We have made a deal with the devil. In exchange for superficial contact with anyone we have ever known – wherein photos, experiences, and opinions are shared – we have relinquished the intimate details of our lives, which are used to manipulate our every thought and action. We have sold our souls to social media.
The assault has been incremental.
It has been years since we first realized that our internet searches were being tracked by the search engine we were using. As unsettling as it was, we eagerly leaped to engage with the ads and actions that were presented to us. Google knows I am concerned about eczema, vegan banana bread, and Bernie Sanders. If I search for flights to Dublin today, tomorrow I will see ads for hotel rooms in the Temple Bar district. Similarly, I was somewhat relieved to know that Chase VISA pays enough attention to my purchasing habits to hypothetically question a charge for cowboy boots in Austin while ignoring an expensive meal in Seattle. Welcome to the world of big data.
The steady advance into the Orwellian future goes largely unnoticed. The secrets of our souls were not stolen from us; rather, we gave them away. We reveal our innermost thoughts via our clickbait selections. We eagerly participate in quizzes concerning which state or nation we most closely identify, take IQ tests, and offer up photos of ourselves to be morphed into a celebrity image. Recently, people have been sharing their family names: my dad is a Clark, his mother was a Smith, my mother was a Weaver, and her mother was a Grant. Perfect, with our Social Security numbers, which are all over the internet – thank you Experian – and our Happy Birthday posts on Facebook, identity thieves have EVERYTHING they need to ruin our lives.
Facebook jumped the shark when they invited Russian operatives to access our private information and allowed them to micro-target propaganda in order to skew the 2016 election. Really Facebook, you didn’t question political ads paid for in rubles. You installed employees into the Trump campaign to assist in their propaganda efforts. You sold out our nation for financial gain.
This is treason!
Users beware, Facebook is not your friend. In the beginning, it was a great place to communicate with friends and family. I enjoyed seeing photos of grandkids, nieces and nephews, and vacation adventures. However, more and more, my Facebook page became inundated with commercial ads and political memes from entities I did not invite. And sadly, I do not get to chose what ads I see or what friends’ posts I see – Facebook chooses for me!
Our world is like an episode of Black Mirror.
We are a generation addicted to social media. Constantly checking. Do we have enough “followers?” Do we have enough “likes?” Is everyone paying attention? Is anyone paying attention? How does my life, my child, my car, my vacation compare to that of my peers? We have forsaken meaningful relationships and experiences and replaced them with virtual relationships and experiences. There is little to no truth in this virtual reality. We can digitally create our reality or allow Facebook to create it for us.
Chose REAL LIFE!