24 April 2014

“U” is for Unliked.

I have received many requests in recent times to ‘like’ things by people on Facebook. I do not actually know most of these people - as in I have never met them in person. Being asked to 'like' something in such a fashion is a bit weird and unpleasant.

I don't like it. 

I don't like it at all.

I am a relatively new user of Facebook and I opted to join it to connect with other people who write and to see what actually happens there.

I was unprepared for the madness.

There is a lot of really weird shit.

My offspring and their cousins invited me into their Facebook lives. This surprised me and then shocked me. The publicizing of their shenanigans and allowing me to look at what they do and who they are connected to is interesting – to say the least.

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.

Places like India and China.

Like many people – or indeed most people in the workforce - my work is email dependent. If I don't respond to emails they accumulate 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 rarely 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 like that.

I have not though adopted or accepted things like Instagram or Twitter.

I reject them in fact.

I give enough updates of my life in this blog. I know that my writing sometimes alarms my Mum.

Sorry Mum - I don't mean any harm or to cause you worry or anxiety.

I have a Facebook account but it is a pseudonym and I don’t play with it all that often.

A lot of people I know do 'Play Facebook'. I know this because I watch them.

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 play Facebook as well.

They 'Check In' by constantly updating where they are and they take photos of their food and they upload these photos on their Facebook profiles. They then 'Post' and 'Share' them and wait for people to 'Like' them.

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 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’. It is not meant to be derogatory.

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 they ‘tag’ people in photographs that they post on their Facebook pages. These are the type who I think of as ‘Facebook Animals’.

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 do post photos sometimes but not what I am eating.

The ‘Facebook Animals’ generally don't like it either when I ask them if they are 'Playing Facebook'.

I don’t know why.

Many people are 'on' their hand-held devices all of the time. They tell me it is just instant communication and it 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 just don’t like it.

I understand all of this however much of the dialogue that is on Facebook seems to occur between strangers or people who are at best acquaintances. 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. There have been many cases of children committing suicide because of callous and cruel attacks of Facebook.

I find the whole "Friending" and "Unfriending" process very 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 that they 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 was generating and storing and I checked it.

Facebook Servers currently 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 images are uploaded each day.

Facebook have billions of names and numbers and ISP Server identities as well. They have addresses and faces all sorts of personal information on us.

They have lots and lots of photos of food too.

Facebook have mega data on a large hunk of the population and they are collecting more and more. Every minute of every day their databases swell with information. Facebook know where people go and they know who was with whom.

They know what people were eating.

Facebook 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.

That is a lot.

There are more than one billion users and this number is growing.

That is a lot too.

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 last thing we need is data spewing down on us from clouds.

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 a cup of tea. I like meeting new people and talking to strangers and I enjoy making new friends. I like to do this in the real world and not the cyber one though. I like travelling and seeing real places and meeting people in the flesh.

I like being there.

Using all five senses is important to me too. 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 quite a bit.

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.

When I look at the Facebook Pages that I am invited to ‘like’ - I mostly don't like them. There is no "I don't like it" button so my only option is to ignore them or to 'unfriend' them.

As I have already mentioned I think ‘unfriending’ is a bit mean and I don’t really know how I became ‘friends’ with some of these people in the first place.

The social media phenomena is very strange - and particularly Facebook. It is however fascinating and I am at times mesmerized by it. I am hypnotized and I find myself being a bit of a voyeur.

I am peeping Peter.

The word voyeur is French in origins - obviously so. It is derived from the Latin word "videre" which means, "to see". The French interpretation is literally "one who watches".

An alternative for a voyeur is a scophophiliac. This word is originally Greek and is a "lover of looking". It has more sexual and pornographic connotations though than simple voyeurism.

I quite like saying it though.

I called one of the English with whom I work a scophophiliac this afternoon - just for the hell of it and because I like saying it.  He of course had no idea what the term meant and he gave me a confused look and muttered a baffled "Ay Oop?"

