Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Shut Your Facebook"

I have come across several artists, photographers and groups recently that have had pictures removed from the infamous website. Recently artist Kate Hansen (whose art I have posted about before) had several of her artworks removed from her FB page. Most of these works were depictions of breastfeeding. The group "If Breastfeeding Offends You Put A Blanket Over Your Head" has also had photographs removed on many occasions. The fact that anyone can report a picture as "obscene" certainly leaves the term up for interpretation. What I find obscene certainly might not be what you or someone else does. However, overall, there is a general idea of what truly is obscene. To me, breastfeeding mamas are most certainly not obscene. However, I am embarrassed to say that simply because I know some people do consider this obscene I have hesitated from posting pictures of me breastfeeding on FB. For some reason I was not quite aware of I was "afraid" of getting reprimanded by the FB authority. Well now I am thinking, in the words of crazy TrueBlood vampire Russell Edginton, "Fuck the authority." And really, who has made them the authority?

But in reality if anyone on my friends list reported my pictures as obscene, why would I have them on my friends' list anyways!?

Artist Leif Harmsen has started a movement called "Shut Your Facebook" where he encourages people to become informed about exactly what FB is doing: "it can and does unilaterally enforce its concept of 'acceptable' onto you and your society. It is therefore Facebook's social network, not yours, even though it is your picture and name that appear to endorse Facebook's behavior when you do not."

I have to admit that for a couple months now I have been tempted to delete my FB account. Now reading about all this is pushing me closer to actually doing it. In addition to the control it is placing over people, I also hate how in spite of claiming it brings people together it's doing the opposite for me. Friends that used to call, no longer do, because well, "I will FB you." It's just not the same; getting a post on my wall is not the same as hearing someone's voice.  Also I've noticed that some of my favorite local businesses that used to blog quite frequently are now only using FB. A playgroup I belong to posts info on FB and often forgets to email members who are not FB-ers. People post everything from personal news to pictures on FB. And if you are not on FB you are left out.

And so that's why I've hesitated to committing FB suicide. But I know several friends who have and they seem to be doing more than OK.

Maybe it's not so bad. In fact I have not posted pictures on there in ages. Really the only thing that has come from having an account is that I've wasted many hours on there, doing nothing productive; hearing pretty useless details about people's lives whom I do not even have real live contact with.

However I would miss hearing from some of my friends and family because that's the only contact I have with them. And in reality I know that without FB I would hardly hear from/about them.
On the other hand, I often think that by staying on FB and continuing to support those that are being "persecuted" might do more good than me going absent.

I know that a decision like this just has to be made, without turning back. Another quote that struck me from Leif Harmsen was, "Websites like Facebook are set up to make it easy to become entangled, but difficult to leave. Just like cigarettes, proprietary social networking websites are especially formulated to create a hamster-wheel of dependence that the user must recognize and rise above in order to quit. You are the hamster. It saw you coming."
Has anyone contemplated or actually committed FB suicide?


  1. I commited FB suicide twice before but both times went back.
    For me the benefit has been the 'free' contact with friends and family who are far away and hence 'long distance charges apply'.
    This way we can chat endlessly for free.
    Plus, with or without FB I'm totally not a phone person.

  2. I realized a long time ago that FB was not good for me. I have issues with their BFing issues for a long time. And I just found myself feeling bad about myself as I looked at pictures of people I went to high school with living in Greece or taking a tour around the world. I love my life and just don't need FB making me question my decisions.

    But...I still have an account. I just spend much less time on it looking at other peoples page. I have a hard time letting it go when it is my main contact with several family members and old friends. It is sucks you in.

  3. I have a love/hate relationship with FB. I stay on though, I just try to limit my time there.

  4. I have contemplated leaving but can never do it. I do enjoy posting pictures on there, and while I have my blog, I'll never add more than 10 or so pictures to one blog post... and with family in New Jersey who doesn't really get to see me that often I feel like it's a necessary evil. It has created a side of me that I wonder about though... This "need" to know what's going on in everyone's life that I haven't talked to in ages in a bit crazy. I've been trying to pull back, but I doubt I'll ever leave. (I hope you don't either!) ;)


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