What I Learned on my FB Vacation

Well, first of all, I found that I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands and noticed that I was clearing my ToDo list magnificently faster.

So, there’s that.

More to the point, though, are the many offline conversations that my announced and executed departure inspired. Positive, congenial conversations with friends and colleagues ensued; exploring the ramifications and net effects of eschewing (I just wanted to use that word) FaceBook were born of the stepping away.

So here’s The Thing. 

FB remains the Town Square; where one of the largest conversations is happening. The effect of leaving is, as acknowledged in my post on the subject, minimal to the point of nonexistence. 

I abhor the Politics of Zuckerberg and the blatant disregard for – indeed, the veritable undermining of – the Truth this man represents and practices with his platform. Departure from FB doesn’t affect that. What it does do is silence one’s own voice.

Boycotting Chick-fil-A, for example, can make a difference; raising the issues and enlightening the enlighten-able. Spreading the word and sharing information in support of such causes and campaigns is done with powerful effectiveness on FB. That’s where the vast majority of conversations are happening.

In fact, one can even campaign for regulation of FaceBook on FaceBook. I want to see FB evolve and take responsibility for the information with which it profits by sharing. 

I want to see FB assure the veracity of posters and to Flag the Bots, so that people know they are reading propaganda generated by non-humans. I want FB to authenticate.

FB charges that they are not publishers, this is not journalism. But, IMHO, that is precisely and effectively what it is. We’re in a new world since the revolution of the printing press, and FB is a de facto news source of vast numbers of citizens. Responsibility is inherent in that.

So, wherefore return to FB?

What comes to mind is a conversation I had with a colleague of mine in Dubai, shortly after her arrival from having worked on the Sochi Olympic Ceremonies. This was during the horrific wave of Putin’s Thugs ambushing, kidnapping, torturing and often videotaping gays in Russia, then distributing those videos online; all under the tacit approval and turned-away eye of the Putin regime.

At the time, I was all about walking off the job in protest. What my colleague shared with me was the transformational effect that simply working side-by-side with the regular citizens of Russia; the surprised response to simple anecdotes shared about Life in America of which the Russian citizenry had no idea. 

“You mean, one can just put all his belongings in a car and drive from New York to Los Angeles and live there; moving house without a permit from the government…?”

Yes. This was news. Startling news to them.

More recently, similar personal and professional anecdotes shed light on effective transformations, personal-experience-by-personal-experience, in places such as Saudi Arabia. 

Women in KSA didn’t obtain the right to drive cars because people refused to work in Saudi Arabia or the United Nations intervened. No, they won this right because they knew that women drive cars all over the world. How did they know? Social Media; YouTube, Twitter, FaceBook: they met women who drive. 

So. FaceBook.

Perhaps, then, I can support the engendering of the difference I seek to make by simply and calmly Being Present. The Zen of this, what can render it most effective, is the tone and intent of the participation. 

How might I do that?

I can commit to speaking my truth and listening, by not engaging in diss, ridicule, calling out or attacking those with whom I don’t agree (even if I think they might be idiots; that’s for me to process and relinquish. Cue: “Let it Go!”). 

Living by example. Engaging with Presence. Speaking my truth, my rationale, my Point of View without denigrating those who may not agree. Letting my truth stand, articulate, to be embraced or not on its own merits. 

Civil Visibility. 

That seems a potentially effective way to nurture change and evolution.

Besides…I missed the puppy videos. A man needs what a man needs.


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