Friday, December 28, 2012

Saying Goodbye To Facebook

In the grand scheme of things this little bit of information is not "newsworthy", but it's important to me and, after all, this IS my blog.  More than a year ago, HERE, I wrote about why I was considering leaving Facebook.  As you scroll down through all those "maybes" I included you'll understand my mindset then and, for the most part, now.  Go ahead and read it, then come back and finish this one...  I'll wait...


Back?  OK, since I wrote that piece a few things have changed.  One, I have many more "Facebook friends" than I did at that time and, most of those additions are folks I wouldn't know if I tripped over them.  That doesn't mean they are not lovely people and I suspect the reason most of them asked to be friends is because they liked something I wrote, so I'm grateful for that interest.  Some of them are folks to whom I sent a "friend request" because I was interested in them.  My decision is NOT about them...


Something else has happened.  Both of our local print and online media outlets - The Daily Pilot and The Orange County Register - finally got tired of dealing with the avalanche of comments on their articles and the time it took to edit them so they took an easier way out - they washed their hands of it - requiring all commenters to be on Facebook.  They apparently assumed there would be a good deal of self-editing if people actually had to attach their names to their comments.  From that standpoint it has seemed to work out.


However, in doing so both of those fine newspapers have abdicated a significant chunk of their "content" to an outside entity that has no skin in the game.  The "comments" are no longer governed by the standards established by the respective newspapers - they belong to Facebook and Facebook defines the rules of the game,  controls who gets to play in their sandbox, and for how long.  An algorithm in the Facebook server farms decides whether a complaint about "abuse" is valid or not and, apparently arbitrarily, punishes those who violate that algorithm.  These fine publications have allowed thin-skinned whiners and an algorithm in a server farm decide what is appropriate for publication on their digital space.  There are 1st Amendment issues at play here that I can't begin to resolve.


The result of that control is that the comments in both of those publications have diminished in their relevance, which is a shame.  Yes, there are still some interesting comment threads, but I recall the "good old days" when a 100 comment thread on a Daily Pilot article was not unusual and, for the most part, those that made it through the editing screen used to maintain civility on the site produced some pretty darn relevant discussions on the issue at hand.  Not so much anymore.  I do admit, though, that in the case of the Register comments, some became so vile, nasty and mean-spirited that they were virtually unreadable.  Hence, the change to Facebook.


As I mentioned in my earlier entry, I joined Facebook originally to have an additional marketing tool for my blog.  That worked out just fine.  I have many more readers than I did four or five years ago and the page views will probably hit 1 million in January.  Of course, much of that is due to the contentiousness of local issues over the past few years and part of that growth is certainly due to my new "friends" on Facebook.  Thanks for that.


But, after much contemplation and consideration about what I will be giving up - watching sweet Caroline grow up before my eyes; the opportunity to tease my friends Anita and Rusty about their persistent photos of each other with wine glasses half full (or empty, depending on your viewpoint); the ability to be in contact with my great-nephew, Nathan, when he's deployed in dangerous places around the world; those spontaneous musings by my friend, Byron, about his kids and the evolution of their lives, photos of his artistic meals and his brilliant analysis of issues when he chooses to engage himself in them, plus all the other snippets of the lives of others I see every day - I've decided to cease my participation on Facebook.


I realize that once I pull that plug I will no longer be able to post comments on articles that provoke me in our local media.  I will no longer be able to spar with those who don't share my viewpoint.  On the positive side, I'll no longer be jumping from status page to status page, trying to see what everybody is talking about.  It's just plain exhausting.  I'll still be able to submit letters and commentaries - unless corporate policy turns that over to an algorithm, too - but won't be able to keep that ball rolling once I give it the initial kick.  That will be up to others.  I can live with that...


There are many reasons why I've made this decision.  One of them is because, at my age, I'm losing real "friends" at an increasing pace and that bothers me - a lot.   There are just so many minutes in each day, but I find myself casually immersing myself in the lives of strangers instead of tending to the real friendships I've spent decades nurturing.  The recent ninth anniversary of the passing of my best friend since we were five years old probably helped me tighten my focus on what is really important.


Another reason is the growing intrusiveness of Facebook in my life.  I don't like the seemingly constant changing of the rules of the game.  The whole "Instagram" thing recently got me thinking about this a lot.  Life today has plenty of complications and the pace - especially for an old fella - can be overwhelming.  I read "1984" back when it was just a clever bit of fiction.  Today, well... you make the call on that.  I'm disappointed that Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook continue to manage their company like they were still back in their college dorm room.  I'm not comfortable having a guy who still acts like a pre-pubescent, pimply-faced teenager being able to exercise so much control over my life.


