Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tool users

Ferrett wrote today about how frustrated he was at Facebook for not showing him the stuff he wanted to see.  He wants to keep up on friends' divorces, marriages, babies, tragedies, and other big events in their lives but he really wants to avoid all of the clickbait and buzzfeed links and game spam that comes along with the decent stuff people put on Facebook.  His solution is to refuse to friend anybody new on Facebook.  This makes about as much sense as trying to polish windows by hitting them with a wrench, complaining that the wrench is a terrible tool that broke all your windows, and then solving the problem by refusing to buy new windows.

The problem here is that Ferrett's friends suck and he isn't willing to take the simple steps to deal with that.  They spam him with game requests and spend all day Liking random garbage on the internet and instead of just turning off messages from the people who fill his screen with junk he complains about how bad Facebook is.  If you stop following the people who spam you then the important messages will get through because there won't be enough unimportant junk to block them.  If people you want to receive important messages from are the same people who are spamming you then it is entirely their own fault.  Getting people to hear the important things you have to say often involves not constantly vomiting forth bland filler and that rule applies both in meatspace and online.

Just like in real life you can't see all the people all the time.  Hard decisions must be made because you have limited time and energy that can be parcelled out to spend time with people.  Facebook and other similar platforms are the same way.  Pick the people you want to hear from and stop listening to the deafening roar of the crowd that you don't care about.  Consider the boy who cried wolf.  If you constantly try to send messages to your friends about unimportant junk then you have no one but yourself to blame when your critical message gets lost in the shuffle.  If your friends are standing around screaming about nonexistent wolves all day then get stop bloody listening.

Facebook is not some panacea and I would happily characterize the company itself as fairly evil.  However, Facebook is a useful tool.  Like any other tool it can be used foolishly and blaming the tool for improper use is silly and self indulgent at best.

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