Facebook Erases Me, and I Feel Liberated

A couple days ago my Timeline and Activity Log on Facebook disappeared. Three years of posts, links, and interaction erased! All that remained of me on FB were my About page and photos. I was outraged! I was in despair! So much of my life history zapped into nothingness. How dare they! (Ha ha. Like Facebook owes me anything. A good wake-up call.)

Silver Lining #1

Soon, I got my brains back. I remembered that as a Boomer, I grew up without any of this electronic crap. How important was it, really? Sure, if the photos were ever lost, that would be a bummer, but with digital photography, I’ve got so many photos on my hard drive right now, would I even notice?

Silver Lining #2

But all that Internet history erased, lost as a historical record. I would never be able to back and access it again. And then I thought – Really? Would I ever have done that, seriously? And don’t I feel better to have that big chunk of data scrubbed from their data base? Kind of a relief, even though I’m not one to post topless photos of myself smoking a bong. But still. Clean slate!

Silver Lining #3

Have you ever wondered what you’d do if one of your networks became unusable, say they started charging or went belly-up or redesigned the site in a way that you hated?

When I thought FB erased me, I quickly made an alternate plan. I would leave my page intact, but add a referral to my profile on Google+, LinkedIn, or somewhere else. Who cares where? There’ll always be a place to “live” on the Internet.

Because here’s another stupid situation that suddenly provides a brilliant solution: Have you ever felt frustrated that you’re connecting with the same people on multiple networks? (i.e. Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, etc.)? Doesn’t it seem like overkill? What good is all that duplication?

However, it could be useful, because if you left one platform, you could go somewhere else and most of your friends would still be in touch with you. (If you’re one of those people with 20,000 Twitter followers, I’m sorry. I guess.)

Maybe that’s how this saturation of social networking is going to end up. The people who really like what we have to say, or want to keep up with what we’re doing, will always be with us. The rest? They’ll churn and reattach, to us somehow, or to someone else.

The upside of all this crazy profusion of platforms is we’re all cross-networking. And the result of that? I think we become our own presence, our own brand. If one platform is sold or shuts down or becomes a corporate asshole, we pivot to another. Our followers follow, because we’ve made it a point to be WORTH following. And life goes on. This, I think, is the future, and the only path to true independence as a web-reliant entrepreneur.

For what it’s worth, Facebook restored my life. And I just really don’t care.

No More User Name/Passwords

Almost every time I buy something online, or subscribe to a service, or reveal that I am an alive person, I am encouraged to create an online account.  I have accounts for my email and virus protection, utility companies and local library, credit cards, banks, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Norton, Kindle, Amazon, Office Depot and a whole bunch more.

This phenomenon is becoming unavoidable. When I tried to help Mom change her address with the DMV online, we had to create an account. Or when she tried to cancel the call waiting feature she didn’t ask for/doesn’t want? She had to create an account on TimeWarner.com. Either that or continue to jabber with ineffectual magpies at their 800 number, or go down to the local office and wait in line for forty-five minutes. Neither of which work. So you go online and create an account with a new username and password.

I have more than seventy user name/password combos.
I do not want any more.

Perhaps sensing you’re falling out of love with this process, some companies try to lure you back by letting you personalize a little sliver of their corporate website. They do this by tacking on the cutesy “my” to their web address (e.g. “myverizon” or “mytoyota” or “myfibroids.com.”) (Okay, I made that one up.) Some of them, like my local newspaper, even want you to create personal profiles. Pretty soon you won’t need Facebook. You’ll have “mypressenterprise.com/me”. Go ahead. Put that on your business card instead of a personal website. Wait, I think I’ll delete this blog. You can just go to my page at Frigidaire.

Many of them would like to make it even easier for you to log in by using your Facebook or Google UN/PW. Isn’t that nice of them? I’m sure it’s all on the up-and-up. Very secure.

I’m not a Luddite. I love new technology, but we might have achieved critical mass of ridiculousness, and now it’s time to stop and reassess. Does it make sense that corporations are firing all their humans and then programming software to act like employees? Who needs a bricks-and-mortar bank, store or library? You just go on the Internet and, with the help of a smug little voicebot, do it all yourself. Pretty soon we’ll be performing surgery on our own bodies. The only thing we’ll need is the proper user name and password.

Kindle readers can contact me at Lmspreen@gmail.com.