they are uploading descriptions of events with images and video and text. They do this instantly and on a massive scale. They tell me that they are just using the available technology and that it is easy and it is what is done.

I see the appeal and I get it.

I understand all of this however much of the dialogue that is on Facebook seems to occur between strangers and acquaintances at best. Many people don't actually know a large number of the people who they are communicating with. Not properly and often not at all. I find this a bit disturbing and I see the potential sinister in it. The exploitation for bullying and other devious purposes also worries me as there have been many cases.

I find the whole "Friending" and "Unfriending" process strange and disturbing as well. I would not like to be "Unfriended" in either the cyber or real world. I think it would be very hurtful.

The data aspect concerns me too. The data that Facebook must have and are accumulating is staggering. I recall talking to a very interesting super nerd IT geek man once who was and probably still is designing and building Facebook uber data centers. He told me some of the very very very big figures of the data that Facebook generated and I checked it. Facebook Servers host more than two hundred and forty billion photo images. That is billion.

I have highlighted this in italics and bold as well to emphasize once again. That is an enormous number. 

In excess of fifty million further images are uploaded each day.

Facebook have billions of names and numbers and ISP Server identities as well. They have addresses and faces and photos of food. Facebook have mega data on a large hunk of the population and they are collecting more and more. Every minute of every day their data bases swell with information. Facebook know where people go and they know who was with who and what they were eating. They own and are still building data centers that can now store exabytes of data. An exabyte is:

A unit of information equal to one quintillion (10 18) bytes, or one billion gigabytes.

You will note that I have once again 'bold' and 'italicized' this. Facebook own this data. It is given to them. We gave it freely and we give it constantly. The gifts of the data ownership of our Facebook data is detailed in the rarely-read conditions of agreement that apply when a Facebook account is created and activated.

It is estimated that Facebook run and use in excess of 180,000 Servers and that is a lot. There are more than one billion users and growing. That is a lot too. The Facebook data centers are huge and their energy consumption is extraordinary. The data they have on us is massive and accumulating. There are exabytes of it.

The Facebook data is now so much that they are even storing it now in Clouds.

I am concerned what additional effect that the storage of data in clouds will have on the abomination that is Climate Change that we are - and will continue to experience. Climate Change is very real and it is human-escalated. We chew and spew out carbon and we are choking our atmospheres.

We must stop or slow down for our planet is in peril.

The data that Facebook have on us is immense. What will they do with it? What are they doing with it? What can they do with it? They are capable of being the Biggest of Big Brothers and they perhaps already are.

I prefer face to face discussions and conversations over coffee or tea or wine or beer. I like meeting new people and talking to strangers and I enjoy making new friends. In the real world and not the cyber one though. I like travelling and seeing real places and being there.

Using all five senses is important to me. Touch and smell are absent in the cyber world and there are many people and things on Facebook that are not real. Facebook alarms me a bit for I suspect that Monsters lurk within.

Scary ones.

I am on it but it is not the real me and I don't "Play Facebook'. I am definitely old school and writing this is more than enough. 

Sorry again Mum.

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