So, sometime soon - probably the first of the year - I'm going to cut my tie to Facebook.  The link to this post will be there and I will continue to market my blog there until the day I officially snip the Facebook umbilical cord.  I will probably never forgive Zuckerberg and his minions for devaluing the word "friend" in our society, but I do appreciate the acquaintanceship of those of you who have communicated with me on Facebook - my "after Facebook" friends.  If you care to engage in a discussion on issues of the day that I address on my blog, you are welcome to do so.  If you don't want to wrestle in that particular mud pit, here's an email address where you can reach me -  I'll be happy to hear from you on any issue that you feel is important or just to chat, but it won't be on Facebook.


Those of you who are "before Facebook" friends already know how to reach me at other email addresses and, of course, I always look forward to your thoughts and wise counsel.


"Who gives a rat's rear about West deciding to bail out of Facebook?", you ask.  "What an arrogant, self-absorbed SOB that West guy is to think anyone cares!", you say.  Well, you're probably right on both counts, but I thought there might be one or two people - "Facebookians", as my nephew refers to them - who might wonder about my disappearance from the Land Of Zuckerberg, hence this explanation.


As I said above, I'm not going to stop expressing my opinion on issues I feel are important, but my life was becoming much too cluttered and this is one step in the housekeeping I need to do.  Soon, with mixed emotions, I'll bid Facebook a not-so-fond adieu and just keep on moving forward. 

 Happy New Year to you all....

Labels: , ,


Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I hear you old buddy! You will note there was no overt emphasis on the "old" in that statement.

As I posted a short while ago, I too have been contemplating removing myself from the Facebook sphere. Some of it has to do with Facebook itself, some has to do with the content of people I actually like. I was going to expand on that thought but I thin I will leave it at that.

Some of it has to do with social media intertwining itself in too many of my activities. I don't really need to know how many of my friends like Target. Really, I don't. I am not even curious about it.

I haven't made the final decision yet, but you may have helped inspire me to make one. We shall see.

In any case, see you in the funny papers!!

12/28/2012 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I saw your post earlier and fully understand. I suspect I will cut that cord on January 1st, before I fully immerse myself in football for that day.

12/28/2012 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous myspace said...

good riddance! take that mean spirited fuqua with you along with San District groupie "sk". you are always the first to post at the pilot if there is an article complimentary to the councilmen and it is always the same message : the writer of the article is a brown noser. ridiculous. some people don't even know a councilman but like what they hear/read/saw concerning the councilmen. believe it or not, thousands of residents are fans of the councilmen. that is how they got elected. are they all bootlickers and brown nosers?

12/28/2012 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Well, just consider my absence on those pages my New Years gift to you. Enjoy your nastiness while you can... times, they are a'changin'...

12/28/2012 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. The Daily Plot just went to Facebook comments because it would help increase readership. I recently decided to stop using a social network as well. Everyone's netiquette is a little different. If yours does not include FB anymore that's your prerogative. There are many other online outlets you can use to connect with others and be social. Social Media or social networks are not limited to FB. Facebook is just the biggest one.

12/28/2012 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

No, David, the Daily Pilot went to Facebook comments because they were becoming too costly from a staff time standpoint to attempt to manage. Personally, I'm not worried about being "social" online. I'm an old guy - one of those people who actually learned to be "social" face-to-face. Thanks, though, for your input.

12/28/2012 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

myspace, you sound a little bitter. Are you upset because Geoff beats you to the articles first? Are you upset because sk is the voice of reason? Is fuqua too smart with his retorts? Maybe the heat is too hot in this kitchen and it is really you that should take a leave.

12/28/2012 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous myspace said...

jw: i thought fuqua was a female, the picture is small but looks like a heavyset female. and no, she is not "too smart". She is smart mouthed and a put down artist. No need for her or alf or patty clearesse, or cyndy black. All vile women. and "sk" is just a starstruck groupie who has no clue, thinks the AG just ruled that Fitz was guilty! can't read for comprehension. as for Geoff, I like to read him here but not on the Pilot where he has a chilling effect on public discourse by immediately attacking someone as a brown noser. why bother to write if you know that is coming? Similarly, i quit going to council meetings because of the rude behavior of the thugs and frogs to any public speaker who they disagreed with. it's not that the kitchen is too hot Dan, it is rather the chilling effect of the leftists.