The English to whom I referred to as a scophophiliac was a Northerner. He is from Lancashire and it is quite possible that he is a scophophiliac. The Northerner asked me "Wa's tha' lad?'. This is Northerner and it means "What does that mean mate?". 

I just gave him a wry smile and walked away.

If he knew what a scophophiliac was he wouldn't like it.

I watch Facebook sometimes with morbid fascination as peculiar people post intimate and quite often incredibly boring details of their lives to their many thousands of 'friends' and to the world at large. "This is what I am eating". "I am brushing my teeth now". "My boyfriend is a bastard"  - and on and on it goes.

To my great surprise many people 'like' it.

Millions of them.

Every minute of every day.

The Facebook world is surreal.

No-one in the real world walks up to complete strangers and invites them to like them. They do not say 'be my friend'. Writers should not ask people to ‘like’ what they have written. They should just write stuff and let people make up their own minds.

It may just be me - but when I receive an invitation to ‘like’ something on Facebook I will instinctively not like it. The only available option that exists at present to express this is to 'like' it then immediately retract my ‘like’.

This is not really 'unliking" it.

The creators of Facebook have not offered up any other options.

I was so annoyed by the inundation of requests to 'like' what are not very well-written self-published books – mostly about vampires and zombies - I posted the following on my 'page':

“OK these requests from random "Writers" asking me to "Like" their pages and they will in turn "Like" mine are getting ridiculous. Read what I write if you want. Or don't. I don't give a fuck either way. I will do the same with what you publish and if I like what you have written I will "Like" it. If I don't I won't. I will never ask you to 'like' what I write or "like" me - that would just be too desperate and demeaning ..... so please stop asking me!?

Bizarrely dozens of people ‘liked” it but it has had no effect.

None at all.

I have since received more than a dozen requests to 'like' what I believe to be dreadful pieces of writing. This is only my opinion though – which I am entitled to – and I am well aware that reading is very subjective and other people may ‘like’ it.

My friend James who is both a real friend and a Facebook friend 'liked' what I wrote and we exchanged banter. My son Tom – who lives in Australia weighed in at the tail end of our conversation the next morning.

Here is some of it:

•    James What is there not to like???? 23 hours ago via mobile
•  Peter Heppo There is much my Irish friend .....23 hours ago
• James I'll ask Zuckerberg to add a ‘dislike’ button for the whole duality thing. More democratic that way. 23 hours ago via mobile
•  Peter Heppo That would be useful. The only other viable option is for me to "like" then immediately "unlike" - and I simply couldn't be bothered. I now just ignore them and if they continue I quietly ‘unfriend’ them. I feel a bit mean doing this but they are not real ‘friends’ in most instances anyhow 23 hours ago
•  James That would be defeating the purpose. Would a ‘like’ followed by a ‘dislike’ not just result in nothing? Also, should you be able to multiple like / dislike for added emphasis? In any event, I don't really give a fuck. 23 hours ago via mobile
• Peter Heppo Me either. There is much madness in the world. A lot of it seems to reside here on Facebook. 23 hours ago
•  Peter Heppo Fucker! "Unlike" that immediately! 23 hours ago
• James You walked into that one.....23 hours ago via mobile
• Peter Heppo I have no option but to 'like' it back then. Done. Give me 10 minutes and I will remove my ‘like’. I am also considering 'unfriending' you. Talk to Zuckerberg ......23 hours ago
• Peter Heppo OK James – I have now 'unliked' everything about you 21 hours ago 
• James I never liked me either 21 hours ago via mobile
• Peter Heppo My heart bleeds for you. I have given you a temporary and sympathetic 'like'. It will be removed in the morning. Going to bed now .....21 hours ago 
• Tom I'll just like everything regardless of my feeling towards the comments made, merely to increase the likes and subsequently increase those ‘Face Bookers’ egos, Why? Just coz. I do what I want - this is Facebook.10 hours ago via mobile 
•  Peter Heppo You are my son Tom - I don't "like" you. I love you 9 hours ago via mobile
• Tom I “like" that but love you too papa 9 hours ago via mobile

It is all a bit yucky. 

I don't like it.

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