12/29/2012 06:08:00 AM  
Anonymous sk said...

I love you my space, so I'm staying here with you:-)

12/29/2012 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

myspace: grow a pair and man up, will you? Nothing worse than a guy your size whining like a school girl. All those big, bad women after da witto boy...

12/29/2012 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous K6JOY said...

You will be sadly missed. A public forum for discussing issues unfettered is a healthy thing in a Democracy. I understand about the crazy Facebook changes, I too have emptied out all of my facebook down to a bare bones skeleton.

12/29/2012 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Another reason I don't want to turn CdM Today's comments over to Facebook...

12/29/2012 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Truth hurts said...

I love you sk and geoff, so I'm staying here with both of you! I just wish myspace, aka Jim Fitzpatrick, would use his real juevos whatsoever.

sk is absolutely correct with everything she writes. I worked at CMSD too. Fitzy knows she is right and that's why he uses all these aliases to try and put her down. It’s not working though. Jim Fitzpatrick ruined everything at CMSD. The employees hate him and morale is in the toilet (pun intended)! His only hope is that he ends up in front of a judge that his buddies can “persuade” into ruling in his favor. It will be very interesting.

12/29/2012 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous History Channel said...

"No need for her or alf or patty clearesse, or cyndy black. All vile women."

Yes, all the women are bad, aren't they? None of them care about or truly understand you. Don't get help or full-time work, just go drown your sorrows and issues. Daddy Riggy or Daddy Mansoor will rescue you.

12/29/2012 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Geoff, your comments will be missed. I am afraid their are many who will go your route and that means less meaningful conversation about the events of the day. But those of us who stay with FB can quote you! ;-)

Before you give up on real friends and family, have you considered "un friending" all but your true friends and family and creating a separate page for The Bubbling Cauldron? It could keep your commentary in the game and your life in perspective.

Happy New Year, Geoff.

12/29/2012 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Stay Angry said...

While saying goodbye don't forget to say hello to the Watchdog piece in the OC Register.

Ask yourself why is every single media piece against the 4 Good ole boys and not one is in favor of their actions?

If this were in reverse with the city council behaving this way all the Hayers in Whoville would be all over it.

12/29/2012 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mary Ann,
Thanks... there are more than a few options, including those you suggested. Decision time is between now an 1/1/13... we'll see. Leaning toward just pulling the plug, even though I'll miss some of the interchange. Have a VERY Happy New Year.

12/29/2012 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Geoff: I just came across this article that seems timely for you.

12/30/2012 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Greg Diamond said...

Thoughtful analysis, Geoff. I think that you may be right. Alas, I can't leave Facebook and involvement in County political discussions for much the same reason that the Thing in Fantastic Four offered repeatedly: in Orange County politics, it's usually clobberin' time somewhere.

12/30/2012 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

I hope you reconsider, Geoff.
You are a voice of reason and sanity in the contentious political scene we have in Costa Mesa.
You will be missed here.
MaryAnn is right- cleaning out your friends list helps.

12/31/2012 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

my space,
Ah, Fitzy- you gave yourself away repeating the same rant against the same women here.
At least you didn't lie about me this time.
You know we are all taking screenshots.
btw, You do know that only Geoff would allow you to repeatedly post your vile, slanderous rants here, right?
So before you spout off any more "good riddance" posts consider that fact. Anyone else would have blocked you long ago.

12/31/2012 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous myspace said...

we are taking screenshots too. too bad for fuqua, ridge, alf, black, wilcox! they will be on campaign literature!!! all their vile exposed. they should perhaps cleanup their comments in the future dontcha think? our comments we are willing to stand by and welcome screenshots. yours are insults. policy vs. insults. what do u think will play. yeah screenshots (and videos)

1/02/2013 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

We shall see, won't we, Fitzy?
I understand you did a chop shop job hacking up my friend's quotes, adding your own words in there and plastering it on your CMTA FB page. FB deleted it, but screenshots were taken. Several people, including people you know very well urged her to sue you.
We already have people in place if you plan on repeating that offense with any more of us.
You may actually have to print your own ideas and goals for CM on your campaign literature, instead of your steady diet of trashing and slandering your opponents.
WOW- What a concept!

1/03/2013 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

OK, that's it... no more of that stuff. Khwalf gets the final word and we're stopping with this kind of spitting contest here.

1/03/2013 03:12:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home